Our hair is amazing.
Whether it is a stop-and-stare silk press or a sexy twist out, there isn’t much we can’t do with it. But, sometimes this freedom comes at a hefty price.
Textured hair is as delicate as it is flexible; and protective styling offers a much-needed break from the pulling and manipulation of everyday wear-and-tear.
However, tucking hair out of sight shouldn’t mean it’s out of mind. Surely, protective styles are super convenient, but improper care poses some of the greatest threats to our hair and scalps.
Ahead are five of the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
1. Neglecting Your Natural Hair and Scalp
Hair care’s cardinal rule is oftentimes the most overlooked: healthy hair starts with a clean scalp. Regular shampooing and conditioning treatments are critical.
2. Applying Too Much Tension
The repeated or ongoing trauma from styles that are too tight triggers inflamed, swollen follicles (more commonly known as “braid bumps”) and traction alopecia.
3. Styles That Are Too Heavy
The weight of hair additions must always marry the natural density and strand strength of our own, natural hair. Those that are too big or too long impose enormous strain and breakage.
4. Leaving In Your Protective Style Too Long
While those viral videos on how to make protective styles last longer are impressive, the excess build-up and matting becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and hair loss. Depending on the style, an average maximum wear time of eight weeks is recommended.
5. Skipping Regular Trims
A light dusting every ten to twelve weeks safeguards against split ends and breakage.