When I started my transitioning journey I came about the notion of protective hairstyles, and how beneficial it was to include them in my hair regiment while transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.
Before I started my journey my hair was dull, it had lost any kind of curly or wavy pattern it had in the past, I had split ends, and breakage and it didn’t look healthy. Just thinking about this makes me quite surprised at how far I’ve come. If you’re reading this post you probably have or had some of the same issues I had with my hair. However, not all is lost, you too can wake up from this unpleasant experience.
A game changer in my hair’s state of affairs came once I started incorporating protective hairstyles in my hair routine. I noticed an immediate change in my hair. It wasn’t as dry, I had less breakage and it was getting back its shine. Plus, wearing my hair in a protective style meant I only had to style it once a week until my next wash day! Ok, so maybe, once in a while I had to moisturise mid-week, but this was minimal work compared to daily styling.
Anyway, these changes were definitely an incentive that kept me going on my journey to natural hair. You’ll surely have fun trying all the different hairstyles out there. So what is a protective hairstyle? What does it consist of and what do I need to do to get started, you might ask? Well, keep reading, practice and soon you’ll be a pro at it.
What Is A Protective Hairstyle?
A protective hairstyle is essentially a hairstyle where you keep the ends of your hair tucked away from environmental conditions such as wind, sun, snow and winter cold. Because they are the oldest part of your hair they are also the most vulnerable. It is important to keep them moisturised and trimmed if you want to avoid split ends and breakage. This is a style that is not limited to those transitioning or those with natural or relaxed hair. It’s a good practice to incorporate into every hair regimen out there. (Read Finally A Natural Hair Regimen That Works!)
An overlooked situation that causes hair breakage and can be prevented, or reduced to be more precise, by adopting protective styles is what you wear, such as scarfs, bonnets and sweaters. These items cause friction against your hair and every so often, your hair gets trapped and breaks or is pulled from the root. This is also one of the reasons why you can’t retain length. (Read Natural Hair Accessories – What to Avoid! and The Ultimate 5 Step Guide To Natural Hair Breakage Control.)
Doing protective hairstyles during your transition to natural hair also helps maintain your hair moisturised. Sebum, the natural oil that is secreted by the hair’s sebaceous glands, has difficulties travelling along the length of curly hair to protect and keep it moisturised. Therefore, implementing this practice is one the best ways to help your hair, it will keep it moisturised and avoid breakage which will consequently help length retention. Who doesn’t want this, right!? (Read Transitioning to Natural Hair and Understanding Your Curly Hair and 3 Moisturisers for Transitioning Hair.)
What Does It Consist Of?
There are many protective styles you can do that will make you feel stylish and elegant. Some styles are easy to do such as buns, braids and twists. Others styles will require more practice such as flat braids and twists or dutch braids. Don’t feel limited to wearing the same boring styles. A protective style mainly means you wear a style where the ends of your hair are tucked away and there is little to no manipulation of the hair. Your imagination is the limit!
If this sounds all too labouring for you, don’t worry! You can wear wigs and weaves. Just make sure to keep your hair underneath moisturised and that your braids are not too tight. This causes dehydration and extra tension to your hair leading to breakage, thinning edges and possible hair loss (Read 7 Causes of Thinning Edges).
Just because there is low manipulation of the hair it doesn’t mean that you can forget about it until your next wash day. You still need to moisturise your hair every other day. How will you accomplish this? It’s very easy, you can simply spritz your hair with water, apply some leave-in conditioner and spread some vegetable oil (jojoba oil, argan oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc) to keep the moisture locked in. Trust me, your hair will thank you for it!
What Do You Need To Do To Get Started?
Well, now that you have all the information and you know the dos and don’ts of adopting a protective hairstyle during your transition, head over to YouTube and check some of the amazing videos there. You’ll probably be wearing these styles long after your BC (Big Chop). I know I will!
Please feel free to comment, share and give feedback on this post. Tell me what styles you have tried, which ones you like most and where you had difficulties. I hope you have found this post helpful. I leave you with some inspiration.
What protective hairstyles do you like to do? And which ones would you like to try?
Image Credit (YouTube): Flickr_Ministerio da Curtura_Coquetel de Abertura do II Encontro Afro Latino (1) (featured); AlleySinai; Naptural85; Natural Neeicey; Traeh; BeautifulBrwnBabyDol.