In the natural hair community, Winter is the season least looked forward to. You have to forsake your perfected twist and braid outs and look to retain your length and moisture in this cold, harsh season under protective styles that do not showcase your envied curls. However, you can’t disagree with the fact that your hair needs a break! Your luscious locks have served you well all Summer and it’s time to return the love by protecting them from the elements that make your hair dry and ends brittle. It’s time to protective style ladies!
There are numerous protective styles to choose from including simple low maintenance hairstyles like buns and cornrows to more elaborate protective hairstyles like individual braids (box braids, Senegalese twists etc), wigs and weaves etc. Though we know the first choice will be the hottest do to make you look even more fab in your winter fur coats, we recommend that you choose one that is not only stylish but one that allows you to easily moisturize your scalp and entire hair shaft throughout the life of the hairstyle.
This is why our go-to style for optimum protection is individual braids. If done right, protective styling is like giving your hair a three week vacation at a five star spa and hotel. It is able to relax and be pampered with oils and creams along with being massaged back to complete wellness and health so that when your curls return from their vacation they are well rested and ready to pop again. However if you do it wrong you can end up with a lot of the same breakage that you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Advantages of Protective Styling
• Low Maintenance – Allows very little manipulation of your hair allowing you to retain your length due to lack of breakage.
• Saves You Time – Those of us with busy schedules will find protective styling to be very time efficient as all that is usually needed is a little oil sheen in the morning after moisturizing and wrapping your hair at night.
• It’s Versatile – There are so many low maintenance/protective hairstyles to choose from! Even if you just choose to cornrow or twist your hair under different wigs and then rock a bun the next week. Play around, have fun, be creative, protect!
• It’s stylish!
• Keeps Hair Soft and Moisturized – Since your hair is not exposed to the dry winds and you continue to moisturize it and keep it protected, your hair will be softer.
Disadvantages of Protective Styling
• Breakage to the Hair – If you plait your hair too tightly in braids your hair will be prone to breakage. Also not washing your hair or moisturizing it whilst it’s in the protective style will make you hair more prone to breakage.
• Can Cause Tangling – This is due to your hair being kept uncombed for too long. We would not recommend keeping a protective style in for more than four weeks. After those four weeks, wash your hair and change up the protective style/low maintenance style.
• Dryness – This can occur if you do not choose a protective style that will allow you to moisturize your hair and scalp.
Guidelines for Protective Styling
As you can see, there are disadvantages if you don’t protective style correctly. Therefore here are our basic guidelines for protective styling this Winter!
Choose a protective style that will work best for you and will be easiest to manage in your schedule/daily routine.
When getting your hair plaited, make certain that it’s not tight and causing strain on your hair and scalp. This will result in hair loss!
• Prepare Your Hair. Prepare and treat your hair before protective styling. Wash your hair thoroughly and deep condition it so that your hair goes into the protective style healthy and strong.
• Protect Your Edges. Make certain that your edges are NOT being plaited into the protective style. Your edges tend to be the most prone to breakage. You do not want your edges falling out…that is not cute, honey. To protect your edges during Winter simply use castor oil and massage them at night before bed.
• Moisturize Daily. Moisturize your scalp and hair at night before bed with your normal moisturizer and either spritz oil or spray a little hair sheen on your hair in the morning. Our favorite hair sheen is the Olive Oil Nourishing Sheen Spray.
• Wash Your Hair! Do not use the excuse that it is too cold outside. Either use an ACV rinse with a cotton ball to cleanse your scalp our co-wash your hair to put back moisture into your hair while getting the dirt out. We would not recommend using shampoos during the winter since it is also very drying and that along with the drying winter winds cannot be good for your hair. It is essential that you wash you hair though as we do not want scalp infections or matted dirty hair when the winter is over.
• Wrap Your Hair At Night With a Satin Bonnet. This is crucial, not only for maintaining the freshness of your do but for your hair’s safety. I’ll explain. We all know that our natural hair is prone to breakage when we roll around on our pillows at night and we may believe that while our hair is in braids etc that we have evaded this threat. Wrong! A friend of ours slept on their braids and woke up the next morning with an entire braid out…her hair along with it! Tie your hair up before bed sisters!
• Accessorize. The Winter accessory of knitted woolen hats are cute and warm but actually quite harmful to your hair. Wool pulls at your hair and usually succeeds at snagging and breaking your hair. Avoid this problem by finding hats with a satin lining on the inside. If you can’t find any, DIY at home!
Last but not least, ROCK IT sista! Take loads of pictures of your protective styles and use the hashtag #CurlsUnderstood to be featured on Instagram. We’d love to see how you rock your do!
Protect your hair sisters!! Winter is coming!