If you are new to this natural game you might hear a few terms thrown around freely, some of them sounding the same with minute differences that lead to confusion.
Protective styling and low manipulation styling are two of those terms. They are distinctly different but they have similarities as well as the same goals.
Let us start with why you would do either one in the first place. At the end of the day, we are all striving for two things, preservation of our growth and healthy hair. When we refer to hair growth one of the things we often forget is that a healthy human being will always have hair growth.
Our hair never ever stops growing but many of us have an issue with retaining the length that we get. Growth rates regardless of whether it be fast or slow does not determine how much hair remains on your head. What determines the length of your hair is healthy hair and scalp care as well as protecting the ends of the hair.
Women often choose either protective styling or low manipulation styling in order to preserve the length of their hair, but what is the difference between the two?
Protective styles are styles that completely cover your hair in its entirety, root to tip. These styles include box braids, weave* preferably without leave out, crochet styles or any style that does not leave your hair length out and ends out.
Protective styles can be short term or long term, however, long term should not be beyond 8 weeks because then your efforts become counter protective.
The benefit of protective styles includes prevention of breakage that comes with manipulating your hair every day, preservation of hair length and healthier hair at the end of the day.
What are low manipulation styles
Low manipulation styles require that you do not manipulate your hair but you still have the length and ends of your hair out.
You ends are not tucked away but you are not twisting, combing, braiding your hair every night for it to be presentable the next day.
This can be anything from a updo to a wash and go because once you do the style you do not maintain it every day you just cover at night and fluff or clean up your edges in the morning.
The key to a great low manipulation style, especially the ones that have your hair out is maintaining the definition you had on the first day of your wash and style.
You need to find the perfect combination of products to achieve the style you choose as well as a simple technique to protect your hair for the next day.
Examples of low manipulation styles include mini twists, twist outs, braid outs, and wash and go’s that do not need any manipulation throughout the week.
What makes protective styles and low manipulation styles similar?
It all comes down to the benefits of both methods, each method leads to healthier and longer hair because you are not manipulating your hair whether the hair is covered or uncovered.
How do you know which method is best for you?
Some women will put some braids in or a weave* in without batting and eye, but there are others of us, myself included, who either just prefer to have our hair out or just do not have access to protective styling options based on our lifestyle.
The key to either one is leaving your hair alone once your style is in, there is some maintenance and that is common sense, this includes moisturizing your hair in the protective style, covering your hair at night and removing the style when it is time to do so.
Comment below and let us know what is your favorite method for growing out your hair, low manipulation styles or protective styles?