StyldLife held the second Crown Club webinar with natural hair coach, Jodi-Ann Whittingham on the topic of protective hair styles: what do they do, why might a style not be working for you, and what can you do to get the most from a protective hair care style.
Protective hair styles are essential and Jodi-Ann Whittingham is an advocate for them– especially when it's done correctly. Since starting her haircare journey, Jodi-Ann said protective styles have always played a large part in her hair growth, health, and maintenance since you can see progress and positive change with styles. From what she sees across social media, Jodi-Ann knows many women are facing difficulties when it comes to finding the right protective style for their hair. The wrong protective style can cause hair loss, damage, and lack of growth.
What is a protective style?
Jodi-Ann says any style where the ends of your hair are tucked away and folded away from the everyday and anything that causes breakage is a protective style. Protective styles often get confused with low manipulation styles, such as styles where ends aren’t tucked away but there is little need to style your hair every day.
What are the most common protective styles?
- Braids: PRO: great for showing your style, limiting frizz, and lasting around 4-5 ; CON: bad for fine hair and can take 8-12 hours for installation and removal
- Twists: PRO: Multiple options (such as passion of spring twists), good of tender scalps, easy to moisturize; CON: can only last 3-6 weeks and can get frizzy
- Buns: PRO: great for short hair (use a satin scrunchie to limit damage); CON: longer hair can get damaged if hair is thin
- Wigs: PRO: many options (lace front, regular, headband wig); CON: not always comfortable, can be very costly (around $400-$500 for high quality)
Before picking a style, factor in how long the style will last, how long will it take to remove, and how will it benefit your hair.
What are the benefits of protective styles:
- Retaining and growing length
- Saving time from not having to style hair
- A form of expression and sense of style
What are the top three reasons you’re disappointed after taking out your protective style?
- Your ends are already thinning: If your hair is thinning and fragile, a style like box braids will only cause more breakage due to the weight of added hair. Twists and wigs are the better options for thinning hair.
- You hurry to take out your protective style: Many women lose their length by cutting protective styles out of hair. Make sure you set time aside, at least 12 hours, to remove a protective style.
- You choose a protective style that does not suit your hair’s personality: The tension and added weight of extensions on thinning hair will only cause breakage. To figure out the best style, first find out your hair type. Try placing a strand beside a piece of thread. If your hair is about the same, you have a medium hair type. Thicker than a strand means thick hair. Thinner than a strand means thinning hair. This also applies to knowing if your hair can handle being dried with heat or air-dried.
How do you prep your hair for a protective style?
To get ready for a protective style, look at your scalp health – you don’t want to select a style that might cause inflammation or exasperate a condition like eczema. For massive breakage, heave adages will only cause damaged hair to fall out when you remove the style. Prior to putting in a style, deep condition your hair, preferably without a protein and focusing on moisturizer. In addition, blow dry hair while using a water-based heat protectant and follow up with a moisturizer while in your protective style.
Can protective styles be worn while swimming in the ocean or a pool?
You’d be surprised to find out that yes, they can. Covering hair is the best option but if your hair gets wet, regular shampoo will do. Dry your hair as soon as possible since your hair can get too soft or grow fungus if left for too long while wet with ocean water. For chlorine water, rinse your hair with a clarifying shampoo and then condition and blow dry.
Is all heat bad?
No, but make sure to use a water-based protectant. You can invest in a low-heat dryer, like a RevAir, but they are a big investment of around $400. Thicker hair can withstand heat and get damaged less than thin hair. Braids can help hair dry without heat and add in length when your hair is dry.
Jodi-Ann has found most women don’t want to deal with their hair, or they find it intimidating. It’s best to not just pick the easiest style. Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it will benefit your hair. Jodi-Ann tried out multiple styles before finding the perfect one. After trying out wigs, passion twists, and box braids, she finally found that mini twists were the best. While many women might find twists too young, Jodi-Ann says sites like Pinterest helped teach her mature ways to style twists.
For mini twists, blow dry hair first. Putting mini twists in can take 3-4 hours depending on the speed of the stylist. Removal can take 2 hours to take out; while this may seem like a lot of time, it’s very short in comparison to other protective styles that can take around 12 hours. The main drawback of mini twists is that they don’t last long, frizz up if you wash your hair, and after 6 weeks, your roots can knot and cause damage.
Looking for more information on protective styles? Head over to the Crown Club’s Facebook group to read any Q&A questions from the webinar.