If you’re trying to grow back your hair or prevent it from further damage, protective hairstyles can help you do the job. As their name implies, they protect your hair from anything that can hamper the overall health of your hair.
What are Protective Hairstyles?
A protective hairstyle is any hairdo that keeps the ends of the hair tucked away to prevent pulling, tugging or any form of manipulation. The idea is to protect the ends of your hair making sure they are free from manipulation. They also prevent your hair from getting frizzy as a result of unfavourable environmental elements.
Benefits of Protective Hairstyles
These types of hairdo offer many benefits to your hair. They include:
They Spur Hair Growth.
These hairstyles help your hair grow. This is because you hardly touch your natural hair when wearing a protective hairstyle. And as such, it grows freely without manipulation.
They Retain Moisture
When you wear a protective style, you can be sure you won’t lose moisture in your hair. However, you’ll have to shampoo your hair first and condition it before having this hairdo. This way, the conditioner penetrates into your hair strands, thus preparing it for the styling process.
They Require Low Maintenance
When you rock a protective hairdo, you don’t have to bother yourself about styling them all the time. Once in a week is okay lest you should stress your hair. You also don’t have to apply many products to maintain the hair. Simply wearing a bonnet and adding hair oil can do the magic.
They are Versatile
You can easily style these hairstyles into buns, updos and ponytails or simply wear them the way they were made and get going. They are always beautiful whether you style them or not. And if you want to make them more beautiful, adorn them with hair accessories.
What to Note When Using Extensions to Achieve Protective Hairstyles
These hairstyles protect your hair from manipulation which could result in hair breakage, especially with 4C hair. However, should note that the process of achieving them can be a bit tiring. For instance, you may have to sit for long hours. Also, your hairstylist may pick the strands of your hair too tightly.
When this happens, you should speak out and let them know you don’t want tight braids. If you don’t speak up, you wind up feeling pains, putting much tension on your scalp and experiencing breakage.
How to Maintain Protective Hairstyles
Wear Satin Hair Bonnets
You can maintain your protective styles by wearing a satin hair bonnet. This will help to get rid of frizz and retain moisture in your hair. This way, your hairstyle will be able to last longer.
Add Hair Oil
Hair oil will moisturise your scalp and prevent dryness. You can apply oil on your scalp and edges at least three times a week. This will go a long way in preserving your hairdo.
10 Protective Hairstyles for Your Natural Hair
Virtually, all the types of African braids make it to this list of protective styles. Hence, the following are the hairstyles that protect your hair from frequent manipulation. They also prevent damage from the sun, cold or heat.
1. Box Braids
This is one of the most popular protective hairstyles. They are versatile and easy to maintain. You can make your box braids chunky or slim, depending on your choice and your ability to sit for long.
Knotless braids are also box braids. The difference is that it is made through the feed-in technique. That is, your hairstylist braids your natural hair from the roots and feeds in extensions as they braid on.
Knotless box braids are less painful and lighter than traditional braids though they take longer time to achieve
This is one of the protective hairstyles that is achieved through crocheting. That is, you crochet hair extensions to your natural hair with a crochet hook or latch hook. They come in different forms, usually traditional braids, twists, faux locs, etc.
4. Bantu Knots
The Zulu people of southern Africa invented this style. It involves sectioning your hair, twisting it and wrapping it to form a spiraled knot that looks like a stack of tyres. It serves as a protective style for both relaxed and natural hair. Bantu knots work well with hair extensions.
This is one elegant protective hairstyle. It involves braiding your hair very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to make a continuous row. The results are simple, straight lines on your head. Furthermore, you can use hair extensions or your natural hair to achieve this style.
Dreadlocks are simply ropelike strands of hair that are formed by braiding or matting the hair. This style doesn’t give room for any form of manipulation on your hair. This is because it is permanent as you can only take it off by cutting your hair. Unless, of course, your locs are faux. In addition, you’ll have to visit the salon regularly to wash and maintain your dreads.
The difference between didi and traditional cornrows is that you weave your hair as though you are doing it hair inside out. The result is an inverted cornrow which spurs hair growth.
This is also another protective hairstyle. When you wear a wig, you hardly manipulate your hair. You don’t even stress your hair or pull your edges. Furthermore, they make it possible for you to take care of your hair because you can always take it off.
If you’re on low cut, simply wear your wig and get going. If your hair is long, braid it into three or four cornrows so the wig can sit perfectly without creating a bump on your head.
Shuku involves braiding your hair into cornrows to create an updo or a hump on your head. Once you’re on this style, you don’t have to stress yourself to restyle all the time. Simply decorate the hairdo with gold cuffs, beads and other accessories and you’re good to go.
10. Senegalese Twist
Senegalese twists are beautiful and easy to maintain just like every other protective style. They aren’t difficult to loosen and they don’t stress you to achieve too. All you have to do is to wrap strands of hair around each other for each section.
You either use your natural hair or hair extensions to do this style.
Whether your hair is relaxed or not, protective hairstyles are coiffures you should try out. However, if you’re a naturalista, you may have to straighten your hair before proceeding to braid it.