Protective hairstyles are a popular technique for length retention, especially for kinky textured naturals like 4c hair. However, all too often protective hairstyles have the potential to work against you. Here are some things that you definitely want to avoid to get the most out of protective hairstyles:
Styles that pull too tightly
Be gentle around the nape, edges, and center of your head. For some people it more sensitive than other areas. Keep the tension looser in this section and if you must braid it go for larger braids rather than smaller ones.
Too much brushing will wear your hair out. Use brushes sparingly. When you are trying to smooth your edges, try this alternative: Use a good moisturizing gel product and get a silk scarf or wave cap to lay your edges down. Here are also a few other ways to lay those edges without damage.
Not choosing low manipulation hairstyles
Sometimes simple works best. When you do the more extravagant protective hairstyles that require a lot of detangling, parting and sectioning of the hair, it is more work for you. It’s more strain on your hair & can increase your chances of damage. Opting for a simple elegant bun or tuck in roll, cuts down on breakage from styling and creates effortless style that will protect the ends of your hair.
Using hair damaging accessories
Some accessories have a habit of ripping and pulling at your hair. Go for options that are gentle on your strands and leave you with little to no breakage. This also goes for your styling tools like hair clips and bobby pins, too. Stay away for cheap bobby pins that easily lose the rubber tips (choose these instead), rubber bands, and ponytail holders with metal closures.
Protective styling way too long
You don’t want your hair to lock up and tangling up like crazy on you. This commonly happens a lot with styles like box braids or two strand twists, if left alone long enough your hair can form knots that are challenging to get out. For protective styles like those, its best to re-install every 6-8 weeks. Depending on your hair, maybe more frequently.
Read more of the Do’s and Don’ts of Protective Styling with Braid or Twist Extensions.
Forgetting to moisturize
Protective hairstyles will make it easier to retain more length, but you want to make sure your ends don’t get all dried up and filled with splits in the process. Just because you’re protective styling doesn’t mean you can neglect your hair and scalp. Make sure your regularly moisturize with a moisturizing spray so that it is easy to spread throughout your hair. You can buy the ole school braid sheen or make your own with these recipes.
Removing protective style improperly
Have a spray bottle handy with some water. Not only does this help make the take down process go by faster but it helps you to prevent damage to your hair. You don’t want all your protective styling efforts to go down the drain because you comb and broke all of your progress off. Shedding is to be expected during the take down process. But make sure you know the difference between shedding and breakage.
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing
Let your hair breathe and enjoy it! Consistently wearing your hair pulled back in a ponytail or braiding it can strain your hair. Protect your hair by having a balanced hair regimen.