Skip to main content

I Abandoned Protective Styling So I Could Have More Fun With My Hair

Avatar • Sep 14, 2012

By Christabel of Chys Curlz

Personality types differ and this is reflected in the different choices we make in our hair care practices. But, there is this widespread attitude and opinion in the natural hair world that there is a “best” way to take care of our hair regardless of who we are individuals. Well, this is simply not true. At least, for me, it has proven not to be true and I know if I feel this way, many more do too.I went natural around August of 2008 but I kept my hair shaved until October that year when I started growing it out.

Of course, like many new naturals, I knew nothing about how to take care of my hair and so I wore it in braids and weaves while I researched and devoured videos on YouTube.

When I finally got comfortable with wearing my hair out, I faced another obsession…that of achieving/retaining hair length no matter what!

This naturally meant that I gravitated toward those natural hair “gurus” who had longer hair because obviously they knew what they were talking about and if I followed their advice to the T, I will have long hair in no time. Well, that didn’t work very well for me because the biggest common advice denominator was protective styling (PS). I commenced doing a bunch of PS as shown below:

 

Now, when I say it didn’t work too well for me, I’m not saying that you won’t retain length with PS. It’s actually quite the opposite because MAJOR length retention happens with PS. In fact, my hair retained the most length during the period I did mostly PS
I went from this …

to this in less 8 months

It was a failure for me because I HATED the way my hair looked like in twists. It was scalpy, I looked like a kid, and I just didn’t like it PERIOD.* Disclaimer: if this is not true for you, then don’t sweat it. It’s okay if you love PS (because again, that meshes with your personality.* Another reason it was a failure was because as with everything else in my life, I like to be spontaneous more often than not. So, this translated to hair as well naturally  lol. I loved playing in my hair, wearing different styles and when I stopped wearing stretched styles (twist outs etc.), I discovered that I LOVE my natural curl pattern as well.

Upon this discovery just a few months ago, I got a hair cut and proceeded to start wearing my hair in a wash and go (WNG) 99% of the time and I’ve never been happier with my hair.

And guess what, this fits with my personality style better. I used to think that I didn’t have the needed “discipline” to leave my hair protected for several days at a time. But now, I know it’s not a lack of discipline.…it’s just who I am and that’s okay.

I might not retain length at the optimum rate or I might have more of those pesky Single Strand Knots (SSK) than is desirable but that’s okay because for me, right now, I’m in love with my hair and I have WAY MORE good hair days than bad ones so that means I’m #winning!

Of course, since there is still that part of me that is not all care-free and whatever goes, I had to perfect my WNG technique and I have and I will talk about this in another post. But for right now, the take away is that, whatever personality type you are, don’t expect it to be different in hair care just because we are dealing with #naturalhair which is often times a new and uncharted territory. Once you are done exploring, and watching all those videos and taking in all those wonderful advice from all those wonderful YouTube “gurus”, you will the happiest caring for your hair the way that feels the most natural to you! That.is.all.

So a couple of questions for y’all:

What have you learned about your self through your hair? I love spontaneity.

Are you a PS girl or a WNG girl? WNG all the way! lol

Till next time,
ChyChy here.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
62 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
sarah
sarah
8 years ago

i knew very early on that i was a wash and go girl. and i knew that because of my reasons for going natural. i didn’t go natural because i had any sort of damage from chemical straightening. i went natural because i didn’t like the way my hair looked straight. it was purely aesthetic… i wanted to wear my hair the way it grew organically from my scalp. so when i did go natural, i sought out natural/curly YouTube/bloggers who had great hair, but more specifically did it without the usage of protective styles. i was never interested in… Read more »

Vonnie
Vonnie
8 years ago

I’m DEFINITELY dealing with this right now! As much as I love PS’s for the fact I don’t constantly have to fuss with my hair, there are times I just want my hair OUT. I use to wear my hair in PS’s till about Friday, giving it about 2 days before I washed & styled again, but now I find myself taking it them out mid-week, wearing it out a few days, and either putting back in a PS, or, if I’m feeling lazy, just stretch it & keep wearing it out, or just “rinse”-and-go! It all depends on what… Read more »

Natalee
Natalee
8 years ago

Perfect article for my current mood! I told myself I would PS for the remaining 6 months of this year because I wanted to see if I saw more healthy growth and now I’m 2 weeks into braids it took me 10 hours to do and I kind of want to take them out. I like my braids, but I like using new products and having voluminous, bouncy hair. My only problem is perfecting a wash-n-go that I feel comfortable with, so I end up going back to PS so I’m a de facto protective styler.

