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Protective Hairstyles For Black Women

Wondering what protective hairstyles can do for you?

They make your hair healthier and help it grow longer by keeping the ends from getting damaged.

But, how do they do it? To answer that question the first thing you need to know is the true definition of a protective style.

What is a protective hairstyle?

Protective hairstyles are hairstyles that aim to do one or two specific things.

  1. Cut down on hair manipulation.
  2. Keep the ends of the hair from drying out from exposure to air.

It's all about preventing breakage which is the major cause of hair damage and no length accumulation.

Pictures of Protective Hairstyles for Relaxed and Natural Hair

If you're thinking about giving protective styling a chance to see what it can do for you, check out the pictures of protective hairstyles below for inspiration.

Wanakee: Protective Styling Pioneer


Former African American model Wanakee is known for being the first person to coin the term 'protective hairstyle'.

She introduced the idea in a pamphlet that was available in the late 90's (I still have mine!) which described how she wore her hair on a daily basis to help it grow from a very short cut down to her waist in a few years.

Wakanee's been an inspiration to many black and African American women and was one of the first widely known black women to sport very long weave free hair.

Her techniques included several ideas that were new at the time.

You could say she was the original black hair care guru.

How Protective Styling Make Your Hair Healthy

Have you ever had to moisturize your hands a hundred times a day because your skin kept drying out? When you leave your hair ends exposed with no protection the same thing happens to them. The result is dyness, brittleness, breakage and split ends.

The Dangers of Leaving Your Hair Exposed

Have you ever noticed little pieces of hair all over your shoulders and wondered why it happens?

Bonus: Acne Free Skin!

Another surprising benefit of wearing protective hairstyles is less acne and clearer skin.

Keeping hair off your face lowers the risk of developing acne cause by hair oils and flaky scalps.

What are the benefits of protective styling?

Wearing protective styles keeps your hair ends healthy by doing specific things.

These styles make sure that your hair doesn't break off as fast as it grows. Over time, this adds up to a lot of length (as much as your growth cycle allows).

Not touching your hair for hours, days and weeks at a time (depending on the style you choose) helps to keep your ends intact.

Types of Protective Hairstyles

Any style that tucks your ends away or doesn't need to be combed for a while (a week or more) is considered protective. Here are a few ideas.

There are lots of options to try. A lot of these hairstyles are really basic, but they don't have to be boring. Use accessories like jewelled clips, chopsticks, head bands and scarves to add more 'style' to your style.

Protective Hairstyles for Short Hair

If your hair is short you can still benefit from protective styling. The only thing is that your focus should be doing low/no maintenance hairstyles.

Since you can't put your hair in one to hide the ends you'll want to keep it from breaking by not messing with it until it does get long enough. Single braids and wigs are good options for you.

Just remember to moisturize often and in no time you'll have enough hair to try more protective styling options.

How to Use Protective Styles for Hair Growth

The key to longer hair is keeping your ends healthy while your roots produce growth. You might not like the idea of wearing your hair up most of the time but the health and length results are more than worth it.

The Number One Tip for Hair Growth

When you're protective styling for growth it's important to choose styles that you can leave in for a while and are easy to take out. Braids (not micros), weaves and wigs are great choices.

I've seen thousands of women achieve great lengths using these methods. In fact, about 10 years ago I used the Crown and Glory Method to do protective styling with braids. Robin, the owner of the site who I became good friends with featured me on her success page (Update: The Crown and Glory website is no longer active.)

I'm still a fan of protective styles and believe that combined with proper hair care they're essential to achieving your maximum genetic potential for growth.

Related Pages:

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