When our hair is in a protective style, it's all too easy to abandon our normal hair care routine. We should be careful not to lock our hair away in what we like to call a "long-term" protective style, then throw away the key. It's not bad for you to wear your protective styles for a long period. What matters is what you do to your hair during that time. Protective styles are not an excuse to neglect your hair regimen. Otherwise, you'd end up losing rather than retaining any length.
Before we delve into how to care for your hair in a protective style, let's first define what a protective style is.
What is a Protective Style?
There are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes a protective style. As a general rule, a hairstyle is protective if it
- is a low-manipulation style
- is not tight
- doesn't tug at the edges or roots
- keeps your ends protected
- allows room for moisturizing
Twists are a good example of a protective style. It ticks all the boxes. You should also note that how a style is installed could determine whether or not it is protective. An obvious protective style, if wrongly installed, could be damaging rather than protective, and vice-versa. For instance, cornrows may seem to tug at the edges and could easily be ruled out as protective styles. However, if it's plaited in a way that doesn't put tension on the edges, then it counts as a protective style.
How to Care For Your Protective Styles
1. Moisturise your hair
Even if your hair is hidden within the braids of hair extensions, it's still your hair and needs all the moisture and nutrients it can get. Keep up with your moisturising routine ! A sprinkle of water a day keeps the dryness away. Get the all-in-one Mane Bliss Moisture Set for intense moisture treatment. Always apply a sealing oil to lock in the moisture. For best results, we recommend the Mane Bliss Sealing Hair Oil.
2. Cleanse your scalp
You can wash your hair and scalp even while wearing a protective style. If you added hair extensions, its important to dry your hair thoroughly after washing to avoid any mildew growing on your hair and scalp (nasty, we know). Wrap your hair in a microfibre towel to soak up excess water, and following that you can either air dry or use a dryer (keep an eye on that temperature).
3. Wear a satin/silk head covering
Wearing a satin/silk bonnet before bed protects your hair against the friction between your pillow fabric and your hair. Pillowcases are often made from cotton which tends to absorb moisture from the hair. Silk, a less absorbent material, prevents your hair from losing moisture to the cotton fabric.
There is nothing wrong with throwing your hair in a protective style for winter, or if your looking for something which is a little more low maintenance. However low maintenance does not mean no maintenance.