Protective styling — styling your hair in such a way that ends are tucked and protected — is an effective way to retain length in a relatively short amount of time. But moderation is the key to most things in life, and protective styling is no different! Here are 5 reasons it’s not a good idea to protective style non-stop.
1. You can better assess how products work on loose hair
Loose strands are the best template for testing how products work. You get a better sense of whether a product is absorbing or sealing properly, whether it smooths your strands, and how it’s affecting the texture of your hair. Take advantage of time in between protective styling to test new products and revisit old faithfuls to ensure they’re still performing well.
2. You can moisturize more effectively on loose hair
Styles like twists and box braids are easy to moisturize. But other protective styles, like updos and buns, keep so much hair hidden and tucked that it can be difficult to get a full saturation. It’s key to take advantage of time in between protective styling to do good deep conditioning and (if necessary) protein treatments.
3. Lint and shed hair buildup can lead to matting and breakage
Lint is an inevitability for women with textured hair. If it’s left on the hair for too long — and combines with spritzes, oils, and butters — it forms tiny lint balls that adhere to your strands, almost like glue. These are very hard to take down without causing serious breakage. You need breaks from protective styling so that lint doesn’t have a chance to accumulate.
4. It’s important to know how to maintain length with low manipulation styles
Unless you want to be in twists and cornrows for the rest of your life, you’re going to have to learn how to do low manipulation ‘out styles’. If you’re nervous at the thought of keeping your hair out, start small. Take your protective style down on Friday, allow yourself time to experiment on the weekend, and put the style back up in on Sunday night. Once you’re comfortable, gradually do the take down earlier and earlier in the week until you can go a full week rocking low manipulation styles that keep your ends in tact.
5. Constant protective styling can be emotionally draining
There is little point to being natural if you never ever get a chance to enjoy your big, bodacious, textured hair. Even if you’re working towards a hair goal, it’s psychologically important for you to spend time celebrating your hair as it is and have some fun!