Protective Natural Hair Styles
Do I have to wear protective natural hair styles to grow long hair? This is a question I get frequently from ladies with natural and relaxed hair alike. I don’t think protective styling is necessary but it can definitely help you reach your hair length goals quicker.
What is a protective style? I have heard different opinions on this. For the most part most people who are “into” hair care would agree that a protective style is one where the ends are not rubbing up against clothes. Some take it a step further and say it is a style where the ends of the hair are not exposed at all. On this site I will refer to styles where the ends are not exposed as protective styles (i.e. bun); styles that have the ends rather exposed but still help to minimize friction and breakage I consider semi-protective styles (i.e. twists that hang).
How do protective styles help growth? Protective styles do not help your hair grow faster. With proper care however, protective natural hair styles will help minimize breakage allowing you to retain length faster. I found that when I primarily wore protective styles I rarely had to trim my hair, I saw little breakage, and I reached my goals quicker. Protective styling alone did not grow my hair but it did assist me in reaching my goals.
Do I have to wear protective styles all the time? Of course not! Balance is key. While growing my hair out I wore protective styles during the work week, Monday-Friday, then I usually let my hair loose for the weekends and special occasions. Now that I have reached my hair goals I am less strict about this routine but I still wear my hair in protective styles quite frequently.
Protective styles will get boring won’t they? Personally I like protective styles because I wear styles that allow me to go several days without having to comb my hair. I have a busy schedule so this works well for me. You can make your styles as simple or fun as you want. Just remember the key is to keep the ends protected.
Here is a simple protective style that I do with my natural hair