By now we all know the ins and outs of protective styling. Throw in some braids, twists, wigs—whatever you want—and watch the hair flourish, right? Well, kinda. Would you believe me if I told you that after all this time, there are still some things we’re getting wrong about protective styling? It’s true, unfortunately.
From how long we should wear them to what styles actually protect your hair, there are still some protective style myths floating around that need to be debunked, and as soon as possible! Whether you’re relaxed, natural, or somewhere in-between, your hair needs protection and it needs it the right way.
So let’s get down to the truth of these 3 super common protective style myths that are actually causing you some major hair loss instead of growth and length retention.
“You can wear them for as long as you want as long as you do touch ups.”
At most, you’re supposed to rock your look for 6 to 8 weeks. Keep in mind that no matter how low manipulation a style is, your hair being twisted and contorted in any way will ultimately create tension in certain areas after a while.
This is especially true when extensions like braid hair or clip ins are added into the mix. If you see more buildup than usual, feel consistent pulling or tugging, or experience excessive itching or burning, it’s likely time to take the look down.
In short, make sure that you’re taking your protective styles down at the right time to avoid unwanted breakage and hair loss.
“Not touching your hair is the best thing you could do.”
Not touching your hair is a rule that’s a nod to low manipulation styling, where the main goal of this method is to manipulate your hair as little as possible. While this does apply to protective styling, some of us tend to touch our hair so little that it ends up in neglect.
This means that you may not wash your hair as much as you should or fail to moisturize and oil down your roots and scalp while your hair is styled. This is a huge mistake! Wearing a protective style doesn’t mean you just stop caring for your hair.
Depending on how you’re wearing your hair, you need to stick with your regular routine throughout your protective style. Or at the very least, develop a basic routine or regimen that’ll allow you to care for your hair.
“Wearing your hair in a protective style all the time is ok!”
Let’s be clear, it’s totally okay to wear your hair in a protective style back to back. The issue with this as that you shouldn’t be wearing them back to back if you haven’t yet grasped how to take care of your hair when you’re in-between looks.
What’s the use of wearing wigs if you’re not going to properly moisturize and seal regularly, or get a nice, healthy trim every few months? Or why even get a set of braids after your faux locs if both styles are going to be highly manipulated and tight as hell?
My good sis, wear those protective styles back to back all you want but ask yourself one question: is this really protecting my hair or is it just stopping me from caring for it? The answer to that question will help you determine if you should be doubling down on the protective looks every few months.