I think that next to moisturizing, we can all safely say that protective styling is one of the golden rules in the healthy hair care world.
With exceptions, there are many women who credit protective styling, especially long term protective styling, with retaining length.
But with many things there are pros and cons, and long term protective styling is no exception. Below are the pros and cons of long term protective styling. Do you want to learn more? Keep reading!
1. Pro: You can retain more length
So before most of us knew about the ins and outs of hair care, remember when we said this line after we’ve taken out our box braids: ” Lawd, those braids make my hair grow like weeds!”.
Back then, many of us associated braids,weaves, and wigs* with growth instead of retention because usually the two terms were used synonymously with each other. Today, things are a bit different and many of us know exactly what the term retention is and how it differs from growth.
With that said, you can have great retention with long term protective styles and it is usually a great surprise to see the length that is retained once you remove your protective style. Retention is achieved because you aren’t manipulating your hair and with less manipulations comes more retention. On the other hand your hair is always growing!
2. Con: It is possible to lose length if you leave a protective style in for too long
Have you guys ever had a set back from a long term protective style that you’ve tried? I know that I have, especially when I have left braids in my hair past its due date.
It is so easy to leave in a protective style for a long period of time, especially for those of us who have busy lives. It is just so darn convenient. But just try to remember, that long term protective style does not equal forever. Leaving a protective style in your hair for too long can possibly cause matting, breakage, splits, and tangles.
A good rule of thumb is to have a protective style for no more than 4-8 weeks. This, however can also depend on the protective style that is being worn. For example, braids with you own hair can last for about 4 weeks while braids with extensions* can be worn for 8 weeks.
3. Pro: You can get a much needed break
Long term protective styles are a great way to take a break from doing your natural hair on a constant basis. Learning our natural hair can be a process; as a matter of fact learning anything that is different from what we are used to can be challenging in some aspects and it can get frustrating.
Sometimes just walking away for a bit helps us to regroup and take care of our hair even better than we did before. A break is sometimes just the answer your need.
4. Con: You won’t fully know what does and doesn’t work for your hair
Now, there some ladies who start off hiding their hair very early in their healthy hair care journey. They would faithfully redo their braids, weaves, or cornrow protective style faithfully every 8 weeks.
This is a great way to protect your hair and retain length. However, it can also be detrimental because you would not be able to learn and experiment with your hair.
One of the most important parts of your hair journey is learning your hair. Once you have learned your hair, your journey will take off.
All in all it is perfectly fine to long term protective style when you know your hair. But in the beginning of your journey, try to learn your hair as much as possible and use long term protective styling as needed.
5. Pro: You highly reduce mechanical damage
Have you noticed damage with your hair recently but have no idea why it is occurring? You deep condition and detangle gently but there is still damage, what gives?
Well if you are a brush or comb user, this may be the cause of it. If you use brushes and combs, you may be causing invisible damage. What many of us may not know is that brushes and combs may be causing more damage to our hair than we think. But, wearing your hair in a long term protective style can reduce this.
With a long term protective style, there is no need for combs or brushes and with braids and twists, why would you need one? With long term protective styles, you are able to highly reduce the use of damage causing hair tools.
6. Con: It can feel as if you aren’t enjoying your hair.
The biggest complaint that many women have when it comes to long term protective styling over a period of time is that they began to not enjoy their hair as much.
If you are someone who prefers a easy going, minimal effort hair style then long term protective styling is a dream. However, if you are a lady who loves to switch it up on a daily, then you can quickly become bored with rocking a wig* or senegalese twists.
At the end of the day it is all about your personal preference however knowing the pros and cons does help to make your final decision a bit easier.