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Are Naturals Too Obsessed with Protective Styling?

Avatar • Dec 5, 2013

nh-braid

By Jess of Hair Gets Kinky

From the end of December 2010 to the end of February 2011 I decided to maintain protective styles in order to give my ends a break from the harsh cold weather. When I look back on that period of time, I swear 2011 was the year of Protective Style challenges. Everywhere I turned, bloggers were encouraging their readers to protective style in an effort to promote length retention.

I have no problem with this. I just get a little confused when people do something to achieve a goal that they will never showcase or even just enjoy for themselves.

I have no idea what the statistics are, but I am pretty sure that an extremely large percentage of women want long hair–Black women, especially. Because there are so many stereotypes and misconceptions and myths about the ability of Black women to grow their hair long, people will shabach at the very moment they realize they’ve surpassed shoulder length. I know women who do everything they can to keep their hair growing strong and spoil their strands to no end to ensure that they will have long flowing hair some day. Protective styling is just one of the ways that people go about reaching their hair length goals.

But I always wonder…what is the point of bragging about how long your hair is if it’s always tucked under a weave or in a bun or under a hat? Is there just comfort in knowing that at any given moment you can whip it out and swing it? Now, I’m not trying to downplay the importance of protective styling, but…is it possible that some of us are being OVER-protective with our hair?

Are you a chronic protective styler?
What are your goals?
What stops you from ever wearing your hair out?
Are you waiting for a particular hair length goal before you flaunt your locks?
Do you not protective style at all? Why not?

Jessica Gray is the creator of HairGetsKinky.com, a blog dedicated to untangling the kinks of hair, beauty and life.

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Laura Truesdale
Guest

Are you a chronic protective styler? Chronic yes! I put my hair in a bun like allllll the time… What are your goals? My goal is really to maintain the healthiest head…I’m BSL already but I want to reach that curly not straight(if that makes sense) What stops you from ever wearing your hair out? The elements keep me from wearing my hair out. It’s humid here where I stay at…now it’s winter but idk…people always judging my hair when I wear it out anyway. Are you waiting for a particular hair length goal before you flaunt your locks? Oh… Read more »

Chel
Guest
Chel

I’ve never done a protective style that lasted longer than a DAY. And my hair was only in a protective style because I was to lazy to take down my hair from twist or braids or whatever. So I just always threw a satin bonnet with a beanie over it. But me personally I knew from the beginning I’d never protective style, I have 4a hair and I just wanted to show it off as much as I could. Plus if you’re a person wanting to enjoy the hair that grows out your scalp, why constantly cover it up with… Read more »

Simplicity
Guest
Simplicity

I definitley see what you’re saying, but it’s different for different folks. I don’t wear weaves/wigs but I don’t have an issue with the constant wig/weave wearing on others. As for me, most times I really don’t care to show off my hair so it is always in a braided bun, I guess I’m boring like that. But when I am in the mood to frame my face or to have fun with it and just let it hang I like that I can just simply take down the bun or the braids, fluff it and go under 5 minutes,… Read more »

Kaila P
Guest
Kaila P

I like having my hair grow and all that jazz but to be honest I protective style because i“m lazy I absolutely hate having to deal with my hair and so i keep it braided up all the time for the sake of my sanity and so I don’t just chop it all off. But, um, am I the only person not exactly “enojoying” having your hair get longer , it takes like an hour longer than usual to detangle and wash and mositurize and stule. Ain’t nobody got time for that. This is not what I signed up for… Read more »

JH
Guest
JH

I agree with you. Some people, like myself, enjoy protective styling because we don’t have to worry about over manipulating our hair or having to deal with it all the time. I work with a natural who wears her hair out everyday, and it’s beautiful, but my lifestyle prefers the low maintenance of twists. To each his own. Natural hair is beautiful regardless of how it’s styled.

Liz G
Guest
Liz G

I am finding it easier to detangle my hair since it has gotten longer. I feel like the weight of the water makes my hair “hang” and easier to detangle, but every head is different.

Right now my hair is arm pit length when stretched. My goal is to have a twist out that is bra strap, I don’t think I can handle doing my hair past that length lol.

Joclyn
Guest
Joclyn

Yes, I agree! I was wondering the same thing. When does one get to actually enjoy their hair if it is constantly in a protective style, even after one’s goal is reached.

I think that’s why I like the ‘staggered’ protective style method…3 weeks in a protective style and 1 week off. Protect then enjoy :D. I’m going to jump back into that challenge pretty soon 🙂 My goal so far is mid back stretched. I think I’m slightly passed APL when stretched. So it’s longer than I remembering it being when I was a teenager.

