Low Manipulation Vs Protective Styles – What Is The Difference And Which Is Better?

Honestly there was a time I thought low manipulation styling was the same as protective styling and to make a distinction between the two was just another way for us to have something to argue about.

Well get those boxing gloves off because even though both styles have very similar goals and many women use these terms interchangeably, there are very distinct differences between the two.

In the interest of providing a simple definition, a protective style is considered a long term style that does not have to be redone regularly.

For example weaves, cornrows, braids and twists with or without extensions would be considered to be protective styles.

On the other hand a low manipulation style can be worn with minimum manipulation and styling maintenance throughout the week.

Types of low manipulation styles include buns, updos, twist outs, braid outs and even wash and go’s.


Of course a low manipulation style can be turned into a protective style by just deciding not to redo it. I have known women to retain moisture in their hair by damp bunning and forgetting about it for 3 weeks at a time before washing and restyling.

In that instance, even though the hair has not had the benefit of moisturization or weekly deep conditioning sessions, the ends have remained tucked away from the elements so have not lost too much moisture.

What Low Manipulation Styling And Protective Styling Have In Common

They both help to retain length

One of the major brownie points of either styling method is length retention. Whether your hair is natural or relaxed if your goal is length then one sure fire way to achieve it is to protect your hair at all costs.

Low manipulation helps with retention because you are not constantly using brushes, combs and other tools to maintain your hair daily. Additionally in some cases your hair is removed totally from your shoulders and back to protect it from constantly rubbing on the fabric of your clothes which can lead to breakage.

Length retention with protective styling is a no-brainer really. Your hair is not being manipulated with combs or any other tools over a longer period of time ranging from 3-8 weeks which allows you to retain all the length gained in that period.

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About Petra


Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . 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 BlackHairInformation.com . 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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T-anne FalSoraya MillerSaprila McleanAshley BlueAudria Recent comment authors
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Audria
Audria

So Ive decided to wear two strand twists as my protective styling for 2015. However, I usually group my twists and re twist and put it in a chiney bum (bantu knot) to achieve curls without pulling out the twists. Is that considered too much manipulation?

Ashley Blue

Protective styles don’t protect your hair from anything. It’s just a style that allows u to wake up and go.

Saprila Mclean

Low manip from now on

Soraya Miller

Protective styles doesn’t mean don’t tend to your hair because its tucked. You still need to moisturize and massage your scalp and keep the scalp clean.

T-anne Fal

Ive tried all but fail massively….so i dont even bother to style i jus wash n go. I try not to comb my hair but wash, protein treatments n deep conditioning and thats all i do now. Just waiting to see if its makes any difference in couple of months.