Protective styling is to style your hair in such a way so as to protect or conceal the ends of your hair. The ends are the very oldest parts of your hair and tend to be the driest and in need of the most tlc. Protective styling comes in many forms such as twists, braids, buns, weaves, wigs, pin and tuck styles and also styles which incorporate scarves or head coverings. I have found there are two main benefits to protective styling for my hair texture.
Sealed in moisture for longer
When I do a protective style I find that my hair stays moisturised for longer. If I properly moisturise and seal my hair with a heavy butter (e.g shea butter) I can go for days without adding any more moisture to my hair. When hair is properly moisturised it is less likely to break.
When wearing a protective style I find that I retain more length. This is probably for two reasons. Firstly because I am not manipulating my hair everyday therefore there is less chance of breakage occurring. Secondly, my hair is not repeatedly exposed to the weather elements or to garments and accessories like woolly scarves I might be wearing.
As I mentioned earlier there are a range of protective styles you can do. I prefer not to use weaves, wigs and extensions for a number of reasons. Firstly I don't like to go to the hairdressers. I like to do my own hair as I know exactly how it should be treated. I also like to save money and time and I find going to the hairdressers (for me) wastes both (unless of course it is a special occasion).
Another reason why I prefer not to use weaves and wigs is that I enjoying learning about my hair and how it reacts to different products and techniques. I would also feel there would be a risk of me forgetting to keep on top of moisturising my hair while wearing such a style, resulting in bad breakage when taking the style out. Lastly I have learnt that my edges can not take the strain of tight braids over a long period of time, I know from past experience that my edges would become badly damaged. (Please note I have nothing against anyone using these protective styles, the points i've mentioned apply to what I've learnt about my own hair!)
So when doing a protective style with my own hair I've noticed some styles are better for my hair type and texture than others. These are my top 3 protective styles:
1. Loose two strand twist