Lorell
Guest
Lorell

Are you a chronic protective styler? Yes! My hair is in a bun almost every day. I wear my hair out or partially out about every month. What are your goals? Moisturized hair. What stops you from ever wearing your hair out? Time. I am a lazy person and like spending no more than 10 minutes on my hair in the morning. Having my hair out (usually a twist out or bantu knot out) requires me to dedicate considerably more time than that. Attention. My hair is pretty thick and a little bit past waist length. Because I don’t wear… Read more »

Nappy4C Rocks
Guest
Nappy4C Rocks

I like my legs but dont wear hot pants every day” lol…so true. I believe people do protective styling because of convenience…lifestyle, time management…length retention I believe is the bottom of the list…my hair length is to my eyelids, I’m just lazy

CherishBomb
Guest

I’ve been protective styling for several months now, but I like to wear my hair down when I go out with friends or the first two days after a wash. I, too, have always wondered what the point is if you never wear your hair out. Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes, for example, she has super long hair, but the one and only time *I’ve* ever seen her take it down is for a video demonstrating her routine and even then it was still in those loose twists. I think you may be right about it being comforting just to… Read more »

BeautyIAM
Guest
BeautyIAM

Good questions! Yes I am an unapologetic protective styler 🙂 My main goal was to restore my hair to health. What mainly stops me from wearing my hair out is simple. I SUCK AT STYLING! LOL. Since I have been dutifully protective styling, my hair looks great. But I just don’t know how to maneuver my hair around to create some of these amazing styles I see. I am working on it though. I wasn’t really waiting for a length goal, but I did want my hair to grow. Before I was protective styling, my hair was a mess. So… Read more »

Missc
Guest
Missc

Great question. Whether or not I PS depends on how lazy I’m feeling.…and the weather 🙂 I have tried leaving my hair in a style but I find I need to wash my hair at least every 5–7 days. Won’t do “out styles ” if I know it’s going to rain.…. I have no definitive answer. I liked this article tho lol

A.J.
Guest
A.J.

Great post!! I love it! Here are my answers: Are you a chronic protective styler? Not anymore, my hair is shortes and doesn’t rub on anything when free What are your goals? Somewhere between chin and shoulder length hair when curly What stops you from ever wearing your hair out? Are you waiting for a particular hair length goal before you flaunt your locks? Right now, my hair touches my shoulders in the back, not on the sides when straighten. I HATE WEARING MY HAIR STRAIGHT NOW. When its curly nothing touches my shoulders or rubs against my clothes. So… Read more »

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

Are you a chronic protective styler? As somebody who only wears out styles on the weekends or for special occasions, I suppose the answer to that is yes. What are your hair goals? I used to want my hair at APL unstretched, but other life goals (graduate school, starting a family) have got me wondering if I wouldn’t be just as happy with hair that shoulder length unstretched. It already takes me so long to do my hair–and I really won’t have as much time to dedicate to my hair if things go as planned within the next year or… Read more »

pw
Guest
pw

I just protective styled for a week as I have an ear infection and needed to keep my hair off my ears. I like PSing in the winter as my hair is thick and dries out easily and I love wearing cool hats and sweaters and I do not like my hair rubbing against the wool of my coat. Summer I like my hair out all the time. I think its different for everyone. I do hear more ladies say they PS because they’re lazy vs. Consiously trying to PS and grow hair. Hey maybe some aspects of being lazy… Read more »

Simplicity
Guest
Simplicity

Are you a chronic protective styler? Absolutely. What are your goals? Maintain health, length and to keep my daily and weekly maintenance as simple as possible. What stops you from ever wearing your hair out? For convenience, as well as to avoid tangles and dryness from the elements all because I am too lazy to constantly deal with 3c/4a hip length hair on a daily basis. I rather spend more time on other things. Plus, I already spend enough time 1x or 2x a week detangling so I definitely want to spend less time styling. Are you waiting for a… Read more »

Simplicity
Guest
Simplicity

I meant 1x or every 2 weeks detangling. not 2x a week! that is tooooooooo much lol

sade
Guest
sade

I wear protective styles a lot because I have fine 4b/c strands and I get knots extra easily. Combine that with the fact that I’m lazy, and PS is nice for me lol. I do twist outs tho, because I love the way my hair looks out. It just isn’t for days and days on end.

Courtney
Guest

PS is the only way I’ve been able to retain length past my shoulders. I can’t say I love it in the summer, bc I want to be free and have fun with my hair, and I do 🙂 When it starts getting cold and windy I do enforce PS styling. Not only do I retain a decent amount of length, but it’s easier to deal with under hats, scarves and earmuffs. Texture keeps it interesting for me. When I want to wear it out on special occasions during the winter, I don’t feel guilty about having my ends exposed.

Jovonne
Guest
Jovonne

I’m a lazy person, so yeah I’m obsessed with protective styling.

Leslie
Guest
Leslie

I never considered what I do as protective styling unless I am purposefully doing it to protective style. If I get a weave it’s because I want one although since I’ve been natural I’ve only worn one twice and only for a month each. I may but my hair in a bun or wear twists under a hat all the time but it’s usually not because I am trying to protective style but because I really don’t want to deal with my hair. When I was relaxed I always wore my hair in a bun or underneath a hat or… Read more »

JENNID
Guest
JENNID

Lol at this post. My 4b/c hair will only swing if its in a protective style! My naps don’t roll like that. They go up and out and maybe flop with the length. I mix it up. Sometimes I wear protective styles (sans wigs and waeves) sometimes I wear it out. Because I don’t wear straight styles. Shrinkage often hides much of any noticeable length. I use to protective style 24/7 cause twist was the first natural hair style I had mastered. Now that I can do other things with my hair and understand my breakage points I have eased… Read more »