Alisha
8 years ago

I love her hair journey. I feel like this is a major part of being natural- the freedom to be you, to do you! I don’t fit neatly in either category. I wear buns a lot for ease, not really for ps. And I don’t do strict w‑n-gs either because with my hair, I’d wind up with a tangled mess. So it’s best to do what works for you and makes you happy!

T.
T.
8 years ago

I’m exactly the same. My hair used to be so long, then I relaxed it for a year, and had to chop it out when I got fed up of relaxing. Now I want my old length back! and I’m trying to grow it back, but I don’t like many protective styles so often have my hair in an updo, which I love! Looks good, and its me, but my ends aren’t protected. Oh well! Like you said, thats me, and as long as my hair is healthy, I’ll have to do deal with it.

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago

I feel like this article speaks to me. I’m also a natural who could care less about protective styling, because the length and health of my hair right now suits me perfectly. It doesn’t have to hang down my back to look awesome. 🙂
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_2673.JPG[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_2673.JPG[/img]

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

Ew, a double-post. Can you delete one of those pictures?

Alisha
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

I heart your spirals!

101Corkscrews
101Corkscrews
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

Gorgeous hair. Great wng. Rock it!

Gayle Allen
Gayle Allen
8 years ago

Wow your hair journey sounds a little like mine. I love wash-n-go’s! I love it better when my hair is short or medium short. Now it’s ear length bob and slightly shorter at the nape; longer on top. I’ve had it short for many years and this my second grow-out. The length it is now takes more time with a wash and go daily. So I’m started in June with a semi-PS. I wash-n-go for the initial style and when it dries and spritz with: Aloe Pure Leaf-Rose Water/Glycerin, 3 drops of Aloe Gel and 3 drops of pure glycerine,… Read more »

JenniD
JenniD
8 years ago

People No one is making you choose to wear your hair a in a certain way 24/7. It truly is in your minds. Protective styles are not the gospel, only a tool for retaining length.And for some people that tool is useless. If you don’t want to wear protective styles all or vice versa the time you need not make a declaration just do what you feel is best. A lot of nappies wear their hair in PS because they view it as their best chance for long hair. This is true for many but not for all. If you… Read more »

Jo
Jo
8 years ago
Reply to  JenniD

This is a good article as many naturals do go on like protective styling is a must. However it all has to do how one views it and that is where the problem begins. We all have free will so no one is forced to do anything. My tip for length retention is to braid hair at night and cover with a satin scarf or bonnet and style as you please. I personally prefer braid outs/puffs and when i need a break i do box braids or twists with my own hair. Whatever you do have fun with your hair.… Read more »

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  JenniD

+1 and I’mma need you to get out of my head, lol… Once again, I’m glad I went natural when I did (mid-1990s, at the dawn of the Web) because I never fell prey (at least not totally) to any set of “rules”. I still don’t understand why “The only hair rules are those that work for YOU and YOUR HAIR” is such a complicated concept for some people… My most recent BC was October 2010. After spending 2010 and 2011 having fun with my hair and really getting to know its different textures, I’ve spent 2012 alternating between WNGs,… Read more »

BlackOnyx03
BlackOnyx03
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

LBell — Every time I see you post on this website, I always mean to ask you if you are the same LaBellaTrix (or something to that effect) that used to post on Nappturality.com back in the day. If so, I remember being so inspired by your journey way back when I decided to stop perming my hair in college (2001)!

Jess
Jess
8 years ago

I loved this post! Before getting a BC in July, I had long hair that was never chemically treated, but was very damaged due to heat. Well, after I got it cut, all I’ve been wearing so far is Wash-N-Go’s and I love my curl pattern. It looks really similar to yours. When it gets a little bit longer though, I think I’m going to start wearing protective styles because I want it to retain more length.

