Protective styles are supposed to be low manipulation styles that promote growth and help retain length. Unfortunately, if done improperly protective styles can damage the hairline. The tension from braids, extensions and pulling the hair too tight can cause cause possible hair loss. It is recommended that you take special precautions when wearing your hair up for a substantial length of time. Here are a few tips to ensure that your edges remain intact after letting down your protective style:
Don’t Wear a Protective Style Longer than Necessary
Some styles are said to last for up to eight weeks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should keep the style for eight weeks. If you see that your style is doing more harm than good –for example if you notice bumps (caused by your hair being too tight), pain, or even puss around your hairline, take the style down immediately and see a hair care specialist. You don’t want to put more pressure on your edges than they can handle.
Part Your Hair Bigger Around the Perimeter
Braids, loc extensions and twists seem to be the go to style as of late. If you decide to rock any one of these styles, ask your stylist to make the parts bigger around the perimeter of your head than the ones in the rest of your hair. This will allow your edges to better support the extensions. I used to wear braids frequently and noticed that my stylists made all of my parts very small. When some of my braids fell out, so did my hair. Needless to say, I won’t be rocking braids for a very long time. Also, try not to style your braids too much. The pulling and manipulation caused by styling increases the stress and tension to your edges.
Choose Protective Styles That Don’t Require A lot of Work
Keep your protective styles simple. Choose styles that don’t require a lot of upkeep and maintenance. The more manipulation and pulling you do to your hair, especially when wearing it up, the more stress you cause to your tresses. A simple bun or tuck n roll style will do just fine.
Wear Wigs Instead of Sew-ins
Sew-ins are beautiful protective styles if installed properly. Unfortunately, many stylists install the sewn ins too tight. They should not be painful and should not cause tenderness or bumps around your hairline. I once had a sew-in that caused me a headache for three days. I finally decided that it was too tight and took it down. With the advancement of lace closures, wigs are really starting to look a lot more real and best of all, it’s far less dramatic than sewing it in. Wigs cost much less than sew-ins, don’t require much tension on your scalp and you can simply remove the wig when your scalp begins to itch. Also, if you do wear wigs, try to substitute comb attachments with bobby pins. This will decrease stress on the hairline as well.
Protective Style Your Hair Without Extensions
Added hair is great for providing the fullness or length we desire, but sometimes it is a source of too much strain on our hair as well as irritation in some cases. Get creative and find simple go to protective styles with your own hair. Extensions are great, but don’t rely on them all the time.
Stimulate Your Hairline
No matter what protective style you have, be sure to stimulate your hairline. Try to massage it to help promote growth in that area just in case you happen to lose a few strands while you have your hair up. How often you do it is up to you, but I would suggest massaging your edges every morning and night during the time you are protective styling.