Is Protective Styling natural hair really protecting?

This year has been the year of “protective styling” for me. I was persistent to protect my hair from manipulation, heat damage, retain length and most importantly protect these ends. People may ask, “Wait, isn’t that what protective styles are supposed to do?” Yeah…that is what I thought too. Now I’m not saying they don’t, but it is really important that you know your hair and what helps it thrive to be at its healthiest state.

I have 4B hair and it sucks moisture out of a room. It needs to be washed every week and must be handled with some good ole TLC! The protective styles I’ve had in the past didn’t completely protected my hair, let me tell you why. I have had a total of four different protective styles, which all required me to add hair. I have had a sew-in, marley twists and crochet braids twice. I’ve realized that these styles save you time, provides versatility and requires for less manipulation. However, there may be some things many aren’t thinking about.

When considering a protective style, ask yourself three questions:

Who’s your stylist?

The most important part of doing a protective style is the process of the style. Out of all the protective styles, for all but one style did the stylist moisturize my hair from my scalp to the ends. Most styles are kept up for 2-3 months. Some may go even longer. Not every stylist understands natural hair or has natural hair. So, they don’t understand it needs to be handled with care. When you have different styles, not all stylists do all types hair. This causes you to go to multiple stylists. I have realized having different people in my hair doesn’t work well for me. You have to tell the stylist what YOUR hair care needs every time. So it can be like starting from scratch.

Will it neglect your hair?

Once your style is up, your hair still needs attention under and in your protective style. I would be the first to admit when I have a proactive style, I neglect to show my hair attention. It’s because I get too comfortable without having to do my hair. DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE! You still want to moisturize, clean and oil your hair regularly. By neglecting your hair, it can become brittle, dry and weak. Whenever I had a protective style, I never washed it because I was always scared of ruining the style. Since I know my hair must be washed, protective styling doesn’t allow my hair to be at its full potential.

What is the take down process?

If you can’t take your style down with ease I would say that style may not be good for your hair. Putting a lot of tension on your hair can cause hair breakage during the process. Have you ever taken down your hair and realized globs of hair came out? I have! A sew-in has been the most difficult style to take down for me. The hair has been sewed in so tight it took a lot of pulling and tugging to remove.

I believe protective styles do help preserve your hair…To a certain extent. Remember, it’s imperative that your hair underneath is protected. As with anything, you have to make sure the roots are well taken care of in order for it to grow!

What are some of your experiences with protective styles? Share in the comments below!