7 Benefits of Protective Styling for Natural Hair
Protective styling is a term that covers nearly every style except a loose afro. If you consider that a loose afro is as exposed to the elements as your hair can be, any kind of plait, brad, cornrow, weave etc. is some form of protection. They cover the majority, or all of your hair so it is far less likely to suffer damage and therefore have the potential to grow as long as it can.
Photo credit: Nik Shuliahin
Don’t neglect the other steps in getting healthy hair such as proper moisture control and regular deep conditioning. A protective hairstyle isn’t some secret art of natural hair care that some people would lead you to believe. Based on what I’ve mentioned above, you should have a good idea of what they are.
Let’s get into some benefits of protective hairstyles
Firstly, the obvious one is the protection that they give your hair. If you live in a hot climate or a cold one, you must know the effect the temperature can have on your hair and how important it is to do something about it. What might catch you off guard is if you live in a climate that cycles through seasons and when summer or winter hits, you have to adjust.
Protecting your hair during these times makes sure you don’t suffer the damage you might have which can lead to breakage and other unwanted problems.
The good thing about protecting your hair is that it suffers less damage and can grow to its full length. Our hair length is determined by genetics and affected by other things like how well we take care of it. Moisture control, regular washing and wrapping your hair at night helps. Basically everything in our 14 tips guide.
As you guessed, the other thing is protective styling. Do be careful though because too much strain on your edges can cause hair loss and you should still keep a good wash routine to maintain a healthy scalp and keep your follicles functioning as they should.
3. Look Good
A great thing about protective styles is that they look good. Think about some of your favourite hairstyles and I’d be surprised if most of them weren’t some kind of protective style. Braids are very popular right now, wigs and weave are a big part of so many women’ routines. Way back when, anyone wearing a wig tried to keep it as quiet as possible. Now everyone embraces it and there is nothing unusual about changing your hairstyle frequently.
4. There's A Style For Everyone
Whatever your style is based on who you are as a person and the way you dress, there is a style out there for you. Our hairstyle can be an expression of who we are at most and a means to an end at least. Either way, having a protective hairstyle that you like is quite easy to find. There is so much inspiration all over the internet and social media. All you have to do is look around to find a few options then try a favourite yourself.
5. You Can Get Natural Looks
Protective styles come in all shapes and forms. Just as I mentioned above, there is a style out there for everyone. But, what if you don’t want a “style”? What if you want it to look just like your own hair and you don’t want to draw comments on your new hairstyle. One solution is to braid your hair and get a weave of a natural wig. If you do braids you can go plain black.
6. Temporary Options
Temporary options are those that you can use for a week or even daily. What if you are going away from home for a week and you don’t think you will have the time to do your hair each day. What if you are going on holiday for two weeks and you don’t want to worry about doing anything to your hair. There are so many short term options that will suit your needs.
7. Long Term Options
The longer term options like weave, braids and wigs mean that you can wear them for a long time. Weave and braids can stay in for a while depending on how you look after them. When it comes to wigs, I know ladies that have been wearing them for years, no one even knows what their own hair looks like and it has just become part of their life. Of course, I’m not suggesting you do this and it’s great if you can embrace your natural hair but everyone can make their own choices.
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