As a long-time protective styler, I can relate to those who get bored or even frustrated with keeping their hair bounded and off of their shoulders or backs. That is when these suggestions come into play:
1. For you twisters (or braiders), leave some hair untwisted (or unbraided)
This is something that helped me survive my first few years of back-to-back protective styling. I would twist my entire head, undo a few twists some days later and pin the resulting twist-out sections to form a new protective style. Alternatively, I would go the semi-protective route (that is, leaving some of my hair out and free) via a loose bang. This method of wearing a “partial twist out (or braid out)” is a great way to break the monotony of protective styling. Essentially, while the rest of your hair stays twisted (or braided), the front of your hair that is out is available for you to play up your style.
2. Switch between stretched styles and twisted/braided styles
Sometimes, I play a trick on my brain by switching from a stretched bun, for example, to twists in a bun. While both looks are technically protective – and buns – the switch seems to dim the boredom that can come with regular protective styling. I do the same with updos as well; for example, I’ll go from twists in an updo to a twist out in an updo.
3. Add some hair extensions
When I first big chopped, I thought short and stubby twists were not a good look on me, so I experimented with hair extensions a few times. For example, I would get braid extensions with loose ends or attach some loose Marley braid hair for more length or fullness. Wigs and crochet braids are a few other great alternatives, especially since you can keep your hair protected (that is, in cornrows) underneath. Whichever method you choose, the fact that your adding length or fullness while protecting your real hair can help you beat protective styling frustration, especially for those naturals in the short or awkward phase.
4. Let your hair out on the weekends
Whether this means undo-ing your braids to wear a braid out or letting your hair down (or out) after a week in buns is up to you. As a long-term protective styler, I did not do this every weekend, but the times that I did, it too helped to break the monotony of my routine. Come some Fridays, I was ready to let me hair out and wore it that way for the weekend. Then, come Sunday, I was tired of the loose hair and ready to go back into twists. Most of the time, it went like clockwork!
How do you get past protective styling frustration and boredom?