If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you may have noticed that I mention protective styling quite a bit. I swear by protective styling because it has helped me retain length this year and surpass my BSL(Bra-Strap Length) goal. For the past year, I have stopped wearing my hair in its shrunken afro state and opted to keep my hair stretched. (Stretched hair=Detangled hair) However, this should not be confused with straight hair, which is accomplished by the use of heat and styling tools. I achieve stretched hair by way of twists, bantu knots and braiding.
In an earlier post, I gave the equation: Protective Styling=Less Manipulation=Length Retention=LONGER HAIR! Let me break it down for you. When your hair is in a protective style (such as my personal favourite TWISTS), your fragile ends are guarded, and you avoid breakage caused when styling due to manipulation. They are called protective styled because they require little or no daily manipulation or styling. The less you have to mess with your hair, the less breakage, which means longer hair because you are leaving your hair alone!
Protective styles can vary from buns, twists, and braids- basically any style that allows you to preserve your ends by tucking them away. The point of a protective style is to lower or completely eradicate daily manipulation so try to keep your hands out of your hair as much as possible (except to add much needed moisture!)
Protective styling has definitely worked for me and I’d recommend it to anyone trying to retain length and grow longer hair. I’ve been actively protective styling for over a year now and I’m seeing results *shrieks in excitement*
My Protective Styling Regimen:
Step 1: Shampoo (sulfate free) and condition hair. Use an apple cider vinegar rinse to clarify the scalp (this also helps with dandruff).
Step 2: Deep condition hair. This is so crucial, especially after a shampoo because it restores all the moisture stripped from your hair during the wash. For more about deep conditioning click here.
Step 3: Add leave in conditioner, oils and seal all that moisture with shea butter. Be extra generous on your ends. Twist/braid hair into large sections and let it air dry.
Step 4: Once your hair has dried and stretched, twist your hair. I prefer medium to large twists because they are easier to install, and take out.
I keep my twists in for about three weeks at a time, which allows me to avoid manipulation for three weeks out of the month. For the last week of the month, I take down my twists and allow my scalp to breathe and have a break before re-twisting.
NB: For protective styling to work you have to remember to MOISTURIZE! Just because your hair is up and out of the way, does not mean you should neglect it. I moisturize it using this technique weekly or bi-weekly depending on how dry it feels. If you fail to do this all your protective styling efforts may be in vain because your hair may break during the takedown process.
If you have any protective styling queries, or hair queries in general, don’t hesitate to comment below. Till next time lovelies.
Happy Nappy Hair,