Can Straight Hair Be Considered A Protective Style?

Natural black blown out hair in a ponytailRocking your hair straight in the winter is for some a no brainer, often you will hear naturals say things like ‘Thank goodness for the cooler months, I can rock my hair straight again and give myself and my hair a break’.

This statement is interesting because the insinuation is that having your hair straight can almost be considered a protective style in the sense that you get a break from over manipulation. So can straight hair be considered protective?

Here are 5 reasons why I think that rocking straight hair can be considered a protective style.

1. Straight hair means less manipulation – The straighter the hair, the less likely you will be twisting twirling, or manipulating it into place because your hair is already set for the next week or so. Straight hair comes with some effort but not too much effort where you find your hands in your hair all the time. As a matter of fact wearing straight hair can be a little boring because other than keeping it moisturized there is not much else you need to do to maintain it. This boredom may be just what the doctor ordered in some cases where women just need a break!

2. Elimination of single strand knots – Straight hair has its advantages when it comes to eliminating single strand knots and splits for a while. While the hair is straight many naturals take the opportunity to get a fresh trim allowing the ends to look and remain healthy. Single strand knots come with the territory of curly hair, but with straight styles, that situation is all but eliminated

3. Straight hair is easier to maintain – along with the low manipulation, maintenance is super easy too. Moisturize, wrap, cover at night; its that simple. The point of any protective style is the ease of maintenance, so why not throw it into this category?

4. Straight hair tangles less – We tend to lose a lot of hair due to shedding and tangles especially with traditional protective styles, when it is time to take down the hair, whether it be box braids, a sew in or a natural bun the set-backs we hear about almost always tend to come from excessive tangling due to shed hair mixed in with un-shed hair. A great flat iron almost always guarantees less tangles and the freedom for your hair to shed without getting stuck.

5. Straight hair requires fewer products – This is the same across the board with most protective styles and with straight looks there is little to no difference, a little oil and moisture is all you will need to keep the hair intact and free of excessive product.

The number one reason for not using straight hair as a protective style would be the risk of heat damage and the temptation to maintain the sleekness of the first day of the style by adding more heat to the hair daily.

Heat damage means that your natural curl pattern is forever altered due to the damaging effects of a flat iron or other heating tools. Despite this fact however, if heat styling is done safely can we conclude that it is as great a protective style just like braids, twists or other traditional forms of protective styling.  Weigh in!

Originally posted 2012-09-30 19:00:46.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  1. Malakah Angellia Gladston
    Malakah Angellia Gladston

    Straight hair a protective style? I thought a protective style is when u “tuck” away the hair for an extended period, without having to manipulate it. Eg.. braids, weave, wigs etc?? Am I missing something?

    1. Ashley

      Nope, your not missing anything. Its just two different views that work for some and not for others. For instance im starting to keep my hair straight and ive notice I have no shedding and no tangles, and I keep it in a bun and my ends tucked away while I’m at home and sometimes when I’m out. But more importantly It makes my life easier when wearing wigs. I love to wear wigs. I just put my hair in two braids,put my wig cap on, and throw my wig on. I dont have to go through the hassle of separating my hair into multiple sections detangling and pulling hair out and my wig cap still doesnt fit as flat. My hair feels more moisturize and never dry when its straight vs when my hair is curly so I dont feel the need to wet it and wash it all the time and my scalp doesnt itch or get dry as fast. Just less manipulation. Some people this may work for and some may not but I get less shedding, get to wear my wigs longer, and have more retention.

  2. Paegan Vernon
    Paegan Vernon

    Yea, I straighten mine to reduce tangling and breakage. I do 1 blowout for the week. I wash my hair every 5-7days, no exceptions, along wit a good deep conditioner and little heat protectant. My hair at my lower back.

  3. Jamie Lee
    Jamie Lee

    I think if done PROPERLY it could be a protective style. I have a natural friend who keeps her hair straighten 80% of the time but done professionally and she has long hair. Plus naptral85′ mahoganycurlsand others have ways to straight hair without using heat. It’s not the bone bone straight but its satisfyingly straight.

  4. Kayla Marie Camille
    Kayla Marie Camille

    straight hair can be protective depending on ur hair type, the hair style used and the products. i use this method all the time, using silicones which can cause build up in the hair, so i also use a chelating shampoo every two weeks which is great not only for removing silicone build up but all product build up which is what causes breakage and hair that is limp !!

  5. Melanie Bowen
    Melanie Bowen

    I consider it a low manipulation style. My hair stays straight for 1 week without using additional heat and i wrap it at night. My flat iron has substantially helped my hair retain moisture this winter. My curls + the winter = extremely dry hair

  6. Maria Cee
    Maria Cee

    Hair has to be clean. Apply a hair heat protectant spray or serum 1hr before flat ironing to ensure its work it way all over the strands.

  7. Shawnnita Larkins
    Shawnnita Larkins

    Yes….it is for me because when my hair is straight i can maintain it for 10-14days where as if it was in its normal state i have to restyle every 4-7days which causes more manipulation…. it all depends on your styling preferences.

  8. Vicki Steverson
    Vicki Steverson

    I have always been natural, jumping from kinky to hot comb. My hair has grown both ways, with no difference.

  9. Joeneyce Cunningham
    Joeneyce Cunningham

    Not everyone uses heat to straighten their hair and some heat (not excessive amounts) isn’t bad. If you’re worried about heat, don’t walk in the sun….Ever! -_-

  10. Staci Renee
    Staci Renee

    I would say no for me because when I straightened my hair, It took forever to get my curl back and its still not the same as it was before

  11. Christina Hayes
    Christina Hayes

    I briefly blow dry my Afro in order to either French braid it or put it in a bun. Otherwise, it doesn’t lay right for an up do

  12. JazzWife

    The original definition of protective style has been co-opted as a war to justify the styling choices people are making. I would not call heat straightening the hair protective styling at all but I would acknowledge the actual styling by which the ends are protected protective.

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