By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom
Have you ever diligently braided or twisted your hair into a protective style but within a week, a niggling temptation to undo the style develops because you are bored with it? Do you actually like the way you look with braids or twists or do you feel that they greatly reduce the body of your hair and make you look ‘scalpy’? Have you been stuck wondering what to do with your hair because you just do not want to place it into braids yet again? If you have answered yes to any of the questions, then you need to learn a few secrets to enjoy and commit to protective styling. These tips will help you keep your hair in the style for longer, make you expand your styling repertoire and improve your self image.
1. Pin Up Your Twists and Braids
The easiest way to transform box braids or twists into a completely different look is to simply pin them up. If you do not like how your twists look hanging down or if you have had your hair in braids or twists for a while and they are now have a fuzz halo, pinning up the twists is a quick and easy way to create elegance and add neatness to your hair style.
2. Try partial flat twisting or cornrowing
Some people feel that plain box braids or twists make them look childish. This is a legitimate concern especially if your job requires you to look ‘authoritative’. Another concern is that twists and braids can look quite ‘scalpy’ if your hair is not particularly dense naturally. You can achieve a fully protect your hair while still being stylish by simply adding a few cornrows or flat twists. Partial cornrows or twists are ideal because they require less effort and less detangling. Remember that you can additionally pin up the free twists or braids if you wish and this will take care of the ‘scalpy’ issue.
3. Try partially open styles
The two previous tips allow all your hair to be 100% fully protected. However, you can opt to have some of your hair loose, although this hair is not as protected as when it is in a braid or twist. The advantage, however, is that the style is definitely one that conquers boredom as you can play with the loose part. Most commonly it will be the hair in the front that is left loose but you can also partially cornrow/flat-twist the front and leave the back open or in a bun or braid the sides and leave the centre open and pinned in a fro-hawk style.
4. Keep it open and tuck in the ends
Hair buns are not a protective style for everybody. If your hair has a tendency to tangle up easily when loose (normally hair with high shrinkage and/or high number of kinks), then a hair bun is not a viable long term protective style as it may cause hair to break when detangling. However, if your hair does not behave in this way, a bun with tucked in ends is perfect as a protective style especially if you can leave the bun in for a few days at a time without undoing it.
5. Non-own hair options
I am a huge proponent of learning to style your own hair without extensions as this helps you learn what your hair can and cannot do, how it behaves when wet or when dry and how it reacts to products. However, if you are eager for a completely different look then extensions, weaves and wigs are a viable option . As always make sure that your hair is not done too tightly or too small especially at the hair line. Always detangle your own hair prior to going to the salon if you are not installing the braids yourself as not all stylists will take their time to do this.In extensions try to fully protect your natural hair by either braiding all the hair to the end or if you would like an open hair look, try tree braids.
Ladies, what are your secrets for enjoying protective styling?