Are You Protective Styling or Defective Styling?

portrait of a beautiful african american woman

Guest Post by Amanda @ NaturalHairCareNews

Admittedly, protective styling is a great way to protect your hair from damage. There are box braids, kinky twists, mini twists, mini plaits, wigs, weaves, buns and many more protective styles out there that us naturals love to wear. Not only does it look good, but it’s good for our ends. For a period of time, our ends and hair shaft will have a break from daily combing and styling. However, maybe your protective style isn’t really protecting your hair. Here are the reasons why, and I must warn you, I will be very frank:

  1. Where is your spray bottle at? Those flat twists are so cute! You’re even wearing a fancy headband with the pretty artificial flower on it. But girl, your hair is drier than concrete! Even the concrete gets moisture, let’s be real, because it rains at some point. However, you need to moisturize your hair. It is painful for me to imagine the breakage you are going to experience when you take down this style because you failed to feed your hair with the moisture that it needs.  Opt to moisturize your hair daily when it is in a protective style. Grab that spray bottle! Spritz your hair, and use an oil to seal in that moisture, which brings me to my next point. 
  2. Where is your oil at? It is great that you have your spray bottle, and that you damp your hair with water every five minutes; but excuse me, you’re hair isn’t being moisturized, it’s simply being watered. The same theory applies if you’re using a thicker water-based moisturizer. Invest in some oils! You need to slip on some oil over that moisturizer. The protective style will not help you retain length, unless you retain moister.  There is castor oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil. Geez, there are too many oils out there for you not be using one. 
  3. Those braids are too tight! Girl, I am shocked that your edges survived the tug-of-war with that kanekalon braiding hair. Honey, if it hurts to turn your head, those braids are too tight. Please, do not force your hair into tight styles. Have you ever seen young women with receding hairlines? I mean more receded than your grandmother’s? It is a sad epidemic. Please spare yourself from alopecia and make sure those braids are not done tightly. They look beautiful, but feel painful. 
  4.  Are you growing dreads? Now, I personally believe that dreadlocks are gorgeous and I love to see them. However, if that is not your goal, it is time to take those braids down. Here is my rule of thumb, if your mind is telling you that: “My hair must be matted”, then your hair is matted. Matted hair is not easy to detangle and you’ll probably end up pulling out more hair than you wanted to. Those poor braids are hanging by their last limb with all of that new growth! Take the braids down, and detangle your hair. If you wait too long, you hair will become matted and it will dread. 
  5. You got Dandruff! That weave is beautiful, is that Brazilian hair? What is going on in that scalp is just awful. When you are wearing a protective style, you still need to keep your hair clean. After a while, product buildup takes control of your hair, and it won’t be long before your hair starts smelling like a sweaty sock.  Wash your hair, wash it please. Schedule a wash day. Clean hair is good, keep it moisturized and clean. 

    It is so simple! Stop defective styling. If you want to see growth, and if you want thicker hair, protective styling will not automatically achieve that for you. Rather, proper care will. Good luck on your hair journey!


7 thoughts on “Are You Protective Styling or Defective Styling?”

  1. Just stop promoting kanekalon braids as healthy style. I have coarse thick mix racial hair and went for one of those so call protective styles, and now I understand why so many African American women hair are so mistreated. Damn it took that shit out of my hair yhe next day. 5 days later, I still can feel every freaking pore of my head, the sensitive skin around my forehead is sore, and while I throughly wash my hair it still have a smell like kanekalon and my scalp itches. Letting my scalp itch but damn never again do I let any African Amreican woman that hasn’t gone that doesn’t have a cosmetology license touch my hair. Knowing how to braid doesn’t mean yu know how to treat hair, anybody hairs, specially the delicate structure of curly, frizzy kinky hair.

    1. Every head of hair is different and the truth is that protective styling doesn’t work for everyone! However, I have seen prosperous results with Kanekalon braids. My hair is healthy, full, thick, and is currently past arm pit length. I do, however, install the braids myself. You’re absolutely right- knowing how to braid doesn’t mean you know how to treat hair. It’s important to get to know your own hair in order to pursue a style that is suitable for you.

  2. As new naturalist I agree that water and other ingredients are most necessary. I personally like grapeseed oil switching between Coccoconut oil/ olive oil and my water is a mix of leave in conditioner yes it’s working for me..

  3. You are so right! And I tell my friends all the time but most people think that when you spritz your hair and put on oil, that the braids or weave will need to be taken off earlier than they had planned – I guess because of product build up. But guess what? That’s ok. The damage to hair from not moisturizing is great ans it is just not worth it. Thanks for this post

  4. I’m sorry but water IS the best moisturizer. Oils do not moisturize the hair. They simply seal it in and keep the hair soft. So to say water is just “wetting” the hair is simply not true.

    1. You’re absolutely right, oils don’t moisturize the hair: they simply seal the moisture in. Without using some type of sealant after applying water, you really are just wetting the hair. As soon as your hair dries, the moisture will be gone because it wasn’t sealed in.

    2. Water is the best moisturizer, but how do you plan on sealing in that moister? Simply spraying your hair with water and leaving at that is not enough. You can use water as a moisturizer, but you need an oil or butter to keep that moister locked.

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