Protective Hair Styles & How to Make Them Last
Our hair is an extension of who we are and it’s important that we treat it with love and respect. So while it can be fun to experiment with bleach and permanent color, or try out new styles created using hot tools, if your hair is looking a little worse for wear it’s time to try out some protective hair styles instead.
What Is Protective Styling?
Protective hair styles are ones that require low manipulation and keep the ends of the hair tucked away. They’re hairstyles that don’t require constant restyling, and can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. The goal is to give the hair a rest from everyday styling, including a break from hot tools that can damage the ends. Putting your hair up in a protective style can even promote healing and hair growth as well. Plus, the ritual of applying protective style products such as oils can be a fabulously relaxing and satisfying way to indulge in a little self-care!
There are a wide variety of protective hair styles you can choose from. Options abound for every type of hair, including natural hair, thin hair, thick hair, dyed hair, damaged hair, and so on. Your hair doesn’t need to look boring and you aren’t limited to just one or two different styles. There are buns, up-dos, braids, cornrows, wigs and so many more options! But whichever one you choose, it’s important to prep your hair the right way in order to get the most from your protective style.
Hair Prep For Protective Styling
Taking the proper steps to ensure your hair is in top condition is key to keeping the hair healthy while it’s tucked away for a long time. Always do a protective style for natural hair after washing – shampoo, condition and moisturize to maximize the quality of your hair. Even better if you use a deep conditioner to keep hair soft and easy to detangle and style.
For longer-lasting protective hair styles, make sure you also get a trim beforehand to get rid of any dead split ends. The trim will promote hair growth and minimize breakage.
Protective Hair Styles For Natural Hair
When you’re finally ready for your protective hairstyle, choosing the right one for you can make all the difference. A good option for natural hair is box braids, which is one of the best protective styles for thin natural hair in particular (oh, and one of the best protective styles for short natural hair too). This hairstyle is very versatile and is far from boring. It can last for a long time and is very easy to maintain. You can add colors, ribbons, and colorful threads to this style and change it up a bit for different occasions.
Another of the most popular protective braid styles for relaxed hair or natural hair is Fulani braids. What makes this style so wonderful is that you have so many styling and parting options to choose from. To take it to the next level you can add beads or other accessories to the ends of the braids, which do an amazing job of defining your style.
Yet another cool protective hairstyle is faux locs. You can experiment with different colors, textures and curl patterns to give yourself a twist on the classic makeover. A halo braid is also a gorgeous way to style your hair for a night out – it’s classy and you can style it with cuffs, pins, or jewels for a more glamorous look. And then there are flat twist protective styles for natural hair, which look similar to cornrows but are much easier to do (although they’ll only last a week or so). Oh, and if you’re specifically looking for protective styles for short hair, don’t forget about Bantu knots!
If you have a sensitive scalp and can’t sit through the tension of most protective hair styles, a faux braid ponytail is perfect for you. All you have to do is put your hair in a bun, attach the braid, and voilà you’re good to go! It looks super chic without all the effort, and your hair is still tucked away and protected.
What about protective styles for natural hair at night? One of the simplest yet best things you can do is to wear a silk or satin head wrap or bonnet – it really helps to reduce friction-induced damage!
Protective Styles For Other Hair Types
When it comes to the protective styles for white hair, Asian hair, or any other naturally straight/wavy hair, the best ones would have to be buns, braids, French rolls and twists, or another tucked-away style. In fact, these all work as great protective styles for curly hair too.
A French roll or twist is an elegant style that keeps your ends tucked away and protected. It’s quick and easy and will never go out of style. With a bun, it doesn’t have to be plain or boring. You can keep it looking classy with a low bun or high fashion with a top bun, and add accessories to make a fashion statement. In fact, you can keep the integrity of any of these styles and still get creative with them, for example by swapping basic braids for reverse French braids, mermaid braids, and much more.
Making It Last
Once you have your protective style in place, it’s very important to take care of it properly. To keep your hair’s integrity and keep it hydrated, you will need the right protective style hair products, and you have to know how to protect it at night. Wrapping your hair with a head scarf before you go to bed and/or using a silk pillowcase will keep your hair frizz-free and help to maintain moisture. You will have to add some product each morning to keep your scalp hydrated and the hair moisturized as well.
Protective Hair Styles Aren’t The Only Way To Healthier Hair
Now, if you don’t want to go through the process of wearing a protective style but still want to promote hair growth, you can choose a haircut that requires less manipulation (so there’s less opportunity for breakage), ensure you are regularly using anti-humidity products or gels, and consider adding supplements to your diet that specifically target hair health.
Keeping your hair in a detangled state is key however, and you can do this by regularly using a deep conditioner or conditioning mask. This will help avoid damage and knots in your hair and also keep the ends of the hair moisturized. Keeping the tips oiled will also reduce the formation of split ends. You can use heat but use it SPARINGLY. Heat is one of the main causes of hair damage and you don’t want to overdo it because it will cause breakage.
So there you have it! There are many options out there that will keep your hair protected, promote growth, and keep you looking stylish in the New Year. It’s the perfect time to try something new that will also promote healthy hair habits. The hardest part now is choosing the cutest style! Keeping your hair protected and healthy is definitely a New Year’s resolution you’ll actually want to stick to.