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Protective Styles: What You Need To Know

            You may have heard the term “protective style” repeatedly before. Whether or not you understood what it meant, it’s likely you’ve already worn your hair in one. They’re popular not only because of the beautiful styles they can create, but also the practical benefits for your hair health. If you’re looking for healthier hair or just want to know more, then we’ve got the info on protective styles for you.

            So, what are protective styles? Any hairdo that tucks away your ends is a protective style. That means braids, twists, buns, chignons, Bantu knots, and even wigs all count as protective styles. There are many ways to style these as well, so you have plenty of options to vary your look.

Why Should You Wear Protective Styles?

Woman with bun standing in field

Photo by Mark Decile from Unsplash

            The roots of your hair are the weakest part and most likely to get damaged. Even the healthiest hair still can be worn down cold wind, sun, and other weather conditions. If you mainly stay indoors, you still need to be concerned by hair manipulation from daily activities like wearing clothes. By wearing your hair in a protective style, you hide these delicate ends, shielding them from harm.

A common reason people wear protective styles is that they believe it makes their hair grow longer. There is merit to this, but perhaps not how you expect. Protective styles themselves do nothing to increase hair growth. Instead, they prevent breakage at the ends which results in the appearance of a lack of hair growth. If you’re having problems with hair growth, this is likely your issue. When your hair is down, your constantly hair grows. On the other hand, your ends get weaker and break at the same rate. The result: no measurable hair growth. So, protect your ends and the growth will come.

Who Should Wear Protective Styles?

Happy black child with bun smiling outside with hands on face

Photo by Iiona Virgin from Unsplash

            Protective styles are good for everyone but especially helpful for those transitioning into natural hair. They should be a regular part of any woman’s hair care regimen. If you have treated or damaged hair and want to go natural, your hair may still be weak from past treatments. Protective styles are a great way to tuck away your damaged ends as your strong, new natural hair grows in.

How Long Should You Wear Protective Styles?

Women in black rain jacket with braid braids in an ball on top of hair sitting

Photo by Atiya Walker from Unsplash

            At most, you should keep your protective style for 8 weeks for a couple of reasons. First, even though these styles are supposed to keep your hair safe, some of them, like braids, can increase tension at your scalp. Pulling for too long can lead to pain and permanent hair loss. After you let it out, it’s best to let your hair sit for at least a week before you go for another protective style.

           Second, it’s hair to clean your hair completely while your hair is in a protective style. Product build-up, dirt, and other debris can collect on your scalp if you wait too long. Build-up can clog your pores, slowing down hair growth and potentially leading to infections. It’s best to let your hair down occasionally and use a good, cleansing shampoo to wash out everything.

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