In this post, I refer to protective styling as a general term for hairstyles that require the ends of the hair to be hidden from view. For example, wigs/box braids/weaves/kinky twists. However, the proper definition for protective styling is “a comprehensive strategy for hair protection. It is a series of deliberate actions that, committed to habit and taken all together, reduce breakage and stress upon textured hair fibers.” Audrey Davis-Sivasothy The Science of Black Hair. 

Protective styling benefits are as follows:

1. Detangling time– Most naturals like me have this at the top of their list because sometimes, creating time to finger detangle natural hair can be work, especially if you are constantly on the move. Keeping your hair in a protective style now and then gives the much-needed extra time that you would have spent detangling.

2. Styling– I literally take less than 2 minutes to style my hair when it’s in a protective style. Since my natural hair is already ‘in a style’, only a few adjustments need to be made to make a particular look different as can be seen here.

3. Versatility– Natural hair is versatile on its own but protective styles can allow flexibility in terms of length, colour and curl pattern variations. For instance, a lady with a TWA can easily rock waist length braids, 22-inch weaves or wigs any day, anytime. One could also try on wigs or weaves in different colours without thinking about damage to the hair cuticle.

4, Length Retention- While your hair is under a protective style, you finally leave it to grow without interruption. Protective styles help you keep your hands out of your hair, reducing the amount of breakage that would have occurred otherwise hence, retaining more length.

Please note: As good as protective styling sounds, It could also damage your hair if left in for too long and/or if your natural hair is left uncared for underneath.