Rashawn
Rashawn
8 years ago

Awesome article you took the words right out of my mouth!

Gayle Allen
Gayle Allen
8 years ago

Oops: “every night, there after ;-#

AMY
AMY
8 years ago

I co-sign this article because it mirrors my personal experience. I have very thin hair and doing the two strand twist left my scalp very exposed. I hated the way it looked and the amount of time it took just to make my thin hair look fuller. I didn’t know much about wash and go hairstyles and discovered it by accident. After a hairstyling routine went wrong, I gave it up and was going to wear a wig for an event. Thankfully, I forgot my wig and had to wear my own hair. I simply combed, moisturized it and used… Read more »

Curly Queen
8 years ago

My hair grows super fast in the summer so I’ve worn braids most of the summer. Now that fall is approaching I can’t wait for the humidity to go away so I can feel my hair again. The end of Sept can’t come soon enough.

April
April
8 years ago

I don’t do many protective styles since I put in a softner/texturizer. I love roller sets and once in awhile a cute wig for change. The two strand twist is not put on the bench until further notice. 4b/4c . My hair is still pretty big and full (afro).

Netta
8 years ago

I’m both. It kind of depends on my mood. Charlamagne (my hair) has days that she’ll only respond in WnGs and days that PS are the only option. Right now she’s a little unhappy because I’m long-term protective styling in yarn braids. I already know it’s going to be only WnG for at least 2 weeks.

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  Netta

Your hair’s name! Too fabulous lol!!

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

I HATE protective styling but after hitting a plateau at shoulder/collar bone length, I learned it’s a necessity for me ;-( Not only that, after having spent an embarrassingly # of hours watching long haired yutube naturals pre-long hair (IOW–the regimen that got them flowing locks not the “I have long hair now & wash 1/yr reggie” Lol), I’ve realized 4bcdefs need protective styling to retain as much as possible.

Tovah
Tovah
8 years ago

Christabel, I love your curls! I know exactly what you are saying because I feel the same way.I am a wash & go girl all the way! I love my hair as big as I can get it and the w&g works for me to attain that volume I adore. It’s fun to play with my hair, I love touching it and fluffing it out with my pick:) I could have a lot more length by now after nearly four years ( I transitioned for 3 & 1/2 yrs because I didn’t want to BC) but I am happy with… Read more »

Natalee
Natalee
8 years ago
Reply to  Tovah

I love your name-that’s my friend’s name too! How do you do your wash and gos? I think I have similar hair, but am maybe using the wrong products or technique.

DreamGirl
DreamGirl
8 years ago

I love PS for the practicality but hate that I can’t do my own hair and have to ask friends to do it for me but in the summer I like leaving my hair “wild” its fun and my shrinkage is CRAZY. I have noticed though that when I don’t do PS my edges grow back quicker.

luminous
luminous
8 years ago

Christabel, your hair looks great!

I’m such a low maintenance girl, I wear my hair in PS just because I don’t want to deal with my hair too often, not really for length. I usually wear my hair in twists and twist outs.

I was the same way when I had a perm, I only wore my hair in a high bun. I hated wearing my hair out when I had a perm.

ChysCurlz
8 years ago
Reply to  luminous

Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment 🙂

Pat
Pat
8 years ago

I’m 50 yrs old and have no desire to gain length that’s not why I went natural but of course my hair grows. I love keeping my hair shaped up and use minimal products in it so I never liked twists and the such, mine unravel due to my hair texture. To each her own but I like to wash, spritz and dampen my hair on a regular basis to style. I love this for me and so carefree.

mangomadness
mangomadness
8 years ago

I’m a braid-out girl…who also loves wearing buns and updos. My hair looks best in a braid-out but buns and updos looks fierce as well.Some weeks I want my hair down and out and other weeks I want it up and away. As long as I switch it up, I’m good. My hair thrives either way.

deb
deb
8 years ago

5 reasons why being natural sucks:

http://burnthehandbook.blogspot.com/2012/09/5‑reasons-goingbeing-natural-sucks.html

Pssst: Protective Styling is #3

Phylicia
Phylicia
8 years ago
Reply to  deb

Who puts this on a site dedicated to empowering/supporting women who choose to wear their hair in its natural state? Crazy. This needs to be un-posted, for real.

