How Faux Protective Styles Can Be Ruining Your Hair
It was 8:35 p.m. on a Saturday night in November. Andrea had just hopped in her car to go home after getting some Marley twists done. Exhausted was not even the word to describe how she felt after sitting there in discomfort for five hours. “It’s all good; it will all be worth it, because I won’t have to do my hair for at least a month,” she thought.
As she was driving, she began to focus less on how tired she was, and more on how uncomfortable her scalp felt. “Dang! I haven’t had twists or braids in awhile, but I don’t remember them being THIS tight,” she said to herself. She arrived home, and went to the bathroom to take down that signature “half up, half down bun” that quite a few stylists insist on putting your hair in. She noticed a tad bit of relief in the tension, and proceeded to take a few selfies in her new do.
Later that night, Andrea struggled to go to sleep. No matter how she attempted to lay, her head would throb and felt like her hair was constantly being pulled. Needless to say, she didn’t get any sleep that night. The next morning, she texted the stylist who did her twists, searched the Internet, and asked others who had braids or twists to find out what could be done to relieve the pain and tightness. Andrea was told several things. She was told to use mousse, to run warm water or put a warm, damp towel on her scalp, and to just wear them down for a few days.
Andrea tried it all, and to no avail. By day three, she had had it. She noticed bumps beginning to form all around her scalp, and could even see where some of the hairs around her edges were beginning to break off. That was the last straw for her. “Oh well, it was a cute idea. I thought I would be able to leave my hair alone for awhile, but I may not have any hair left if I keep them in,” she sighed, as she commenced to remove the twists.
Too many styles and the techniques used to achieve these styles are falsely being advertised as “protective styles.” If you’ve ever wondered why you have less hair than you started off with after removing/taking down a hairstyle, there can be a number of reasons why this happened.
For one, if you had braids or twists, they could have possibly been done too tightly like Andrea’s. You may see some braids and think they look really nice, but if done too tight, they can cause more damage than good. If this happens to you, I would advise removing them as soon as possible. Yes, you spent your money, but what’s more important? The little over $100 you spent for the style or your edges? I’ll take “Edges” for a $1000, Alex!
Braids, along with weaves, can also be counterproductive when they are left installed for too long. When they have been in past their prime, your natural hair can become severely matted to the point where it cannot be detangled, and MUST be cut off.
Lastly, any style that utilizes tape or glue can’t really be called a protective style, and is an absolute “No!” for me. This is because both glue and tape can rip the hair clean from the scalp, and render you bald. What’s protective about that?
The purpose of protective styles is to allow for low or no manipulation of the hair, and to keep your ends tucked safely away, in order to promote healthy hair growth. A lot of times we get these styles because they’re “cute” or we THINK that they will help our hair grow, when in actuality, they are doing the opposite. In order to avoid getting a “not-so protective” style we have to do our research, communicate with our stylists, and figure out what will actually protect our hair and scalps.