Sick of Natural Hair Rules? The Truth About Protective Styles
Protective styles are cool, but what about those of us who don’t want to rock them all winter long? Hair hibernation is totally unnecessary.
By: Amanda Anderson
As a natural, I’m sure you hear a lot about the importance of wearing protective styles. You know that according to most naturals, it’s healthier to keep your hair in braids, twists, wigs, weaves, and even straight to protect your hair from the colder months…or so you’ve been told. Now to most, it’s not a hindrance to keep your hair in any of these styles in the months when snow and harsh wind is the norm. However, if you’re anything like me, you prefer to wear your hair out, rather than tuck your hair away in some protective style all winter. I mean why does being natural always have to be so damn complicated? And from the reads of these natural hair blogs, it’s no wonder so many women are truly terrified to forsake the creamy crack…we’ve made being natural a chore when it really is a luxury.
And now we can’t wear our natural hair out in the Winter? Who the hell made these rules?
But don’t fret, I don’t wear my natural hair in protective styles in the Winter. Why? Because I don’t want to and really don’t have to. I take good care of my hair daily, and so despite the season, I can wear it out, and it will still be vibrant and healthy.
For one thing, I deep condition my hair weekly. In fact, every time I wash my hair (which is seven days), I deep condition it right after. Deep conditioning keeps my hair from getting dry and keeps moisture in my hair for days without needing any additional moisturizer. Before I used to deep condition, I had to literally spray my hair with water and use oil daily. Before, I thought this was normal, but now I realize my hair was just severely dry before I began deep conditioning. Now that I do deep condition every week, I no longer need to hydrate my hair and apply oil daily anymore. In addition to the deep conditioning, I also use a leave in right after for styling and additional moisture. This increase in moisture makes it safe for me to wear my hair out in the colder months. And that’s because my hair contains lots of moisture from the deep conditioning and leave in conditioner I used right after.
I’m also not a product junkie. The problem with most naturals is they rely on a series of products to define curls, moisturize, strengthen, shine, protect…you see where I am going with this. Too many products can dry out hair, and keep you washing your hair more than you need to. If this is the case, it’s no wonder so many naturals rely on protective styles to get through the colder months, hell they need to. The truth is, no one needs that many products. Find a few that work, and stick with them.
I can also say that I am not a wash and go person, and never have been. And because of that, I learned how to perfect styling on dry hair. Yes, dry hair. For me, dry hair is best for styling because it gives me that big hair that I love, and the length that I truly appreciate. Wet hair causes shrinkage, yet so many naturals will only style on wet hair. I hate shrinkage, so I don’t style wet hair. And I also don’t have to walk out of the house with wet or damp hair when it’s cold. Neither do you.
Another reason my hair will be out in the winter is because I always prep my hair before sleeping. I put my hair in big twists or braids to keep it from tangling. On a lazy night, I use the pig tail method, which also keeps my hair in shape while preventing overnight tangles. A silk bonnet sustains the moisture.
Because I do all of these things, I don’t have to “protect” my hair in the winter months. Weekly deep conditioning, leave in conditioning, and overnight care keeps my hair pretty damn healthy. I don’t straighten my hair either, and that’s just my preference, as I’m more interested in preserving my natural curl pattern.
And I’m pretty sure it’s all of these things that I do and don’t do that makes protective styles more so of a topic I will write about before I apply them to my own regime. If you still want a break from your natural hair and want to rock a protective style, by all means, do so. But just know that in the natural world of versatility, you most certainly do not have to.