Protective Styling: Do's and Dont's

Protective styling is a great way to minimize hair manipulation. If done properly the results lead to length retention and of course healthier hair. But, you must be aware that just because you are using a protective style you still have to maintain your actual hair whether its exposed or not. What does this mean? Most naturals or transitioning women will choose to wear a sew-in or braids. I personally think this is the best low manipulation style. Sew-ins, depending on if you are getting a partial or full install, can be tricky. We tend to forget that just because our hair is braided that we do not have to do anything additional besides the occasional greasing of the scalp...wrong. This is the biggest mistake weave wearers make which can be quite detrimental for the hair follicle and scalp. Your natural hair isn't getting any fresh air to allow it to breathe, in fact it is being suffocated with build up from oils, creams, and what ever else you may be slathering on that precious piece of Brazilian/Malaysian hair. Our natural hair must be taken care of underneath all of that "false" hair. This means washing with a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup and even deep conditioning the braids to keep from matting. Also, wearing a sew-in for more than two months can lead to serious knots and matting. Your hair definitely needs a period of plain rest meaning just wearing your natural hair out for a couple of weeks. Braids that are too tight will do more harm then good which defeats the purpose of retaining length. Their are other protective styles that do not require weave. My favorite style, which you will most likely catch me rocking almost every day, is the bun. This is an easy alternative to tuck those ends up and away from any harmful exposure and you can never go wrong with it. Next, something I have finally mastered are bantu knots, two strand twist outs, braid outs, and cocoon curls. I almost always will style my hair in one of these ways after my hair has dried from a wash n go. Bantu knots and braid outs look beautiful on hair that has been air dried but still has a kick of kink to it. They will also bring out the true length and texture of ones hair. It seems hard to wear your natural hair but once you find ways of conquering those curls, their really is no limit of what you can do to your hair!

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