Protective styling and I have a love-hate relationship. No matter how much I love my protective styles when I first put them in, they don’t last very long. My longest protective style was box braids that I rocked for two weeks. They just don’t work for me. Mainly because I love doing my hair and I’m always wanting to try a new style. For those who are not familiar with the term “protective style,” it is a low manipulation hairstyle, usually involving tucking the ends away and usually doesn’t require daily maintenance. There is so much praise of protective styles in all facets of natural hair that I keep wanting to try it out. Also, they are very convenient when you have a busy schedule and don’t have much spare time in the week to spend on your hair other than the usual re-style or re-moisturize. I have really tried to make this method of hair styling work for me, and I think it is safe to say I have found a few ways that make me, and you, comfortable with it.
1: Protective style for one week and have hair down the next week.
This is great for me because it fuels my desire for new and inventive hairstyles while protecting my hair from possible damage. I wouldn’t try this for protective styles that REQUIRE a time commitment due to cost and application time (ex: $150 set of box braids that took 8 hours to complete), but they are great for twisted or braided updos.
ALTERNATIVE: You can protective style for half the week and wear it out for the other half. This is great if you’re comfortable wearing your two strand twists for a few days or putting your natural hair in braids (without braiding hair).
2: Do half-up-half-down styles.
This is another way to protect your hair and experiment with new styles. I, personally, LOVE doing these types of styles. They are the bulk of the hairstyles I do on a regular basis. They protect only half of your hair, but half of the potential damage is better than all of it. They are cute, trendy, and edgy. You can also show your personality with these hairstyles. I recommend alternating between leaving the front and back sections of your hair out to even out the odds of damage, if you’re comfortable.
3: Pick a protective style that can be styled many ways.
Box braids, mini twists, marley twists, and senegalese twists are all great protective styles that can be styled so many ways. It is easier to keep a protective style in LONGER when it can be styled multiple ways. This is also a great way to add color to your hair if you were ever curious. Below are the many shades of a set of purple box braids.
4: Plan for your style ahead of time, so when its time to put in your protective style, you’re ready.
This one is a little extra but can be very helpful, especially for a busy week. When my family and I went on vacation, and being the extra organized person that I am, I had a hairdo to go with every outfit. I installed box braids to make hair care easier during the trip. It was very helpful: I never had to worry about what to do with my hair, and I had come up with some cute hairstyles in advance.
Wear that fitted cap over that wig that won’t fit over your natural hair. Wear that flower crown over those senegalese twists and look as hipster as you want to. Put those jewels all over those fake locs. Wear every single pair of hoop earrings you own with your cornrows. While you’re at it, wear some bright lipstick. Accessories help to make any hairstyle bright and flamboyant. I like to add headscarves to any hairstyle I wear. It also gives you an opportunity to use those ribbons and bows you’ve been hoarding since elementary school.
More pictures of some of my protective styles…
Please feel free to add any other ideas in the comments!