The majority gurus in the hair community (YouTube) are well associated with this term and for others who have not yet caught on, you are associated with it more then you might think. Either it being from a healthy hair journey or simply changing up our styles every now and then, at one point and time many of us have had our hair styled (however it may have been) in order to achieve a certain look. So...
What exactly is protective styling?
Well, as the name says it all, protective styling is simply a style done to the hair in order to protect it (mainly the ends). With those being the oldest hair on your head they are more fragile and prone to breaking easier.
What am I protecting from?
With afro-textured hair being the most delicate hair of all, we need to take extra measures when it comes to nurturing it. Afro hair is easily damaged when not cared for properly and some of the things that can cause or contribute to those damages are listed below:
Tools (brush, comb, irons, etc.)
Temperature (hot, cold, wind, etc.)
Environment (dust, debris, chlorine, etc.)
Who should do it?
Protective styling is definitely NOT for everyone but, if long hair is your goal and what you desire then you should quickly learn to adapt and start incorporating them in your regular routine.
Why should I do it?
The point of protective styling is to keep moisture in your strands where it belongs by keeping the ends intact. Doing so allows your hair to gain optimal growth at the same time while retaining the length. It also helps you to combat split ends and breakage that afro hair experience.
When should I do it?
Every time you have the opportunity to protect your hair you should do it. Though it may not be that simple for most people, special considerations should be given to at the following times:
Bed Time (from sheets and cotton pillow)
Harsh Weather (snow, cold, dry, summer)
Transitioning (the two textures won't always agree)
How should I do it?
Protective styles involves the hair ends being covered so it's not out and vulnerable, which leads to dryness and breakage. Some examples include buns, braids, french braids, cornrows, weaves, wigs, phony ponies etc.
All of these styles retain length, because they require little to no manipulation. The more the hair is left alone, the more it can grow. Protective styles can be considered as low manipulation styles, however, low manipulation styles are not protective styles such as hats, scarves, twist outs, or braid outs.