Protective Styling

What is it? Protective styling is defined as any style that protects or hides the ends of your hair, such as buns, braids or twists, and weaves or wigs. It seems to be the holy grail of many women's hair care journeys in order to maximize length retention. Granted, it is not solely protective styling that is responsible for length retention. It must be done along with other healthy hair habits. I've seen many women, who in the quest to achieve hair to the middle of their backs or waists, do nothing but wear their hair in buns alllll the time. Or at least claim to protective style 90% of the time. Their hair inches down their backs rather quickly. And beautifully at that. It can't be me though. I'm not knocking them. They reach their goals. It just can't be the way I reach mine. 

flat twisted crown
Why does it work? Black women love to say their hair doesn't grow, yet they stay relaxing their new growth regularly. When you think about it like that it doesn't make much sense, but when you're constantly staring at your never-moving-passed-shoulder-length hair, you can't help but feel like your hair is not growing. The problem is that, for a number of reasons, we have trouble retaining our length. Our ends are the oldest, most fragile part of our hair. They get dry, they break. They rub against our clothes, scarves, coats, etc., they break. The harsh weather damages them, they break. See the pattern? Protective styling keeps our hair from all of these negative interactions, enabling it to stay on our heads and move passed our shoulders. There are, however, do's and don'ts that ensure successful protective styling. I will have to do another post on those specifics.  

When I first started all this, I didn't think I would make protective styling a regular part of my hair care routine at all. Mostly because it seemed way too boring to me. However, after I had given up on straightening my hair last summer, I joined a 3-month protective styling challenge to get myself to try new things. It worked! And some of the styles I tried out I began to love. It also helped me keep my hands out of my hair. Since then, however, I wouldn't even know what percentage to say I protective style. I do it when: 1) I feel like wearing one of those styles I like, 2) my ends feel dry and I want put them away, 3) I have a lot of new growth and can do nothing else with my hair. 

 all tucked away in a headband

I really enjoy playing with my hair (not over-manipulating it lol). I like trying new styles with it. I like switching things up. I get bored easily so I can't commit to one style for a long period of time. I haven't tried sew-in weaves or wigs (yet) so I'm not sure how I would do with that. But I've seen enough length retention in the past 8 months to be content with staying this way. I am thinking of doing another 3-month challenge though. Because I enjoyed the first one so much and this one has prizes!

LOVE the high bun!


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