Best Protective Styles for Natural Hair
Natural hair thrives when manipulation is kept at a minimum. While there is nothing wrong with styling your natural curls, the constant brushing, combing, and styling can take a toll on your kinks. Over time, you can start to notice your hair breaking off at the ends, your edges or hairline thinning, and the overall quality of your hair diminishing. Staying on top the health of your hair with regular maintenance is a great starting point to avoid breakage. However, it doesn’t stop there. Protective styling is an effective way to keep your hair strong while maintaining length retention and promoting thicker strands. By cutting down the daily manipulation and styling of your natural curls, you will support a healthier head of hair.
If you look back over the last several decades, a protective style that never gets old is box braids. Box braids are great because they are versatile, long lasting, and look wonderful on just about anyone. Since the parts are distinct, you are still able to take care of your natural hair by oiling your scalp and cleansing your roots while you have the braids installed. Your natural hair is covered from root to tip for the ultimate protection. Box braids are a perfect protective style if you plan on going on vacation as they are able to hold up through styling, swimming, and last for up to 6 weeks when properly cared for.
Crochet braids have exploded in popularity in the natural hair community, and for good reason. The style possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Unlike traditional braids, crochet braids mimic the style of sew in weaves without the damage that can be caused to your hair. Your natural hair is cornrowed underneath the extensions. The extensions are then crocheted through the cornrows to create a natural looking style. If you like the look of your natural hair but want to protect your real hair, crochet braids are the solution. Your hairline and ends are the most delicate parts of your natural hair and crochet braids alleviate the stress that daily manipulation can cause. My personal favorite, crochet braids don’t require a professional stylists as they are quite easy to install and remove. They can last from 4-6 weeks when cared for properly.
Wigs have been around, seemingly, since the beginning of time. Even the ancient Egyptians wore beautiful, extravagant wigs. Fast forward to today and wigs have evolved from the stiff options from decades ago. Wigs are a great protective style option for several reasons. For starters, your natural hair is totally protected underneath. You can cornrow your natural hair and tuck under the ends with bobby pins. Once your natural hair is braided, you can either slip a wig on and secure it with bobby pins or you can have the wig professionally installed and glued down. For protective styling purposes, gluing down your wigs might have adverse effects as the glue can thin your hairline as opposed to helping it grow. Securing your wig with pins is better for your natural hair and allows you to change your style as often as you want.