Protective Styling

Winter Hair Care

By Maleka

Protective styling is important because black hair is fragile and as such we much treat our hair like fine silk to enable it to reach its length  potential. Protective styling will help preserve our hair ends. 
If you wear your textured hair down, I want you to view your shoulders as an anatomical obstacle to helping you achieve the hair length desire. This might sound crazy right? When  wearing your hair down, the ends of the hair repeatedly brushes your shoulders and is exposed to the harsh elements of the weather; namely, air, wind ect. This practice will cause your hair to dry; the hair natural flat cuticle orientation gets disrupted and the cortex loses its internal moisture thus making the hair more prone to splitting and breaking. Our cotton shirts and blouse are also a contributing factor to creating frictional forces that will cause the hair ends to split and the cuticle to crack. If this action persists for several months and years, our hair may never achieve its length potential and it may retreat.
Therefore, it is essential that we wear our hair up and off the shoulders to protect it from environmental stressors that are likely to cause it to break. Due to the diversity of textured hair, there are several protective styling options to choose from, namely, buns, braids, headwraps, corn rows, roller sets ect. Short hair and natural hair are already protective in nature since they are up and off the shoulders.
The benefits of using protective styles are:
1. Preserve our hair by reducing day-to day combing and styling manipulation.
2. Reduces the hair exposure to rain, sun, wind, air, humidity
There are two common protective styling categories, namely, complete protective styling or low
manipulation protective styling.
A complete protective styling will keep your hair ends completely tucked away. On the other hand, low manipulation hair styles may expose the ends of the hair to some extent but they reduce drastically the day-to- day manipulation of the hair. Examples of low manipulation hair styles includes: two strands twist, corn rows ect
It is worthy to note that some styles cam be classified as both. A good hair care regimen will consider both types to greatly so that greatly length can be achieved.
Here are some tips to achieve protective styles:
Bantu Knots
Hair stretching
  This style is great for shrinkage prone natural hair. It can keep knots or tangles in check and is great to show off mot length with natural hair.
Natural Hair Banding
 Is a stretching technique that involves stretching the hair by placing small cloth ponytail holders or bands along the length to keep it stretched. It can be done on wet or dry hair. However the style is best achieve on wet or dampened hair because wet hair will stretch easily and set longer than dry hair.
How to achieve 
1. separate the hair into eight to ten sections.
 2. Dampen and detangle one section of hair at a time.
3. place a band at the base of the hair to create a standard ponytail.
4   Continue to place bands along the length of the hair for each section at ½- to 1-inch intervals until you reach the ends. Band the entire head of hair in this manner, and allow the hair air dry
Braids and Twists
Twisting and braiding the hair in 1- to 1 ½-inch-square sections while damp also loosens kinky textured hair. It us important to note that small braids and twists are better for stretching the hair. However, if you need to use large braids or twist to save time, these should be slighter tighter at the base of the hair to ensure that the strand  closest to scalp is lengthen.
Roller Sets
Can range from small, straw-like sets to large, bouncy curls, depending on the size of the roller used. They are great long-term-wear styles that need very little day-to-day care. Bearing in mind, the smaller the rod or roller used to set the curls, the longer-lasting the style. A typical roller set done on 1- to 2-inch rollers can last three to five days whereas the smaller, tighter roller sets including straw sets can last as long as two weeks with very little maintenance.
Roller setting is a protective style that typically requires heat. Although sets may be air- dried, the curls achieved ate not well defined when compared to heat-supported sets. The heat required for roller setting (hooded dryer heat) is a safer source of heat than traditional blow dryer heat. Quality hooded dryers warm hair gradually over the course of thirty to forty-five minutes, avoiding the damage that often comes with rapid heating.
 If we consider this safer heating and combined it low manipulation and the long term nature of the styles achieved, you will find that these styles have protective effects.
Reference: The Science of Black Hair  by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy.

If you like this post, please share or tell us what is your protective winter style.