T
Guest
T

Protective styling really depends on the person though. Some ladies are into them, and others not so much, which is fine! Personally, I protective style (no weaves or wigs–just regular ol’ two strand twists) for the sake of time and because I lead a pretty busy lifestyle. I have realized throughout my journey that I cannot constantly be dealing with my hair, because it can be time-consuming. So instead I will wear my two strand twists three weeks at a time (with daily moisturizing and proper care), and then designate my fourth week to really pamper my hair.…and the cycle… Read more »

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Sometimes I find myself thinking that naturals are obsessed with protective styling. It may just stem from the idea that our hair is too hard to manage. I hear a lot of people suggest that they want to protective style to give their hair and themselves a break. I always wondered, why do you need a break from your hair like it’s a full time job with no benefits? But there is a difference to me between a bun and braids, twists, and weaves. To me, the former is a temporary style and the latter is a long-term style. So… Read more »

Pseudonym
Guest
Pseudonym

I agree. I remember there was a girl profiled who wore her hair in baggies 5–7 days/week. What’s the point? (But, hey, do what you do if it works for you!)

Nicollette Black
Guest
Nicollette Black

I am definitely a chronic protective styler & i don’t really see an issue with it. I do my hair myself so I can always retouch my edges and make sure my hair isn’t done too tight. My biggest reason for protective styling is convenience. I’m a full time college student with two jobs & I don’t have the time to properly care for my hair when it’s out & i find that i get frustrated and handle my hair too rough we I don’t have patience. Doing my hair is a process I have to set a day aside… Read more »

Katrina
Guest
Katrina

I do protective styling although I don’t get braids w hair added bc I can’t detangle, remove shed hairs and condition like Id like With that hair in. My goal is waist length hair and I’m about 2 inches away from that. Funny thing is having hair this long is not a reality to me unless I straighten it. I’m a teacher and my students were very surprised that my hair was so long. They were surprised that a woman with 4a hair could grow her hair to such lengths. In fact that’s the reason I grew it long in… Read more »

Adrienne
Guest
Adrienne

I know exactly how you feel. Prior to going natural the longest I’d ever managed to grow my hair was to my armpits. I was always told that my hair was thick and nappy. And based on other people’s opinions shaping my own, I thought so too. But since going natural nearly 3 years ago my hair has once again reached my armpits and now people constantly tell me how long and beautiful my hair is. And how they wish they could have “good” hair like me…Honestly I never know how to respond to people like this beyond feeling an… Read more »

Candice
Guest
Candice

I do protective styles every 2 months. Not often because I do like flaunting my hair. But I look at weave as a protection thing to protect my mane lol my hair is unique and id like to keep it protected when I get impatient with it after 2 or 4 months . But every women is different I hear white and black saying they just want a change from their regular hair style or a different color. And for some its a time issue. Dealing with work or school , not everyone has the time to pamper their unique… Read more »

Ev'Yan Whitney
Guest

some one was reading my mind with post. I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks how little I see my hair, how much I miss it, & wondering why I continue PS. I had (white) friends tell me the other day that, in not so many words, they never see my hair down. they’re obviously curious about my hair, & they’re super sweet about it, but they don’t know my struggle. I think the worst part is the guilt; like, feeling guilty that you’re not wearing your hair out “enough.” I am going through those feelings right now. I… Read more »

Ev'Yan Whitney
Guest

ha! just had to share this one. I’m talking to my (white) husband about all this, kind of educating him on how black hair works, & he says to me…

With protective styling, what exactly are you protecting your hair from? Danger?”

his question made laugh, then it made me think.

ammamama
Guest

LOL Hilarious

A J
Guest
A J

I wear protective styling, my own braids often because I workout everyday. It is so much easier for me to wear a scarf tie it up my braids for a workout than to style it everyday because I will sweat out the style.

Robin
Guest
Robin

I haven’t worn what most call a protective style in years. I’m mostly a wash and go woman, with the occasional full braid/twist out. And when I do the latter, I only wear the braids or twists overnight and take ’em down in the morning. I don’t even like doing braid/twist outs unless I plan to wear a ponytail. I love my coils and curls. I have 4 or 5 different natural textures in my hair, and I like almost all of them. (The outcast is usually the loosest texture. For folks who prescribe to hair typing: in a sea… Read more »

LaShelle
Guest
LaShelle

I’ve keep my hair in protective styles 90% of the time for the last 6 years. Once my hair reached MBL I was through!! It was too long. I wore protective styles to a fault; my hair in the front was short, breaking and hard to grow out because of me pulling it back all the time. It was Hard to maintain and I didn’t see the point if I never wore it out. I cut 6–8 inches off 2 weeks ago. Folks were like “whhyyyyy?!?!”. And I’m like why not? When’s the last time you saw me wear it… Read more »

Cece Danielle
Guest
Cece Danielle

I protective style about 85–90% of the time…I have predominately 4b hair so I wear Protective styles frequently to prevent my hair rubbing up against my shoulders and tangling upon itself when I wear it ‘out.’ I probably could wear it out more, but I’m a college student/transitioning to grad student so its just less of a hassle. My length goals are waist length and hip length so length retention is an absolute must for me.

