Just as everyone’s hair does NOT need to be relaxed, please note that every naturalista does NOT have to use typical protective styling.
However, that begs the question of what is protective styling or should I say, that makes one wonder what is “typical” protective styling?
Before you start talking about braids, Senegalese twist, faux locs, weaves and wigs, let us consider that sometimes a protective style is merely a style where you hide your edges or choose to manipulate your hair very little.
Why do I insist on this?
I know people who wear extensions and their hair is UNPROTECTED!
Yes you read right! How?
I know you have seen that girl or perhaps you are her – the one who sits and plays with her braids all day; who twists her braids; who plaits her braids; who buns her braids; who manipulates her hair constantly.
Equally as bad, are you the one who does nothing; does not apply water, leave-in conditioner, oils, nor creams/butters, only adding if anything at all, a little serum for shine and maybe some glaze or gel to tame fly-away hairs?
These persons are just tricking themselves. If this is how they including yourself, are protecting their hair, it may come out in worse health than before the protective hairstyle was installed. #Honest
It’s the same as with people who wear weaves and forget about nourishing and caring for their hair underneath. Don’t do it!
Now, with that out of the way truly, let’s really look at what is a protective style.
(MY) Definition: A protective style is when your ends are tucked away or your hair is given a rest for some time without constant manipulation.
Thus you can bun your natural hair as a protective style or cornrow or twist your natural hair, but on the flipside, if you can do a twist-out or Bantu knot out or spiral set or wash-n-go and then pineapple at night, so as to maintain these styles for days without re-twisting or re-manipulation…*drum roll* then with these styles too you can protect your strands though your ends are flying. J
That said, please moisturise your ends, because we all know your ends are the oldest part of your hair. Take good care of the elderly. Lolol
So, how do I protective style?
Well I do like extensions because they give my hair a rest, but more importantly, extensions give me a rest from managing two textures.
Since concreting my decision mentally to transition, I have rocked three sets of extensions – two sets of box braids and one set of Senegalese twists.
Which do I prefer?
If you didn’t guess, box braids.
I can easily wash box braids without major concern about frizz and unravelling.
How long do I wear braids for?
No more than six weeks, but usually for four weeks.
Do I take breaks between protective styles?
I take a three to four-week breaks, give my strands a rest from the weight and little tension.
How do I style my braids?
I don’t usually put up my braids the few days. I let my hair get accustom to the weight. I let it adjust. I bun sometimes. Sometimes I put half up, half down, or rock a Patra look with a mini-bun in the center at the crown of my head.
How do I care for my hair under braids?
I spritz with little water, apply Kinky Curly Knot Today, oil – JBCO or grapeseed oil, Mango butter and then some days I just add some braid shine product along the length of the braids to give the ends a boost when bunning my hair.
How do I wash my braids?
I section my braids into four. I put Kinky Curly Come Clean sulphate-free shampoo and water in a spritz bottle and shake until a foam forms. Then I spray my scalp in between the braids and use the balls of my fingers to create a lather on my scalp while giving it a good cleanse. I leave it all for a few minutes then stand up the shower and let the water rinse out the soapy suds and build up. I put conditioner and water in my spritz bottle and shake until it becomes a creamy white liquid. I spray my scalp and along the braids where my hair is, then let it soak for a while. Rinse. Add some DC and water to my spray water bottle, shake and apply. Then I cover my hair with a plastic cap and a heat processing cap while I shower for 20 minutes. Rinse.
How do I dry my braids after washing?
I squeeze my braids out a bit like hand-washed laundry. Then I wrap my locs up turban-style using a T-shirt. Or if the sun is out and the wind is blowing, I take a book outside, sit under the almond tree by my home and I let my braids fall over the back of the chair and air-dry while I read my novel.
How many more protective styles before my Big Chop?
Your guess is as good as mine. I have no clue! Lol
Finally, did I achieve growth and gained any length my way?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so look…