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Protective Styles

Posted by Dr. Ellana on

Have you ever noticed that when some Black women are preparing for vacation one of the first things on their list is getting their hair braided? Or when a sister is pregnant and her due date is approaching she gets her hair cornrowed? These sisters know that they want to stay looking good if they decide to take a dip in the pool or if there’s a long labor process ahead. And even if there’s a short labor, the new mama will be so enthralled with her new bundle of joy that the last thing on her mind will be trying to find a brush or comb to tame her hair.

Protective styles keep the ends of hair tucked away in order to discourage tugging, pulling, and manipulation, which can cause breakage. They are also meant to encourage hair growth and can save so much time since touching the hair as little as possible is the main purpose. Keeping your hair protected from things that might damage it like weather conditions, heating elements and over-styling helps your hair. Nowadays, rocking protective styles has become an added bonus of having more options for concealing hair. Protective styles include twists, braids, updos, bantu knots, wigs and more. 

Many think that just because your hair is tucked away, dryness and breakage won’t be an issue. Wrong! Your hair can become even more brittle and fragile than when you started if you don’t prepare it properly or leave the protective style in too long. Everyone has seen that poor sister who has a mini afro with microbraids sprouting out of the ‘fro. That sister clearly left her microbraids in a few months too long and may have dried out or further damaged her hair. Additionally, we have also seen the sister whose stylist braids baby hair into the cornrows, which rips out the finer hair around the crown leaving our sister with bald edges and a receding hairline!

Some say that the tension from some of these styles can actually cause breakage, especially since hair isn't getting properly moisturized. That is why it is very important that before doing a protective style like braids, you should deep-condition and moisturize the hair. Remember to maintain your scalp and hair underneath your protective style. While choosing a protective style can be difficult, try to find one that not only looks good, but is protective and works for you! Protecting your hair is the best thing you can do for it.  Our scalp serum is ideal to use with your protective styles to keep your hair moisturized and your scalp healthy.  Placing serum between your braided styles and when you hair is braided down with a wig placement...BINGO!


Many people damage their hair by overprocessing it or not knowing how to care for natural hair.  Wearing protective styles gives you a well-deserved break and it is okay to take a break from doing your hair daily. It can also help your hair grow and retain moisture depending on style choice. A few things to know, try not to style the hair too tight or too long so it can be at its best when taken out of a protective style. Seeing a difference in hair growth will make you take it easy a little more and have fun trying different protective styles.

So for our sisters heading to the pool at a resort in Cancun, the ones going to a delivery room and those of us who just want to take a break from daily hair care, remember that a protective style can be cute and useful to preserve the health of your hair. Don’t forget to oil that scalp and wear a satin scarf or bonnet over your hair nightly even when wearing protective styles. Healthy hair is good hair.


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