TWAtl
Guest
TWAtl

I am currently wearing protective styles as i am desparate to grow my 4c hair to a manageable length — not necessarily waist length or mid-back length or any of that stuff, just so I can throw it in a ponytail or bun when I want to. Another plus is that, even though I don’t really like the styles as I don’t add extensions — its sooooo convenient compared to dealing with my hair ‘out’. I suspect many people have similar experiences.

Jyl
Guest
Jyl

I rarely wear protective styles. I love wearing my hair out and my PS don’t last anyway (thin hair). I rely on my hair care practices for protection from the elements. I keep it well moisturized and sealed and keep manipulation to a minimum. I’ve had very satisfactory growth and retention over this first year.

Nicollette
Guest
Nicollette

I love this article! I agree. I rarely do protective styles but know lots of ladies that do. I’m a full time college student and working as well but I think protective styles get old and don’t look good on me. I have a round face and I just look better with my own free flowing poofy volumnous hair. Also, keeping my hair in a ponytail or bun breaks my hair out in the top because of the pulling and elastic band (even the ouchless ones). I figure It’s easier to trim my shabby ends versus cutting my hair because… Read more »

Jazmin
Guest
Jazmin

I am a chronic protective styler, but it’s not because I’m trying to reach crazy hair goals. I protective style to avoid having to do my hair. I work full time, I’m a full time grad student and I’m heavily involved in my community, so I try to keep my hair healthy while not spending a lot of time on it. My protective style of choice is twist (natural hair) or Senegalese twist/box braids (extensions). I’ve been natural for 3 years, almost a year and a half ago i suffered from severe heat damage so I’ve been transitioning heat free… Read more »

Erica
Guest

I NEVER wear protective styles (unless the pineapple or twists overnight count). I would love to but my strands are so fine that I’m afraid typical protective styles will be damaging. I’ve been natural for 3 years, but I only count this year because it’s the first time I’ve actually understood how to take care of it. Does anybody else have the fine, thin hair struggle? If so, what protective styles work for you?

Jyl
Guest
Jyl

I have thin hair and I haven’t found a protective style that will keep for longer than 3 or 4 days. Cornrows come a‑loose, tucked sections slip out of bobby pins and even mini-twists untwist themselves after two or three days. I still do mini-twists from time to time and try to keep them in a week, but I spend the last 4 days of that week re-twisting all the loosies.

Danielle
Guest

I definitely believe some of us are way too obsessed with protective styling like braids, extensions, weaves. I think that some people may have forgotten that if worn all the time they do cause breakage, they eat out your edges, and can thin out your hair. Before all this protective style excitement we did them in moderation. I like wigs and clip ins because at the end of the day you can take it out. I love my hair and I flaunt what I got but when I need something new or a break from styling I put it up… Read more »

TT
Guest
TT

wigs and clip-ins can also cause breakage and hair loss… I never had any thinning along my edges until I wore a wig and I wasn’t even wearing it 24/7.

stephanieb
Guest
stephanieb

I agree TT, I’m wearing a wig now, and it has thinned out my edges as well. It’s a doubled edged sword because the rest of my hair has grown so good, but my edges have thinned, but I think that’s why moderation is the key. You can’t wear a wig but for so long and not experience any damage.

mlank64
Guest
mlank64

I don’t do protective styles. I do low maintence styles like buns or I’ll pull it back to the side in a low bun and then other times I wear it out. Wash day I will twist my hair to set it for the next day then after that I wear my hair untwisted.
Protective styles are cute and I probably will do more in the future. Right now, I just enjoy wearing my hair out and I still get growth.

Caramelcurls
Guest
Caramelcurls

The only protective style that I do is semi-mini twists. My MAIN MOTIVATION is to save time. That’s it! lol When my hair was shorter, I rarely protective styled and it grew and was healthy all the same. Protective styling doesn’t take the place of having a healthy diet, taking care of your scalp, etc. I tend to wear my hair out on the weekends when I have more time.

cacey
Guest
cacey

i hardly ever protective style anymore. in 2011 i did but that was way before i became privvy to the internet world of natural hair. i PSd by default, simply because my hair was 13 inches long and it was always in my way whenever i wore it down (at the time i kept it flat ironed) so everyday, religiously i threw my hair up into a reverse french braid updo, and sometimes would go several days without touching it. hence the length, the longest length i’d reached since my childhood days. for some people, PSing is something they do… Read more »

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

I agree with you 100% about the low-manipulation aspect. I wear wash-and-goes 98% of the time. The only time my hair is up is when I’m at home: I’ll wear it in a pineapple or a high bun to avoid friction with my couch and other fabrics. I get great, consistent growth. I am not that great at styling, and I find that when I do attempt styling (braid-outs, bantu-knot outs, flexi rods, etc.), I feel like I get more breakage due to the manipulation. Wearing my hair in a w‑n-g is the best low-manipulation style for me at the… Read more »

Mary in Md
Guest
Mary in Md

I protective styled for the last 4 years at least 90% of the time because I wanted to grow my heat damaged hair out in the shortest amount of time possible. I also wanted to shut up someone close to me who categorized my hair as “bad hair.” Anyhoo, today I am pretty satisfied with the nearly waist length hair I have achieved. I try to wear it out each weekend and I will occasionally wear it out for a day or so during the week. I keep it tucked away now primarily for convenience. I don’t want to straighten… Read more »

sb
Guest
sb

@Ev’Yan Whitney that was hilarious, and so sweet 🙂 Sometimes we need a different perspective.

