Are You Protective Styling or Defective Styling?

portrait of a beautiful african american woman

Admittedly, protective styling is a great way to protect your hair from damage. There are box braids, kinky twists, mini twists, mini plaits, wigs, weaves, buns and many more protective styles out there that us naturals love to wear. Not only does it look good, but it’s good for our ends. For a period of time, our ends and hair shaft will have a break from daily combing and styling. However, maybe your protective style isn’t really protecting your hair. Here are the reasons why, and I must warn you, I will be very frank:
  1. Where is your spray bottle at? Those flat twists are so cute! You’re even wearing a fancy headband with the pretty artificial flower on it. But girl, your hair is drier than concrete! Even the concrete gets moisture, let’s be real, because it rains at some point. However, you need to moisturize your hair. It is painful for me to imagine the breakage you are going to experience when you take down this style because you failed to feed your hair with the moisture that it needs.  Opt to moisturize your hair daily when it is in a protective style. Grab that spray bottle! Spritz your hair, and use an oil to seal in that moisture, which brings me to my next point. 
  2. Where is your oil at? It is great that you have your spray bottle, and that you damp your hair with water every five minutes; but excuse me, you’re hair isn’t being moisturized, it’s simply being watered. The same theory applies if you’re using a thicker water-based moisturizer. Invest in some oils! You need to slip on some oil over that moisturizer. The protective style will not help you retain length, unless you retain moister.  There is castor oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil. Geez, there are too many oils out there for you not be using one. 
  3. Those braids are too tight! Girl, I am shocked that your edges survived the tug-of-war with that kanekalon braiding hair. Honey, if it hurts to turn your head, those braids are too tight. Please, do not force your hair into tight styles. Have you ever seen young women with receding hairlines? I mean more receded than your grandmother’s? It is a sad epidemic. Please spare yourself from alopecia and make sure those braids are not done tightly. They look beautiful, but feel painful. 
  4.  Are you growing dreads? Now, I personally believe that dreadlocks are gorgeous and I love to see them. However, if that is not your goal, it is time to take those braids down. Here is my rule of thumb, if your mind is telling you that: “My hair must be matted”, then your hair is matted. Matted hair is not easy to detangle and you’ll probably end up pulling out more hair than you wanted to. Those poor braids are hanging by their last limb with all of that new growth! Take the braids down, and detangle your hair. If you wait too long, you hair will become matted and it will dread. 
  5. You got Dandruff! That weave is beautiful, is that Brazilian hair? What is going on in that scalp is just awful. When you are wearing a protective style, you still need to keep your hair clean. After a while, product buildup takes control of your hair, and it won’t be long before your hair starts smelling like a sweaty sock.  Wash your hair, wash it please. Schedule a wash day. Clean hair is good, keep it moisturized and clean. It is so simple! Stop defective styling. If you want to see growth, and if you want thicker hair, protective styling will not automatically achieve that for you. Rather, proper care will. Good luck on your hair journey!

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