Protecting Your Natural: Protective Styling Mistakes to Avoid During Your Journey
Protecting your natural hair is a huge part of making sure your natural hair stays flawless. It’s a vital part of the process and ensures that your hair stays strong and grows long as time goes on. Unfortunately, the struggles can be all too real when it comes to protecting your gorgeous mane. There is actually such a thing as too much and too little protection on your natural hair. Too many times, we overlook some of favorite protective styles and methods and end up doing more damage than good, leaving our hair to pay the price. No worries though, because we’ve compiled some common protective styling mistakes and how to avoid them altogether so your hair can keep slaying all year long!
- Braids & Weave
Both braids and weave can be the quickest solutions to creating a gorgeous look without having to actually deal with your own hair. They can also be the source of pain and damage to your natural hair, not to mention to your confidence once you take these styles out and see what you’ve actually done to your hair. Braids or weave (extensions included) that are done too tight can cause extensive breakage, hair loss and a lot of pain. So in reality, if done wrong, there’s no protection there at all. To prevent this, consult with your hair stylist to make sure there is an understanding when it comes to how tight your braids will be. If things begin to hurt, say something.
Another common issue with braids and weave is leaving them in too long. The longer you leave braids in or weave can be harmful to your hair; your hair starts to develop a smell (GROSS) and doesn’t receive the moisture and air it needs to thrive. Your coily natural hair needs to be free at times- this allows your hair to take in any products and nutrients you have for it a lot better. You get severe damage; you know that phrase “you look dusty?” your hair will be the living example of it. Almost equivalent to a matted dog, your hair mats up, dries up and becomes almost impossible to fix easily, depending on how long the style is left in. (Just Google ‘leaving weave or braids in too long’ and you’ll see what happens.) The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure you understand and do your research on the time length of your weave or braids. Talk with a professional when getting your hair done to get a grip on the proper care and time you need to give to these styles. Trust us when we say that those tips go a long way.
- Product & Usage
Not only can your hair be damaged by the styles you choose to rock, but the products you put in them as well. Adding too much or too little of a product can really do damage. Too much and your hair is oversaturated with product- with no clue what to do with the excess. It’s like it’s just drowning in it. Too little, and you’re left with hair drier than the Sahara Desert. You can even do damage or prevent growth and nourishment when you use the wrong types of hair product. If you use a product meant for twisting as a conditioner, unless it says this on the container then this won’t benefit you in the slightest.
The best thing to do to prevent your favorite products from destroying your hair are to do your research. Just like a big purchase, your natural hair is an investment. You have to truly understand what you’re getting yourself into before signing on the dotted line. Really research new products you try and ones that you may not understand but may be favorites. Get an understanding on what’s good for your hair and what isn’t, and buy products accordingly. When it comes to usage, be sure to really get an understanding of how much to use, that way you aren’t wasting product and not damaging your hair. On average, a quarter sized amount of product for your hair should be sufficient, but always do a test to see what works for your hair.
Finally, another issue that comes up with protecting your natural hair, that many don’t truly realize how important it is to hair growth and overall well-being, is your health. Yes, your health is connected with your hair. Those burgers and fries you love so much? Stunting your hair growth from grease. The sodas and alcohol that you consume? Yeah, go ahead and kiss longer hair goodbye with those. Have you ever heard the phrase, “what you put in is what you get out?” Well, that applies here as well. What you put in your body is what your hair is going to give you. Treat your body right and it will thank you later.
To prevent damage happening to you hair from your health, take strides in doing better physically, mentally and emotionally. Get out and do more to stay physically active, grab some strawberries every now and then or maybe more avocados (that deliciousness that makes up guacamole), focus mentally on your happiness, and start taking multivitamins to benefit hair growth and strengthening. Your hair responds to everything; stress, food, physical activity, emotions, all of it. Your hair only grows and thrives on your care and time. Remember to give your hair love by giving your body love. It makes a huge difference and changes your life. Love you, and your hair will love you right back.
Maintaining and styling is the fun and easy part of natural hair, but the protecting your hair is the important part. By understanding what goes in your hair and how to treat your hair, you become an even bigger slayer of natural hair and a better you.