Let me be the first to say wear your hair, how you see fit. But it does sadden me when I see black woman w/beautiful hair, PSing, under wigs all the time.
They can’t be protecting their hair all the time. It’s not that they believe the wig is easier is that also deep inside they think it’s better. And that saddens me to think they don’t think their own hair is good enough to wear out public.

Deedeemaha
Guest
Deedeemaha

This was a good read. I don’t do much PS. I wear about 8 large twist when I go to bed. I may or may not take them out it depends where I’m going put a hat, earrings and go. I like wearing my hair out. I was taking to my husband about our hair. Our conversation points. In the 70’s Afro era, most blacks did not PS. The Afros were all sizes large, small, thick, thin etc. you get the point. If they did a braid out, they would comb or pick the definition right out. There was no… Read more »

lablooplah
Guest
lablooplah

I protective style when I’m feeling lazy, mostly because my school is no joke in the academic department, so when finals week is aproaching, i wear mini twists and it makes my life so much easier since i just keep my twists in a pony tail and maybe a nice cute braid at the front, made from the twists. Also, I go to school in Florida so i am able to wear my hair out, but once the tempratures goes to 70 and below, my hair feels, meh. Like it just dries out really fast. Furthermore, Christmas break is approaching… Read more »

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

Same. I honestly never call what I’m doing ‘protective styling’ and this is a serious year for me at school so I decided to put yarn braids in for 3 months, wear my hair out, then out some Havana twist in right before the next semester begins. Someone asked me if I was doing a protective style challenge and I was like ‘Huh? No I just like to switch it up plus this is low maintenance.’ I love wearing my fro out and can not stand to have it hiding for too long. People are obsessed with protective styles because… Read more »

Ubah Luar
Guest
Ubah Luar

You got me laughing @ the ‘someone asked me if i do a protective style challenge”:)

Doris
Guest
Doris

I feel you girl! I have the same opinion about protective style. For my part I use protective style because I am lazy (I really LOVE my hair btw), but sometimes I am in such a rush and I can’t manage my hair (bad hair day lool). And when it is cold my scalp is really fussy: eczema for instance. So in winter or summer I juggle with my natural hair out or in protective style. I box-braid my hair myself, because in France to have you hair done is a salary!! I swear people want to steal my money!!!!… Read more »

Jane
Guest
Jane

I either protective style religiously for a few months or do absolutely no styling to my hair for a few months. There is no in between (like no braid/twist outs, bantu knots, manipulated WnG’s) and it’s all because of laziness! My protective styles are usually twist or braid extensions and I leave them in for several weeks. The hair growth is a big perk, but my main motivation is laziness lol.

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

Reading through some of these comments I guess I’m confused. When I’m feeling lazy and decide to throw my hair into some twist or infer a hat I don’t consider myself ‘protective styling’… I’m just… Styling. I like hats. I like the way my two strand twist look, I live yarn braids. I feel like this is the same thing as naturals calling it a ‘big chop’ whenever a woman cuts a significant amount of her hair off. Sometimes it’s JUST a hair cut.… Sometimes (all the time for me) I’m just styling my hair in different styles and some… Read more »

Yvette
Guest

Yup that would be meeeeee! Initially my protective styles were meant to help me grow out years of heat damage. 2 years later heat damage has grown out, but for some reason, I’m still rocking my p.s. I wear my hair out (and usually just the front) maybe 2–3 times a month–if that! But as of lately I’ve been asking mysef “why??” I think for the most part it’s convenience. I’m not a morning person and taking the time to style my hair at 7am sucks — as well as having to twist it back up or whatever at night.… Read more »

Gigi
Guest
Gigi

I wear protective styles 100% of the time because it is easy for me to take care of my hair and minimize tangles if it’s kept in braids or twists. I can do a lot with my twists, but I prefer to keep them up in a bun. I have a toddler at home so I don’t like fussy hairstyles that take a lot of time to do.

Don't worry
Guest
Don't worry

Protective styling has helped me retain so much length. I wash, twist my hair, leave it in for 2 weeks at the most, take them out let my hair breathe for a week or two and repeat! I will continue this until I’m at my desired length (mid back when curly, waist length when stretched). I shaved all my hair off..it was so damaged from coloring and perming & straightening. I knew I had to start all over… fast forward to today It feels amazing not to have to depend on all of those things anymore. This site and CurlyNikki… Read more »

LBell
Guest
LBell

Some quick comments regarding the conversation so far: - To those of you who say “I PS because I’m lazy”…may I suggest changing that to “I PS because I have better things to do than spending goo-gobs of time on my hair”? That’s not laziness…that’s good time management. 🙂 — The commenter whose husband asked what she’s protecting her hair from…that’s a good one. 🙂 — Hey, some of us LIKE PS…not all of us are affected or impressed by Pantene and Garnier Fructis commercials showing long manes blowing in the breeze. If and when I get to my goal… Read more »

Nappy4CRocks
Guest
Nappy4CRocks

umm, sorry I’m lazy

LBell
Guest
LBell

I was trying to help! lol 🙂

AC
Guest
AC

I’m not a chronic protective styler, I protective style when it’s crunch time (college student) .. which would be about now, it’s finals week pray for me ya’ll. I really just want healthy hair.. it’s a battle right now, soo many setbacks smh and Idek what length i’m going for, shoulder length curly maybe? I have a loooong way to go.

