By Chinwe of Hair and Health
Most type 4 naturals benefit from protective styles in order to retain length. Many wear these styles majority of the time. If you have been natural for a while, you probably already know which protective styles work best for you. However, if you are new in your natural journey or maybe you have been natural for some time but have not found the protective style that fits you, check out the following recommendations:
1. Loose Twists – Easiest Takedown
Many of you probably first heard of loose twists while reading some of Cipriana’s posts. Since then, naturals have been adopting the method, including youtuber MsTanish. The benefits of this style – aside from length retention – include that it is fast to put in, easy to take down, and offers versatile styling. Loose twists are ideal for those who want the versatility and appearance of loose hair without actually wearing their hair loose. For more details on how to do and maintain loose twists, watch this video by MsTanish.
2. Box Braids – Longest Lasting
When it comes to length retention of type 4 hair, box braids are probably number one on the list – and also last the longest of these three. This protective style is super low maintenance and can be worn for a longer duration than twists. Additionally, because box braids do not expand as much as twists, you can wash your hair more frequently without worrying about unraveling and serious meshing. Box braids, especially miniature ones, do take time to put in but may be well worth it depending on your lifestyle. This protective style is ideal for those with fine strands since it hinders knots and tangles much more effectively than twists do. For guidance on developing a box braid regimen, watch Pookinapp’s video.
3. Small or Mini “Traditional” Twists – Easy To Do Well
Lastly, “traditional” twists – especially small or miniature ones – are a pretty popular and effective protective style for some type 4 naturals. They are easy to do, low maintenance, and allow for versatile styling. However, they cannot be washed as frequently (if at all) as box braids and also get frizzy faster. Regardless, if you are not quite feeling the maintenance and/or style of loose twists AND you do not want to commit to putting in (and taking down) box braids, then traditional twists – small or mini – may be the best option for you. For one example of a mini twist regimen, check out KinkyKurlyQueen’s video. (You can also check out my blog for my own twist regimen.)
Ladies, have you had success with any of these protective styles?