Hair Blogger Aisha O'Reilly Shares Her Top Tips on Protective Styling

Check out her blog for more top tips! 

Aisha The benefits of protective styling2 Fotor 

Protective styling is being punted as a new phenomenon. Don’t let the name scare you, it’s much simpler to do than you may think.


So, what does protective styling mean?

A protective style is a style that protects your hair, especially the weaker and older ends, from the elements and excess manipulation.

I've been doing it for years but some of my readers were still shocked that I had a weave put in a couple weeks ago. I often get asked:Why do you put your hair in a weave when it looks nice on its own? Your hair is much longer than mine, you don't need a weave.Well, no I don't need one but unless you have a genetic or dermatological condition, hair breakage is the main reason for not seeing hair growth. If you'd like to retain your length, a healthy protective styling routine can be a great way to reach your goal.

Here are five reasons to put your hair into a protective style this winter:


1. Weather

Our hair doesn't respond well to extreme weather conditions. Whether it's too hot or very cold, the weather and climate of a place can wreak havoc on your hair. Winter is the main reason why I always put my hair away. Even before I went natural, I would rock a weave or braids in the colder months of the year while letting my hair out in summer. Excessively cold and hot air dries out our hair, which is the most common cause of breakage. By putting your hair away, you're protecting it from the harsh elements, therefore helping to retain your length.


2. Laziness or lack of time

For healthy, long hair, you need to put in the time. It's all good and well to have great products but if you're always rushing to wash, detangle or even set your hair for bed, you're setting yourself up for disappointment in your journey. For some people, washing their hair can take hours but that's too long for others. Setting your hair for bed doesn't need to take you ages but if you can't or you're not willing to put in the ten or fifteen minutes it takes to prep your hair in the evening and if your hair is like anything like mine, it'll get tangled and matted. That's a no-no for healthy hair. When I've known that a busy period is coming up and I won't be able to dedicate the time to maintain my own hair, I get a style installed. That way I know it's safely tucked away and I can go about what's keeping me so busy with peace of mind.


3. Manipulation

Many of us don't fare well when we style or manipulate our hair everyday. If you're like me and like to change it up, by all means do so. Just keep in mind that it's not the best way to reach a length goal. By protective styling, even if it's a mini style that lasts a week, you're lessening the amount of hair breakage that comes from over styling. Less breakage = more length retention.


4. Friction

If you're already past the TWA (teeny weeny afro) stage and your hair is neck-length, the friction that comes from your hair grazing your clothes, especially scarves etc. can cause it to break. I love my natural hair, but sometimes I need to protect it from itself. That's why I often do updos of some sort so that my ends aren't grazing my neck or my snood. The couple of times I've had hair out while wearing a snood, the amount of curlies that were caught in that thing is scary. 


5. Boredom

Let's face it, as women, we like to change things up every once in awhile. And there are many styles we simply can't do with our own hair. So instead of changing our own hair every two or three months, we can put some extensions in to “fake” it. We're lucky that our choices are so varied. Tired of your short hair? Get a long weave. Bored of your straight, long hair? Get a bold short ‘do. The options are endless, all while not damaging your own hair.

My protective style of choice is mostly the weave. I love other styles like braids, cornrows and twists, but for the past couple of years a weave has been my go to style mainly because of the time it takes to install and to remove. Plus there are so many types out there, I love changing it up.


Important to remember: The worst thing you can do when you've installed a protective style is forget about your hair. Just because it's "away" doesn't mean it's not there anymore. It still needs maintenance and TLC to thrive. So, make sure to wash and condition it regularly, and give it a drink of water often. Also, if you're using any kind of extensions, please make sure that they're not installed so tightly. I know many of us grew up thinking the tighter the weave or braids the longer the style will last. But this mentality is very dangerous and can lead to traction alopecia (hair loss due to tension). Tightness does not actually prolong your style but rather damages your own hair and hairline hence the vicious cycle of putting a weave or wig on to cover up the hair loss.


Love these top tips BB's? Follow Aisha on or let Aisha know on Twitter @aishaandlife or Facebook @MyFroandI or comment in the box below! 

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