Within the natural hair community, protective styles are seen as a curly girls best friend and especially important during the summer time. These styles not only allows your hair to be safely tucked away but requires very little maintenance which is perfect for our tresses. From long braids to kinky twists, protective styles are essential due to the promotion of healthy hair growth (if taken care of properly of course). Personally, this was my first time getting braids and boy do I love them! I was also able to chat with Protective Style hair stylist and guru Lynda Jay to get the inside scoop on these styles and the importance of them during a natural hair journey.
1. Benefits of Protective Styles
While there are tons of benefits of protective styles, Lynda states that in her eyes the top three are length retention, protection, and a much needed break from dealing with our hair. Being that I am currently 5 months post I can definitely say I agree with her 100%. The low manipulation prevents damage that can occur from various factors such as heat from styling, combing every day, and even natural toxins. When sporting protective styles such as braids, the new hair growth is also being stretched which promotes more length and a bit less shrinkage (we all know that shrinkage is REAL!)
2. Protective Styles for Transitioning Ladies
"Yes, I do believe that it is vital for a woman who is transitioning to engage in a protective style at least once annually." Lynda states. Most ladies who are currently in the transitioning process from relaxed to natural typically has a hair regimen or schedule that they follow closely when maintaining their hair. I knew when I decided to make the big switch that protective styles would be crucial in my process. On my personal calendar I scheduled out exactly when I would get my style installed and exactly how long I would leave it in (Organization is the key, even when it comes to hair). Lynda also states that these styles aren't only essential for women who are transitioning, but for every woman with relaxed or natural hair in general.
Thinking protective styles are only weaves? Think again! Lynda gave me the 411 and reminded me that although weave is the most popular, one can protective style with her real hair. Any sort of braiding or twisting is beneficial just as well as weaving.
3. Recommendations for Protective style newbies
When it came down to choosing which style I wanted I had a hard time because literally all of the styles gave me life. Need help choosing as well? Lynda recommends a hair style that doesn't cause too much tension to the scalp. Wigs, twists, or crochet styles do a good job at achieving this. Styles such as braids and faux dread locs are great options as well but beginning protective stylers will feel more tension, weight, and pain with these styles. Her advice to beginners would be to allow yourself at least two hair styles to get yourself familiar with having the additional hair on your head.
4. Taking care of your protective style
Moisturizing is key when it comes to healthy hair growth period. I used to think a little hair grease would do the trick but I was totally wrong. It is important to take the time out at least every other day to properly nourish the scalp with essential products. I have been using the LOC method thus far with my protective style and have seen positive results. This technique moisturizes and seals all in one which is perfect!