RV
Guest
RV

Did my second BC in 2011 and used PS from Feb2012- July2013 to grow my hair out. I mean, my real hair was out maybe 3 times during those months. I stopped putting in PS in August of this year until now. I will be going to get my PS put back in a few days before Christmas because it is toooooo cold to have my hair hanging out. I’ve grown and retained some nice length in the pas 24 months and I want to “protect” my hair from these harsh winter winds. Maybe I’ll wear my hair out again… Read more »

gapch
Guest
gapch

for some people “protective styles” are just time savers; they’re covenient — nothing more nothing less

but i get your point of view — i say to each its own

Nina
Guest
Nina

Something funny came to mind when I read this article. Over-protective styling reminds me of the people who put the plastic covers over their couches. They are so concerned with protecting their furniture that they can’t even enjoy it for fear of staining or destroying what they paid for. Anyway, I agree with a lot of the comments; protective styling is extremely convenient. However, I do believe that one can over do it. I used to wear twists 99.9% of the time for over three years; rarely wearing my hair out. Protective styling, I felt was the only way to… Read more »

JoSomebody
Guest
JoSomebody

Haven’t read all the comments, but the article seems to completely ignore the ‘styling’ part of ‘protective styling’. When I’m in mini-twists or bantu knots, my hair is styled beautifully thank you very much. I AM showing it off. I just also happen to be protecting it too. The ‘protective’ things I do that aren’t styles are hats, scarves and african threading. And I, personally, do not go months with my hair in thread. Out hair is just but ONE range of styles that looks good. Wearing the hair out all the time would be just as boring to me… Read more »

JoSomebody
Guest
JoSomebody

…as people’s protective styling all the time seems to be to the author…’ I meant to say!

Cardenie
Guest

I think assuming protective styling will always work for length retention can be problematic. For me, leaving PS in too long causes knots and eventually my hair will start to loc. Taking it down causes breakage. And washing my hair in braids or twists? NO. Tangled, hot mess. The only PS I do is 2‑stranded twists, and only when I want to have nothing to do with my hair for a bit. Otherwise, I wear chunky fros or puffs (taking special care with my edges). At night, I dampen/moisturize and put hair in 4–6 large twists that I pin, to… Read more »

tasha fierce
Guest
tasha fierce

makes sense if your hair is short and you want to grow it, but if your hair is long why not flaunt it? at least on the weekends.

tmc (toronto meetup dec14)
Guest

i only do protective styling few times in ayear. my hair has been out since May and i’ve retained around the same length i retained in the first 5 months of PS. My hair cares less for PS, but i do enjoy not having to spend the extra time on my hair in the morning and at night when my hair ihas been put away. I wrote a few times about PS on my blog. you should check them out.
http://themanecaptain.blogspot.com/2013/10/protective-styling-who-what-when-where.html

http://themanecaptain.blogspot.ca/2013/09/hits-and-misses-with-protective-styling.html

linda
Guest
linda

I don’t think that protective styling is only about length retention. Most of us protective style not only because we want to or feel lazy but also because that is the easiest way to manage the type of hair we have. The longer the hair gets the more time it takes to take care of it. Yes we can let it flow from time to time but we know what extra steps and TLC it will require before and after we let the hair out. Most people who have long hair usually tie it out of the way. It doesn’t… Read more »

Maria V.
Guest

I protective style out of pure laziness. I love the convenience of wearing wigs because my look is transformed in seconds with little to no effort. HOLLA!

OGC
Guest
OGC

My name is OGC and I am obsessed with protective styling. At first, I just loved wearing my hair in braids with extensions, because my hair flourished and maintenance was easy. Then I started wearing my hair all the time and I loved it. However, I did not love the amount of money I spent on products, the detangling sessions, and breakage from hand in the hair syndrome. Last year, I had a crazy schedule (got the job I always wanted + university). I had no time for giving my hair the attention it needed, so protective styling (twist and… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Honestly I understand both sides.…but we forget protective styling was never even a big thing for black hair or hair in general until a couple years ago. I’ve had relaxed hair down my back and even being 3 years natural now and I’ve never really done protective styling and once I straighten my hair it’s down my back. Actually I’ve seen a lot of black women with gorgeous, long, natural, and relaxed hair down their backs and they all stated that it just really took years for it to get there and they made sure that they were healthy. So… Read more »

Ubah Luar
Guest
Ubah Luar

I DONT DO protective styles.…the most ‘protective’ will be a high bun or low bun.
Twist longer then 3 days will not work for me..Im one of the naturals that can’t handle it.

