Protective styling is one of the many important factors when it comes to keeping your hair healthy and avoiding unnecessary damage-but sometimes our favorite hairstyles and looks do the exact opposite of protecting our beautiful curls and coils. Other times, we think we’re using protective styles but something in our regimen is working against us.
Protecting your hair from strain and breakage doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite hairstyles, but it does mean you have to change your routine. Here are 3 ways you may be stopping your protective style from doing it’s job.
Hairstyle is too tight
Frequently wearing tight ponytails, buns, braids, bands, and scarves can easily cause friction that results in breakage and irreparable hair loss. You don’t have to ditch your current hair style, but you should definitely loosen up your braids, weaves, and hair ties* to avoid hair damage.
If you wear scarves and head bands often, make sure they are sturdy enough to stay on throughout the day, but loose enough to be easily taken off when you’re ready.
Some signs that your hairstyle is too tight are: headaches, a pulling sensation, itching, hair loss and shedding, and deep imprints/lines from hair bands and ties.
Ignoring Your Ends
What part of your hair is the oldest, driest, and most fragile? The ends!
If you don’t properly take care of the ends of your hair, it will cause breakage, splitting, and will ultimately force you to get that much needed trim we all love to avoid so much.
Always moisturize the ends of your hair with water-or a water based product, and follow up with an oil sealant like jojoba or castor oil*.
Also, placing a shower cap* or “baggy” over your ends for a few hours or overnight can provide extra moisture if needed.
When styling, make sure you take down your hair properly and gently de-tangle or comb through to avoid pulling or ripping the ends of your hair.
Your Hair Products Are Ineffective
I loved to wear hair gel because it seemed to be the only thing that kept my curls in place. However, a lot of hair gel is made with alcohol and PVP (Polyvinylpyrrolidone) which caused my hair to become hard, flaky, and dry.
I didn’t notice the effects of the hair gel until my hair started breaking off and losing moisture like crazy. I wore my hair in protective styles but the products I used were counterproductive because they did everything BUT protect my hair.
Now I was on the search for something with moisturizing properties as well as maximum hold; I figured that I needed to stay away from mineral oil*, petroleum jelly*, alcohol, and PVP while I was at it. I found EcoStyler* Olive Oil* Styling Gel and Miss Jessie’s Original Curl Meringue among some of the best products for ethnic hair.
Although I bought some great products, the real important thing was that I learned not to use things that worked against my protective style and general hair health.