Protective hairstyles do exactly what their name suggests – protect your hair. How do they protect my hair, and what from?, you may ask. The answer is simple: protective hairstyles tuck your hair strands away and keep them safe from daily manipulation and conditions that are dangerous for your hair’s health. According to Glamour, naturally curly hairs are more prone to breakage because they’re drier. This is why putting them in protective hairstyles such as braids, wigs, twists, locs, etc can be great for your hair’s health.
However, these protective hairstyles that are supposed to help protect your hair may end up causing damage like hair loss and breakage. Why?, you wonder. Read further to find out why protective styles are breaking your hair.
- Putting Tension on Your Hair/Straining Your Edges
Many of the protective hairstyles naturalistas opt for put a lot of tension on their hair, thereby causing it to snap and break. Your edges are more susceptible to breakage than any other part of your hair, especially when strained. It is always better to leave them undone.
Styling your twists, braids or locs into a tight bun pulls the hair on your nape and edges, so avoid making your buns tight. Also, hairstyles like cornrows can snap your edges if too tight. Always tell your hairstylist if your hair is too tight and avoid styles that put pressure on your hair to prevent breakage.
- Wearing Your Protective Style for too Long
A lot of times, when naturalistas complain about protective hairstyles breaking their hair, it is because they think they can leave them in for as long as they want. No, baby, you’ve got to free your hair! Keeping your hair locked away under a wig or hair extensions for as long as 10 weeks or more will cause breakage.
So, how long should I keep my protective hairstyles in? According to Swivel, it shouldn’t be longer than 8 weeks. Leaving it longer than that may result in hair damaging consequences like tangling, dryness, and breakage.
- Not Preparing Your Hair Well for the Protective Style
One step that you should never underestimate when getting your protective styling done is preparing your natural hair for it. Since your hair will be tucked away for a while, you must make sure it is in the best state possible. Before getting your hair done, make sure it is thoroughly shampooed and conditioned to get your hair and scalp clean.
Also, make sure it is moisturized with a leave-in conditioner and other water-based products. This is to keep the hair and scalp hydrated throughout your protective styling period. Not prepping your hair well enough will cause breakage after the protective hairstyle.
Here are some other reasons protective hairstyles are breaking your hair:
- Not shampooing and conditioning regularly while you have your protective hairstyle in.
- Not moisturizing your hair and scalp while wearing a protective hairstyle.
- Wearing the same protective hairstyle all the time.
- Trying to make it last by tightening the roots, etc.
In conclusion, if you do your part in protecting your hair, your protective hairstyle will do its part. Avoid the above-mentioned protective hairstyling mistakes and watch your hair flourish after taking down your twists or braids! Has protective styling caused breaking in your hair before? What mistake did you make? Let’s know in the comments!