Protective styling has been key to seeing growth in my natural hair journey. However, protective styling only works when done well and what works well are the following techniques:
Styles should not be too tight
Some people when they braid or cornrow their hair insist on the style being tight believing that this is the only way the style will last long.
The fact is you only have to make sure the braids are planted firmly but not too tight, tightening the style might result in losing the hair line.
When styling your protective style, make sure you do not pull it too tight otherwise this creates tension on the hair line and leads to hair loss.
Do not keep the protective style in for a long time
I have seen naturals keep braids in for 3 months or more which is way too long for any protective style. The maximum time should be 6-8 weeks and 8 weeks is pushin it.
Keeping a style in beyond 8 weeks is counterproductive because if hair is left braided or rather in a protective style for a long time it will start locking. This just means that when you do eventually take out the protective style you will lose a lot of hair when detangling.
In my own experience there was a time in my early natural hair journey when I was busy with my studies, work and family commitments. I had no time to experiment and figure out what works for my hair, and I did kinky* twists 3 times in 3 months but I wasn’t detangling properly in between. When I finally took the kinky* twists out I had lost a lot of hair because my hair had locked.
Always moisturize your hair
Moisture should be maintained during the period of protective styling. My daughter regularly washes her box braids with water only in the shower, especially in Summer, and then seals with an oil. This has worked well for her in keeping her hair moisturized for the alotted time she wears the style.
How effective has your protective styling regimen been for you?