Protective styles are a great way to give your hair a break from daily combing, the elements and the damage that can be done by these. Protective styling usually involves a style that tucks away the ends and does not need to be redone for a while. This is not to be confused with low manipulation styling, which does not always involve the ends being tucked away and means that the hair is manipulated slightly instead of not at all. However, when you protective style, there are some important things to remember so your hair does not suffer instead of thrive.
- Do not do braids too tight, especially around the edges
Whether you’re getting a sew in, crochet braids or doing regular cornrows and braids, you have to be careful about how tight your hair is being braided. Too tight braids can cause traction alopecia, which means your hair is being pulled out at the root. This is the cause of thinning hair and missing edges in a lot of women. Braids around the perimeter of the hair should be done carefully and loosely enough so it does not pull on the scalp.
- Wash your hair
You have to wash your hair while it is in a protective style. It is easy to put off washing because you want your style to stay “fresh”. A build-up of dirt and product will clog the pores on your scalp, which not only leads to stunted hair growth, but can cause fungus and bacteria to grow, resulting in a scalp infection.
- Moisturize and seal hair underneath the style
Having a protective style does not mean you can forget about your own hair. Moisturizing and sealing should still be a part of your regimen even while a protective style is in. If you have problems reaching the hair underneath, a spray bottle can help with distributing product.
- Do not leave in too long
Most protective styles should not stay in for more than 6-8 weeks at a time. If left in longer, the shed hair can start to clump together and become matted, causing breakage and quite possibly the need to cut your hair during take down. You can be the judge of your hair and determine when the style needs to come out.
- Protect at night
Your hair is not invincible because it is in a protective style. You should still cover your hair with a satin scarf or bonnet before you go to bed. It will also go a long way in ensuring that the style remains neat for longer.
- Be gentle during takedown
Do not rush the processing of taking out braids, or cutting out a weave. Hurrying can lead to excessive use of force and cause hair to be ripped out and broken. Use conditioner to soften hair and make takedown easier. Be careful when cutting out a weave to ensure that you do not cut any of your hair.