Ezea
Ezea
8 years ago
Reply to  Phylicia

Just read the article. Nothing wrong with it.

Candice
Candice
8 years ago
Reply to  deb

Deb I read the post and I don’t like it but I get that every one has the right to their own opinion. Although this is a natural hair care site and why post something negative but.…

Tiredofthebs
Tiredofthebs
8 years ago
Reply to  deb

I found the attached article to be hilarious, it alao had a lot of truth to it too. Personally, I don’t think it was negative, but real, because at the end of the day there are things that everyone doesn’t like about their hair whether it’s natural or not, but because our hair has been put down, some of us can’ take a joke, and take everythin as an insult, even when it’s not.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  deb

I read it. I get it. It’s funny! And I’m still happily natural. *shrug* 🙂

(I do have to ask why anyone is still spending hundreds (?) of dollars for extension styles though when you can buy your own hair and attend a few YouTube University classes 😉 )

Phylicia
Phylicia
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I have no problem recognizing some of the challenges wearing your hair in its natural state poses. However, saying that it sucks to be natural, and listing off a bunch of reasons to support that opinion without indicating any positives isn’t too great either. Just saying. I get the comedic element, and can surely appreciate some of it.

tinabobina
tinabobina
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Youtube University? Yep, I love that place 🙂

Sophie
Sophie
8 years ago

Interesting article! I think this is a good way to think when you find that you like you hair at the length/health it is, and you don’t have to baby it to have your version of “good hair days”. I’m actually sort of switching over on this, from PS to letting my hair be freer. My hair is very fine and easily broken so I don’t like handling it too much, and I would really love for it to grow out long (I’m about 9 inches now after a sort of mini-big-chop after being natural but not gentle for a… Read more »

goyta
goyta
8 years ago

i tried to stick to PSing, but in order for it to work the way the long hair gurus outline it, it would require that i not wash my hair as often as i like. now i’m a twistout/wng girl to a tee, because it allows me the most flexibility and spontaneity. i can actually overcome my hnh syndrome pretty well, but when my scalp gets itchy (2–3 days tops!) i have to answer the call with a prompt washing, and my twists just couldn’t handle it! i actually liked twists, scalpy or no, but they didn’t work out because… Read more »

wds
wds
8 years ago

It’s also worth noting that for some people PS are not a choice. My hair can’t tolerate wash and go’s without hours of care. Even without the added benefit of length PS allow some naturals to manage their hair without giving up their lives.

df
df
8 years ago
Reply to  wds

agreed.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  wds

I disagree. PS are ALWAYS a choice. When it comes to manageability and time management, the TWA is also a choice, as are locs. Between the late-1970s and the mid-1990s, when natural hair was no longer considered “in”, adults who were still natural and had kinky (4b, unpressed) hair wore TWAs, slightly larger ‘fros, or locs pretty much exclusively. Much of what you’re seeing now in terms of longer loose styles (as well as PS that aren’t locs) on kinkier hair types have only become popular in the last 10–15 years or so. Prior to that, what we’re now calling… Read more »

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

I love this article. I hate having to do anything and love the variety of natural hair. I don’t have the patience to twist my hair regularly and love styling variety. I am also a daily co-washer so I am breaking all these natural hair rules lol. I have been loving buns and various updo styles and having so much fun. My growth and retention has been average and I am fine with that. My last relaxer was two years ago and my hair is APL.

evadiva
evadiva
8 years ago

Lovely heads of hair ladies!

Enter this unique coupon code KAP753 when you shop at iherb.com.You can get $10 off your first purchase at iherb.com where you can buy affordable natural beauty products, natural hair products, vitamins and much more. All brands available.Shipping is free.

nikki from N.VA
nikki from N.VA
8 years ago

I come to love my fro wild and frizzy as hell… and my wash and goes its winter time I worry bout it gets cold out here. I only do twists for twist outs…too time cousumin and locs are expensive to start and maintain are for eva (or till u decide to chop em off)

Mahalia
8 years ago

I’m not much of a protective styler either. I basically live in twist outs.

