Do Protective Styles Actually Prevent Damage?
Hey Queens, let’s talk protective styles for textured hair.
First of all, what constitutes a protective style? It is any style that aims to protect your ends and limit stress from excess styling. Protective hairstyles include braids, twists, faux locs, weaves, and wigs, among others.
Why do we wear them? These styles are useful for minimizing daily styling time. Less manipulation leads to better length retention. Busy Queens love convenience, travel, and beauty, and these styles save time and make life easier, but do they make her life better?
Unfortunately, many protective styles involve incorporating additional hair, and the added weight and tension can lead to traction alopecia. However, there are ways to integrate protective styles into your life without risking semi-permanent hair loss. They can make your life better using the following tips.
Love Braids? If cornrows, twists, and box braids are your go-to protective styles, leave out the extensions and avoid too much tension or pulling. Continue shampooing your roots, as the scalp buildup can lead to hair loss.
Love Weaves? Weaves can become addicting once you get used to the look and feel of long, silky hair in line with America’s standards of beauty. While it’s easier said than done, treat weaves like a fashion statement designed to be worn for short-term convenience and not a permanent look. We recommend taking a hair vitamin to strengthen your tresses for the temporary stress that weave installations cause.
Love Wigs? Some argue that wigs are the ultimate protective style, but that is debatable. Wig adhesives can clog pores and ultimately cause hair loss. Some women also report allergic reactions to the latex in them. There are healthy ways to wear a wig without adhesive, but your scalp needs to breathe. While wigs are a fun fashion statement, everyday wear is not the best idea.
Love Head Wraps? There are so many fun, stylish scarves on the market these days that it's hard not to cover your hair every day, but we have to be careful, Queens. The friction from harsh fabrics on our hair can cause breakage. Satin is your only friend in the headscarf world.
Love Buns and Ponytails? Busy Queens love to show off their faces with their hair pulled back. It is so easy to get into the habit of wearing the same bun or ponytail every day, but it is essential to switch it up to avoid slight breakage around the hair tie. It helps to alternate between low buns and high buns and change how the hair is parted to avoid repeated stress in the same spot. Limit the use of gel for styling as the ingredients are often too drying for the hair.
Ultimately, protective styles protect the hair’s ends from damage, but they can potentially damage the edges if we aren’t careful. How can we prevent damage to our edges while wearing a protective style? Prioritize scalp health. Continue to shampoo the scalp while weaves are installed, and take down a hairstyle if you notice small, raised bumps near the hair follicles. Be versatile, and don’t wear any style for too long. If length retention is your goal, be gentle to your edges and ends, and consider adding a hair vitamin to your daily regimen. And remember, you deserve to look and feel your best. You deserve it all!