@ the Twitter post: On point comment im all for long loose and some thimes bunned up hair
<3

Faustina
Guest
Faustina

In my opinion some naturals and non naturals are too obsessed with protective styles, whether its due to length or laziness i’m unsure. I’m currently trying to convince my friends to take at least two month breaks between braids, but some are just obsessed even though it wrecks havoc on your hair line. I think weave becoming more mainstream has fuelled this obsession, i only see some of the girls n my school without weave for the minimum of two weeks.It seems like its a drug for them, once they start wearing it they cant stop.

Mlle Batifole
Guest
Mlle Batifole

I wear my hair in protective styles because I enjoy it. My hair tends to tangle more now it’s longer so protective styles allow me to minimize tangles and therefore breakage. Plus there are tons of cute protective styles out there to try and not get bored (so many of these styles I discovered on this site.). Frankly, I think it is getting tiring of reading/hearing about how protective styling is boring or illustrates that women are length obsessed or even that they are not enjoying their long hair. There are many different ways to enjoy your hair. Why do… Read more »

ChiChi
Guest
ChiChi

I’m so obsessed with BIG hair. I wear twist / braid outs most of the time, but I do put my hair in a protective style so it can grow. As I stated before I love big hair so to retrieve some length retenth I protect it and stay out of it.

gtfohwtbs
Guest
gtfohwtbs

So what? What is it to a person what another person chooses to do with his/ her hair. Live and let live.

Guest1234
Guest
Guest1234

I don’t even know what protective styling means. If I wear buns every day at work, does that count as a protective style? Does it essentially mean any style that’s not “out?”

just another girl
Guest
just another girl

it pretty much means you wear your hair in low manipulation styles where you hide your hair ends from environmental elements, eg buns, so yes you wear a protective style

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

I’m not a chronic protective styler. It’s not my thing. I don’t need to “hide” my hair in order to retain length nor is length retention the most important thing to me with regard to my kinky coily hair.

My hair goals are to maintain health, retain length and do fun hair styles.

I wear my hair out often — mainly in braid-outs. I wear my hair up in a protective style (buns & updos on braid-outs) if want to or if I’m busy with school or other commitments.

amy
Guest
amy

I get confused when ppl set a goal they will never showcase or never get to enjoy” lol ok…1. If I HAVE a goal why does it matter who takes notice, sometimes instrinsic motivation is enough. 2. “Never” is an absolute, I wear prot. Styles 90% of the time. 1.less hassle more time in the morning for school. 2. My hair grows the best when I don’t touch it.

ChelleBelle
Guest
ChelleBelle

i.ve wondered at this myself. Whats the point in having long hair if you’ve got to wrap it up most of the time? I just took it as a “necessary evil” lol’

just another girl
Guest
just another girl

well..i actually am a protective styler.. chronic actually…and initially.. it wasnt for length at all.…in jamaica, high schools are very specific about hair styling, so initially, it was just for ease for styling every morning (since i’d just go in a bun) and this continued as i got natural (in fact because of the buns and braiding, i didnt even realise my transition), now in university..i just..continued it because.. its soo much easier esp w/ late study nights, just wake up w/ a hair full of twists and be on my way. and yeessss my hair grew immensely, but it… Read more »

Rose z
Guest
Rose z

Who says it’s a “protective” style? Maybe it’s just a style for them. I wear braids, buns etc. because I like the way they look. Yes I am trying to repair the damage I’ve done to my hair over the years with relaxers and flat ironing but I wear the styles because I like the way they look. I’m not trying to “hide” anything.

riah loves puffy
Guest
riah loves puffy

I wear buns alot now, i know it’s a protective style but that’s not my sole purpose for rocking this style. I’m a 12th grader and I’m busy busy busy! The bun is quick and it saves me time,but i mostly wear my hair out in a puff or Mohawk 🙂

Bev Willis
Guest
Bev Willis

I protective style and just got a weave yesterday. I wear my hair out occassionally. The natural ladies that I follow on the blogs that have midback hair and longer for the most part have protective styled and achieved great retention results of their hair. It is up to the individual and what their hair goals are.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/CityIsland2012a.jpg[/img]

Kelcie
Guest
Kelcie

My name is Kelcie and I’m a chronic protective styler. (Crowd says “Hello Kelcie!”) I don’t intentionally want to be a protective styler for the rest of my life, but whenever I wear my hair out (4b,c) whether it be a fro, twist out or whatever it frizzes up like nobody’s business. Then I have a hard time combing it out because it has tangled up. My twist outs look like Side Show Bob from the Simpsons. I’ve tried every product under the sun. Spent loads of money on products trying to get it to “act right” and to no… Read more »

lottie b!
Guest

I have 3c-4a hair that mats at the root and twist and tangle relentlessly when I wear it loose. I wore twists and coils before they became the “look”. I’ve been natural since 1989, shaved my 16″ afro down to 1″, and am currently back at 16″(goal is 20″). Back in the day we didn’t talk about protective stylin’ we just rocked awesome braided styles. I now CHOOSE to protective style 75% of the time. That’s 9 months out of the year. We all have our reasons for doing whatever we do to our hair or otherwise. I don’t feel… Read more »

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[…] Girl Long Hair recently posted an article that posed the question: Are naturals too obsessed with protective styling? The author of the article, Jess of Hair Gets Kinky, discusses how protective styling has for many […]

Pat
Guest

No protective styles for me, my hair will not keep a twist as it unravels and stretches alot. In addition some of the styles make me look very juvenile so I wear my hair loose which is more stylish on me. I never wore weave so that wouldn’t work either and not a fan of buns, wore too many of those in my 30’s.

