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'Tis The Season For Protective Styling


Protective styles simply put, are styles that "protect" the hair from damage. They are usually styles allow the ends of your hair to be tucked away. And since Winter is non-forgiving to our hair, with the harsh winds that can be really drying, making it brittle/damaged. Protective styling tends to be the best route to take when it comes to protecting your strands and retaining length and moisture.


I remember whenever my parents would send my sister and I away to see our Grandparents for the Winter (even summer) we would get some type of braid style. Even though my aunt would put braids in our hair because she knew our Grandmother wouldn't do it everyday, I'm sure she had no intentions of these styles actually being "protective" styles. Box braids were a favorite. My aunt used to put rubber bands at the root of each box braid because she didn't have a good grip and wanted them to last a while, um NO THANK YOU!

There are tons of protective styles from twist, to faux locs, head wraps to hats, but the winner in my book always goes to BRAIDS.


A little History about Braids:

Hair braiding has such a long history that dates back at least 5,000 years. For instance, in Africa hair braiding can be traced back as far as 3500 B.C.  There it was a social event among women. In Africa, braiding is still a chance to socialize, and there are some particular styles that are specific to your social standing in the community. Furthermore, hair braiding can also serve a cultural function. For example, among the Hopi tribe, only married women can wear their hair braided. Today, braiding your hair is mostly for style, rather than anything else.


I have worn so many different styles of braids throughout my life, and although I am loc'ing my hair at the moment I am continuously inspired by so many of the new/creative styles that I see worn. A braid trend that I see resurfacing now is the cornrows, or what some people are culturally appropriating as "Boxer Braids". Read Ivy Coco's blog post on why Her Cornrows Are NOT "Boxer Braids".

Cornrows are one of the most low maintenance style of braids  that you can come across, because the hair is formed in simple, straight rows, like a cornfield grows. Hence the name, "cornrows".


Although this style is simple, and super low maintenance, you still MUST take care of your hair (the same goes with any other protective style). Braid care starts before you actually put braids in. The day before, wash and deep condition your hair so that it's at its best before you braid your hair. The following tips will help you out while you are protective styling with braids this Winter (or anytime!)

Tips on taking care of hair in braids or cornrows:

  1. EDGES:
    • You MUST take care of the edges ladies and gentlemen! For the first seven days after you've put the braids in you need to ensure that the edges that were more than likely pulled tightly are always moisturized. Braids pulling too tight on the edges can cause hair loss also known as "traction alopecia".
    • Applying oil to your scalp and edges at least twice a day can make a huge difference in how long your braids last. Also it will help if you have a sensitive scalp and your hair tends to breakout in little bumps. One of my absolute favorite oils to use on my hair when I am protective styling is The Mane Choice'sMulti-Vitamin Scalp Nourishing Growth Oil. The applicator bottle that this oil comes in has a pointed tip, making it super easy and QUICK for me to oil my scalp with any protective style.
    • Some people think that just because their hair is braided, there is no need for water to even touch the hair until the braids are out. Braiding doesn’t eliminate the need to wash your hair. You should wash your hair here & there when you have braids. Not everyday, but if you plan on wearing your braids for like 6-8 weeks, I would at least wash my hair 3-4 times during that period.
      • Get two applicator bottles with pointed tips, the pointed tip makes it easy to reach the hair and scalp.
      • Dilute the shampoo in one applicator bottle and the conditioner in the other; diluting the products ensures that they are easily rinsed out. (do the same to condition your hair!)
    • Try to keep your braids moisturized as you would your actual loose natural hair. it is important that not only the scalp is taken care of, but your actual strands.
      • In a spray bottle I mix…
        1. 1 part distilled water
        2. 1 part aloe vera juice
        3. a few drops of tea tree oil (for scalp)
        4. a teaspoon of The Mane Choice'sLeave-In conditioner (any leave-in will do)
        5. Shake up all ingredients and spray on hair daily or whenever you feel an itch!

What are some of your favorite protective styles? Leave a comment below!