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Cardi B abandoned her trademark colorful weaves and wigs last week and took Instagram earlier this month to show off her beautiful, natural hair.

On Friday, the rapper shared a video to her Instagram Stories rocking barely anything except a bathrobe and her cascading loose curls. She gushed to her followers about the growth she’s achieved over

“Look at my hair. This is dead-ass my f*cking real hair,” she said, looking into the camera and stroking her hair. “Yes! Lemme wash it. Wow, I’m so proud of myself.”

We love Cardi’s natural hair. It’s long. It’s voluminous, and her hairline remains intact — but her results may be mostly down to the superstar’s affinity for vibrant wigs, as they are considered to be “protective styles.”

Protective styles allow your natural hair time to breathe by keeping the ends of hair tucked away from the elements. These styles can include a range of braids, twists, ponytail and updo styles, which help to discourage any excessive pulling or manipulation of hair, which can lead to hair damage and even hair loss.

So perhaps Cardi’s iconic looks are more than just about fashion?

However, the effectiveness of the style depends heavily on the execution. Protective styles can be just as detrimental to your hair growth as any other if installed haphazardly.

“A good rule of thumb I stick to: Don’t go too tight, too small, or too long on protective styling. Also, make sure your hair is clean, deep-conditioned, and moisturized prior to install, to make sure your hair can actually go the distance without damage,” beauty vlogger Whitney White advised during an interview with Self.com.

“How you prep your protective style is just as important as which style you choose. My favorite protective style is two strand twists! They’re gentle, easy, and quick to install. Additionally, they can be molded into other hairstyles easily to switch up your look.”

What’s your go-to protective style?