This myth is so deeply ingrained in the natural hair community that women will often do back-to-back protective styles for more than a year to achieve their hair goals. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of women who have achieved amazing protective style lengths, but there are some women who never produce results from all their efforts.
The problems caused by excessive protective styling:
Hair tangles that are touching for a long period of time. This is especially the case in styles that take so long to put on that the very idea of taking it down after just a few days seems wasteful. Therefore, women decide to leave in those styles for the week.
Dryness of hair that is left intact and loved for a long time. Breaking over manipulating hair to create elaborate hairstyles
So how do I grow my hair then?
Contrary to popular belief, the protective style is not necessary for rapid hair growth. Instead low styles of manipulation are the key.
Low manipulation styles, unlike protective hairstyles, do not require that your hair and ends be hidden for protection. Instead it works on the premise that if you style simple and manipulate your hair as little as possible, then you don’t do unnecessary damage to your hair and it will retain length.
Benefits of Styles under Manipulation
They are easier to install. Styles like the wash-and-go and twist/braid outs are much less demanding on the hair than installing mini twists, extension braids, etc. By manipulating the hair less for style, damage to your hair is minimized. Before adopting a guard style, think about whether tampering with it will cause more damage to your hair. Than if just a decoration cared for on a regular basis and if its purpose is defeated.
It is easier to maintain hair.
The problem with many of the protective hairstyles is that once adopt, women tend to forget that they still have to maintain the hair. Especially when it is hidden under wigs or woven into braids. Also, if the hair is difficult to get in, or moisturizing that will ruin the style, many women choose to style over the health of the hair. Low manipulative styles, however, generally do not require the hair to be tied in intricate styles making the hair easier to access.
They are more flexible
The main complaint with protective styles is that it can become boring after a while. Having your hair in one style for weeks at a time can be a major problem for many of us. Curliest as most of us suffer from severe cases of hand in hair syndrome. Low manipulative styles however, give curly a chance to vary their styles and avoid becoming boring.
Low manipulation styles to try:
This style can be done in a number of ways. But the easiest way to achieve this is the style of washing and conditioning the hair and thoroughly detangling before styling. Once this is done, a hydrating or leave-in conditioner or moisturizer can be used depending on your preference. A styler or gel can be overlaid on top for added hold if needed. To ensure that you keep your hair healthy while styling, be sure to hydrate your hair as much as it needs to be.
Twist / Braid outlets
Don’t be discouraged
I know this information can seem confusing and contradictory. Especially since this article seems to suggest that all hairstyles are the same. But if it has been said, once it has been said many times. You have to do what is best for your hair.
This article covers only suggestions for an alternative way to maintain the health of your hair if the traditional style of protection does not work.
Follow the link for ideas of protective hair styles
Also, keep in mind that a hairstyle itself does not guarantee the health of your hair. It should also be done in conjunction with good hair care practices, plenty of hydration, a side quote of good deep conditioning, reduced use of combs and brushes, and minimizing the number of times you style your hair.
As always, I wish you love, peace, and curly-haired bliss. What do you think? Are styles of protection overrated?