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I wore Braids in the navy because it made it easier. You had to wear you cover everywhere you went and it was hard on my hair. I couldn’t wear a scarf under my cover. Also it kept my hands out of my head and that time I was rough with my hair. My cousin wears wigs because it gives her a different look with out adding other stuff to damage her hair. If she wants hombre she has a wig for it. if she wants a bob she’s got that. She likes to change up her hair, but she… Read more »

K Murray
Guest
K Murray

I mostly wear braids, twists, buns, and updos for the convenience in the mornings. And the growth potential protective styles offer is GREAT! I wear my hair out only for special occasions. But to each his own and that’s the FUN OF NATURAL HAIR!

Jerseryvixen
Guest
Jerseryvixen

For the ladies who say they wear protective styles because their hair mats and tangles when out. I am here to help, i have what they call 4b. I call it nappy, and i love wearing it out, frows, cornrows, twists, bantu knots, rt now im rocking twostrand flat twists with a puff in front. “protective” styling means your actual hair is never out to be “trained”, by “trained” i mean to directly receive moisture, be detangled , twisted, trimmed and daily ” proper” scalp massages. I have found by wearing my hair out, periodic scalp treatments, using castor oils… Read more »

Shay
Guest
Shay

I have had heat damage for a year now and protective styling is my life saver. I wouldnt know what else to do with out it.

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

As a child, my hair was in its natural state and a protective style 90% of the time (with a press and curl for 3–4 special occasions a year). My hair was mid-back length and I rarely had a split end. This healthy state was achieved without any need for special shampoos or deep conditioners so I believe in protective styles. Now I’m a working mom, single parent of two, and I have 3 chronic illnesses that have wrecked havoc on my hair. I wore my hair exclusively in protective styles the past nine months because I was too tired… Read more »

Ceemac
Guest

Have you EVAH tried maintaining a workout regimen with 4b/c/efg hair? I sweat profusely and gain wait easily. It is impossible to make this kinkier than most hair respond well to that kind of pounding. I, unlike some others, take no joy in having to twist my hair down every night. I’m wearing my hair out this week and will continue doing that every other month or so, but until I see a viable solution for THIS kind of hair, a protective style is my only choice.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Actually.…

I work out 5–6 days a week. I do not wear long-term protective styles. The most I’d wear is a french braids for a day or two. How is your scalp clean you if don’t wash your hair? Women with 4c hair always act like it’s so limiting and difficult. It definitely stems from that old train of thought which says thick, coily hair is so “bad” or needs taming.

aprilracine
Guest
aprilracine

I’m currently wearing mini braids without extensions for 10 weeks. I workout and do a lot of home improvement. I also have 4c hair. The longer my hair gets the more time it takes. She never said that she doesn’t wash her hair. You made an assumption. I’m three weeks in and I have cowashed three times and shampoo three times also. I test a different braid everyday to make sure they don’t tangle.

Crysterical
Guest

HAHAHAHA 4b/c/efg!!! girl…#icant too funny! I feel you 100%, if that’s a classification, it’s what I GOT! And bikram yoga is not too kind to a wash n go.

aleathea
Guest
aleathea

Love it. I agree completely

Kiki Jackson
Guest

I wore protective style because I was not brave enough to big chop. At about 1.5 years I started to wear my hair out more often. I will be 2yrs next month and I plan to wear protective style without weave for the majority of 2014. I also have done a lot of researching while I had my protective styling.

Brittany Walls
Guest

How do you get featued or write for the blackgirllonghair blog? I would love to write for this blog!

SonyaPJ
Guest
SonyaPJ

I’m a firm believer in doing what works for YOU. I use protective styles two times a year, and usually it’s during the winter because I live in the midwest where the winters are harsh and long. I love giving my hair that break, but still wash and condition my hair while it’s in the protective style as well as oil my scalp. There are some naturals who seem obsessed with protective styling, but again if that works for THEM, then more power to them. I don’t stretch my hair, I don’t use heat in it often, nor have I… Read more »

Aliyah
Guest
Aliyah

I think I over protective style I won’t stop protective styling untill I’m 5 years natural by then I should be past arm pit length . So I’m doing this for another4 years then I’ll do low manipulation styling for the rest of my life .

Imade Iyamu
Guest

Wow 5 years just to get armpit length? Armpit length doesn’t take up to 3 years. Protective styling for 5 whole years just sounds scary. You’ll wake up with long hair that you can’t deal with & know nothing about. Long hair is harder to care for than short. You’ll just probably end up going back to protective styles.. Or relaxing it in the end.

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[…] Girl Long Hair recently posted an article that posed the question: Are naturals too obsessed with protective styling? The author of the article, Jess of Hair Gets Kinky, discusses how protective styling has for many […]

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