This topic is one I hear and read about a lot: can you grow long hair without protective styling?? In my opinion the short answer is yes, and the long answer is yes but proceed with caution.
If you’ve ever talked to any naturals with long hair or you’ve watched a hair video/read a blog, you will know that protective styling is touted as one of the major helpers when it comes to growing long hair – or rather, retaining length.
I’ve often found protective styling WHEN DONE THE RIGHT WAY to be extremely helpful when it comes to retaining length – when I was transitioning, I constantly did protective styles, which helped me get through that super awkward stage.
Protective styling protects your hair from the elements and mechanical damage as well as making your life a bit easier for the days/weeks when you’re rocking the style. So it can definitely help you retain length if you keep your hair moisturised whilst protective styling.
If you take care of your hair properly, you don’t actually NEED protective styles to grow out your hair.
However, if you take care of your hair properly, you don’t actually NEED protective styles to grow out your hair. After I cut off my relaxed ends, I constantly wore my hair out but I took excellent care of it and I retained an insane amount of length in just a few months.
The real secret to retaining length without protective styling is keeping those ends moisturised and sealed, particularly if your hair hits your shoulders. As most of you know, your ends are the oldest parts of your hair so they’re the most fragile parts.
To preserve those ends, I focus my deep conditioner on the ends of my hair and, when I can be bothered to steam my hair, I loosely pin my hair on top of my head so the endss get the most steam. Also, when I choose to wear my hair out, I always add more product to the ends and I seal with a thicker oil such as Jamaican black castor oil or shea butter.
The reason I say ‘proceed with caution’ is that the constant touching and moving of the strands when the hair is out means the hair is more prone to breakage and damage. Aside from that, wearing your hair out is likely to lead to more tangles, split ends and knots, some of which may have to be cut out or may end up breaking off.
The real secret to retaining length without protective styling is keeping those ends moisturised and sealed…
I’ve found this to be the case amongst type 4 kinky naturals rather than type 3 curly naturals. I’m one of those people with different hair types on my head. My hair ranges from 3C at the front to 4B at the back and when I leave my hair out, the front of my hair copes but the back of my hair typically gets very tangled after a few days.
If you’re going to go the ‘no protective styles’ route, you should bare in mind that you might have to pay more attention to your hair.
Protective styles have so many perks – but they are not a necessity. As long as you’re taking care of your hair and there are no overriding issues impeding growth (e.g. illness or stress), your hair can and will grow! So rock that fro every day if you want to!