With the colder weather upon us protective styling is on the minds and hearts of many naturals. But is protective styling really “protective”? What exactly are we protecting our hair from? Can you get through the winter without them?
1. Hydrated hair is protected hair.
Hydrated hair, which is when hair is the strongest, is when the hair is best protected.” Acquiring hydrated hair requires a thorough regimen of cleansing and conditioning with water soluble, water-based products with botanically-based ingredients. Using traditional “protective” styling as a means for protecting your hair from the elements won’t matter if you’re not keeping your hair hydrated regularly.
2. Alternative styling does not make your hair grow.
On average, our hair grows at about half an inch per month. Coupling that rate of growth with a dope hair care regimen results in attaining length. While it seems that rocking an alternative style results in hair growth what you’ve really experienced was the retention of that half an inch of hair that was destined to emerge from your scalp. Alternative styling doesn’t change the rate of growth; it actually prevents us from over manipulating the hair which results in length retention.
3. Synthetic hair can compromise your cuticle.
When synthetic materials rub against our hair, the outermost layer known as the cuticle becomes compromised. Incorporating a heavy moisturizer with ingredients that coat the hair during install will buffer friction between extension hair and your hair while providing much needed softness and lubrication.”
4. Cleansing hair weekly is a must.
Dirt and oil buildup can smell, clog and damage follicles, impede growth, lead to dry brittle hair and, it’s just plain old good hygiene to regularly cleanse your hair. Take the time to rinse shampoo longer than usual so you don’t leave any residue that may stick to braids or twists. Use the same applicator bottle technique to condition braided [or] twisted hair. Use a rinse out conditioner that doubles as a leave in, as any residual conditioner left on the hair won’t hurt it.”
5. Alternative styles should not be kept longer than 4-6 weeks.
Leaving your hair in an alternative style beyond 4-6 weeks puts your hair at risk. While your hair is not within reach for you to over manipulate, it is at risk for becoming severely dry. Within 4-7 days of being shampooed the water acquired by the hair during cleansing evaporates. With each passing day the hair becomes more and more dry. Wearing a protective style beyond 4-6 weeks can lead to buildup, increased shedding and even thinning.
So there you have it. “Protective styling” is not really protective but is an awesome alternative styling choice when you need to shake things up a bit. The best way to protect your hair all year round is by keeping your strands hydrated/moisturized by implementing a simple regimen of cleansing, conditioning and styling using water-based, water-soluble products with botanically-based ingredients.