So, I was talking to a friend of mine who was lamenting the fact that she could not achieve any length with her hair. She mentioned that she had tried everything from using better hair products to eating better. As she was telling me this, I was eyeing her lovely, oversized blanket scarf she was sporting that kept rubbing against her hair as she moved her head back and forth and noted the fact that I have never seen her wear a hat outside in the winter.
A fellow “relaxed girl” (she chemically straightens her hair like me), she then asked me how I managed to keep my hair shiny and relatively long. I sat her down and dropped some knowledge on her.
Me: “Well babe – I’m sorry to break it to you, but your wool scarf rubbing up against your neckline constantly will break your hair. You have to keep your hair off your neckline – specifically coat collars and sweaters which promote friction and can lead to breakage. Secondly, you have to cover your hair when you venture outside in the winter to protect it from the dry conditions that sap moisture from your hair, and I’m convinced that the extreme cold leads to increased breakage too.”
She started at me in shock and muttered something along the lines that this advice was “so common sense”. I let her know that these are tips that I had been using for years and they have really helped the quality of my hair.
As a YouTuber, my videos on haircare are by far my most popular. While they focus on how to care for relaxed hair, these tips below are great for any type of hair.
Before I get started, let me define a “protective style”. Protective hair styles are those that keep your ends protected – the ends being the most vulnerable part of the hair shaft. They are the oldest and require the most care in order to you to gain length. Most protective styles keep your hair either covered (wigs and weaves) or keep your ends tucked away from rubbing up against collars, the elements, you name it. Protective styles also require little styling or heat – styling which entails a lot of manipulation of your hair and heat which saps moisture from the hair shaft or worse – fries your hair completely (overuse of flat irons, curling irons, etc).
I have also been on the hunt for “budget hair care finds” and will provide you all with a review on one of my favourite hair care lines that discovered recently that won’t break the bank: Garnier’s Replenishing Hair Care Legendary Olive line. OK! Let’s get on with some protective hair styling tips!
Tip #1 – What Are Your Hair Goals?
Identify your hair goals! Do you want long, healthy hair? Do you want to maintain the length you already have? Once you pinpoint your needs, you can better plan out which protective styles to choose
Tip #2 – Get Wiggy With It
Wigs are an amazing way to protect your hair. Don’t laugh – I’m serious! There are so many cool wigs out there now, why not try one and totally change your look? Many celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé opt for wigs to protect their own hair from the constant hairstyling they endure.
Wigs act as hats, covering your natural hair from the elements and preventing the friction of rubbing up against your collars which can break shoulder length hair. Before putting on a wig, cover your natural hair with a silk scarf to prevent friction, and those with very textured, curly hair should sport braids under the wig.
With your hair tucked safely under a wig, remember to remove it nightly to allow your scalp a chance to breathe, keep your hair moisturized by using oils on the ends of your hair and if you have a dry scalp, use a little oil to keep that moisturized too.
NOTE: extended use of wigs can damage your edges, so ensure that you are wearing your wig properly and consider using a wig liner to protect your hairline.
Tip #3 – Braid It Up
Box braids, little braids, you name it – these will protect your hair nicely as this type of styling minimizes manipulation of hair which reduces breakage. Braids are particularly great for those with highly textured hair such as tight coils. If you opt for braids for an extended period of time, remember to keep your braids soft by using a moisturizing spray and maintain the health of your scalp by cleaning it and moisturizing regularly.
Tip #4 – Weave Love
If done properly, weaves are a wonderful option to get your hair growing as they allow your natural hair a chance to be left alone to grow for extended periods of time.
Now – weaves require a lot of upkeep. When you are having a weave put in, your natural hair should be braided firmly, NOT TIGHTLY. Choose great quality human hair as opposed to synthetic hair. Weaves should also be sewn in using a high quality cotton thread as opposed to a synthetic thread which can cut through your own hair.
Be sure to wash and deep condition your hair on a regular basis such as weekly, and BE SURE to dry your hair after each cleansing session along with moisturizing, moisturizing, MOISTURIZING your own natural hair.
I have never tried a weave, but through my research I’ve learned that weaves are best put into textured hair by an experienced stylist. Straight hair may not be able to hold the braids very well, and those with fine, weak hair and/or damaged hair should opt for another protective style, as the weave process may cause even more damage.
Tip #4 – Chignons Are Your Pals
Chignons are classic, elegant, and keep your hair off your neckline. They also require minimal manipulation therefore preventing needless stress on your hair. Whipping your hair up into a chignon is quick and easy and they work beautifully for all types of hair.
Remember, as you are pinning up your hair, go easy on the neckline. To prevent any damage, don’t make your chignon too tight.
Tip #5: Buns, Hon. Buns!
GREAT. Now I have that ridiculous Sir Mix-A-Lot song stuck in my head.
Buns are easily my fave protective style because…well, they are so easy! They are super cute while keeping your hair protected. My best tricks for buns are to use soft hair ties without metal parts which can snag hair. I also change the position of the bun on my head to prevent any hair strain or breakage from constantly having it in the same place. I keep my buns a little loose too to save my edges.
My favourite buns are messy and piled on top of my head, or low and easy secured at the nape of the neck. Sock buns are great too for creating some huge, gorgeous styles.
Tip #6: The Wash-N-Go Bun
I’m a runner, so I wash my hair or co-wash (washing with conditioner only) my hair pretty regularly and throw my hair into a low bun. When I do this, I opt for really hydrating and creamy shampoos and conditioners to fully moisturize and protect my hair. I have been using the Whole Blends Replenishing Hair Care Legendary Olive line that I recently discovered, mainly because it promises softness and shine, the line has a great leave-in conditioner, and it smells pretty darn good. Here is my YouTube video on my fave protective styles with a review on the Garnier Whole Blends Replenishing Hair Care Legendary Olive line (whoa – mouthful!):
The shampoo, while clear, is really moisturizing and didn’t leave my hair feeling stripped at all. The conditioner which is specially formulated for dry, depleted hair is really great – especially for the low price. It was incredibly rich, thick, and conditioned and detangled beautifully. While very thick, it didn’t weigh down my hair at all instead leaving it soft and light. One time, I used my hair wand after washing and drying to create beach waves and my hair looked amazing – bouncy and soft. Now THAT was a great hair day.
After washing and deep conditioning, I detangle with Legendary Olive Transforming Leave-In Conditioner, focusing on the ends of my hair to keep them soft and healthy. I also work some through my hair from root to tip as I find it really softens my hair and makes for a great “wet look”. It is one of the only creamy deep conditioners I have used that keeps my ends really soft while rocking my wash-n-go bun. There is another tip right there: You still need to moisturize your ends daily if you choose the wash-n-go bun, especially if you have textured hair.
Have you tried any protective styles? What are your faves? I’m always on the hunt for styling ideas so please share in the comments!
*A big thank you to Garnier Canada for providing products from the Replenishing Legendary Olive line in exchange for my honest opinion.