And I love her hair.

Labeebah
Labeebah
8 years ago

I love this post because it continues to highlight the things that I love best about natural hair, variety. Everyone likes different things, wear their hair in different ways, have different curl patterns, different practices, and different lengths. It is not a one size fits all experience and I really treasure that. When I first went curly natural (I haven’t chemically straightened my hair in over 15 years, but I was married to my thermal press), I was obsessed with achieving a successful WNG. Over time, and with a lot of heartache and frustration, I did achieve that awesome WNG,… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
8 years ago

good for you. You have found a way to be happy with your hair, that’s what counts. You may not achieve optimum growth, but you are keeping it reasonably healthy and attractive. You can go about your day feeling good, and that is what we really look for with hair anyway. 🙂

ChysCurlz
8 years ago

Hi ladies, thank you all so much for your wonderful compliments and comments. I knew I wasn’t the only one who has these thought process. I’m glad that my sharing it resonated so much with all of you.

Please check out my video of me discussing it and a mini length check :

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  ChysCurlz

Thanks for the article-Stay true to who you are. Your hair is fabulous and that flat-twist mohawk is my next style! 😉

Camile
Camile
8 years ago

Your coils are lovely!

Jenell
Jenell
8 years ago

Love this post!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_20120915_204710.jpg[/img]

ChysCurlz
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenell

Now, how gorgeous is that head of hair!

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago

This article described me!

I’m a PSer most of the time, but late spring into summer my hair was free and dancing in the sun. I loved playing in it and showing it off. Plus, I learned how to improve my Out-styles. I did NOT love dryness and getting wtf knots though. Now it’s time to twist it up and only wear the ends out on certain occassions or else wear wigs–but that’s just me!

Polibohoglam
Polibohoglam
8 years ago

I went natural for the second time, in part, to enjoy my hair and I don’t feel like I enjoy it as much in protective styles. Twists look horrible on me and frankly, I just LIKE loose styles better. I recognize that WNGs are costing me inches of length retention every year. However, I don’t see the point in retaining length and not feeling as if I LIKE what I’m doing with it. I am also more laissez faire when it comes to my hair, so the planning involved in PSing is not for me. I totally feel her on… Read more »

Rain
Rain
8 years ago

“But for right now, the take away is that, whatever personality type you are, don’t expect it to be different in hair care just because we are dealing with #naturalhair which is often times a new and uncharted territory.” This is the truth for me, it isn’t about PS or WnG but my personality type. Each style in my opinion both have their advantages and disadvantages and takes a certain level of commitment but my personality is about being simple and spontaneous at the same time. I only want to retain length so I can put it in a bun… Read more »

Natalie
Natalie
8 years ago

Although I love all those out styles that Br0nzeqt etc does when I do them they just don’t look as good, even though my hair is as long as hers for some styles they still look crap and twists look crappy on my hair too so I only wear protective styles but because they are protective it is just easier for me. I’ve tried Kinky Curly custard but the day got really hot and sunny and it turned into a frazzled mess. I did a flat twist out style and spent the whole day worrying about my hair, too much… Read more »

Anne
Anne
7 years ago

The top Picture and last one, is so her, she looks good and has a nice hairstyle on her. She definately knows what suits her

Anne
Anne
7 years ago

Oh and the second Pic the Low cut is nice on her too.

Tabatha
Tabatha
7 years ago

My hair is at the stage where its to long for a wash and go, but I can’t really do a PS because certain sections of my hair is short, so it won’t look right.I’m trying to find something that I can do with my length. I just cut some of the relaxer off so it is about mid-ear tight now. I want to do the twist out, but my hair is short so it doesn’t look right on me at the moment and the back section of my hair is too short.

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

Have you tried flat twisting + hats/bandanas/scarves? It’s not necessarily the most professional look, but if you can get away with it for 3–4 days at a time, it’s a great way to protective style. The great thing about flat twists is that your hair can still be short in certain areas without compromising the style or technique 🙂

62
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart