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FEATURES Oct 15 2013 8:07PM
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When Protective Hairstyles Stop Becoming Protective

I know many people love protective styling, especially naturalistas, because it just gives us that much-needed break we need to take from fussing over our hair. However, we sometimes abuse this chance, and feel the term protective styling is synonymous to laziness.

Many people feel protective styling just means braiding with extensions, fixing weaves, flat braids, and just forgetting about the hair. If we don’t take care at times, the whole protective styling thing can just turn around and bite us in the butt, and not do any protecting of our hair at all.

So when does protective styling stop becoming protective?

1. When your extensions begin to gather build up, and form yucky stuffs at your base at the base of your hair. At this point, you pretty cannot clean or wash those things away until you remove the extensions. Just get rid of the extension along with the sentiments. For some people, this doesn’t happen till they hair has stayed for about five weeks. For some others, it starts as early as two weeks. It depends on the environment, products used, and cleaning method. Whatever happens, once it starts, loose the extensions or say bye to your hair.
2. When you keep twirling the hair, rotating the base of the braids, while still in extensions. This phenomenon is common at the front edge area of the hair. If you notice most ladies in box braids with attachment, you will see that the hair has rotated, so that it has a cylindrical shape. The continuous rotation stresses the edges, and eventually causes it to break away. When you play with your hair, whether your twists/braids are in extensions or not, you stress the hair too, and the already fragile thing just gets tired, and runs away from your head.
3. When you carry it for too long. Whatever you do, I really don’t recommend carrying protective styles for more than 10 weeks, which is too long (just my opinion), especially in a region like Africa. Don’t ruin your hair because of laziness. If you love the style so much, loose it, and remake it after a couple of days.
4. When your braids are too tiny or tight. Ha ha, many people are guilty of doing this injustice to their hair. Please people, tell me what is protective about a style that is guaranteed to pull your hair out.
5. When you begin to manipulate it anyhow, stressing the braids with extensions. When pack your hair this way today, that way tomorrow, left bun today, right bun tomorrow, updo on Friday, and flapper style on Saturday, just because you have installed very long extensions, you are asking for serious trouble. And I can assure you, you will get it when you take those extensions off.
6. When you don't moisturise, because your hair is hidden in extensions, and the extension is beautiful. What do you care most about, your hair or your extensions? Please, please, please, whatever style your hair is in, make sure it is always moisturised. Whether your hair is hidden in weaves, extensions, under your chair, or in your pot of soup, please, take care of it by moisturising. If you do not, it will dry out, and you will most likely face breakage problems when you hair gets revealed.

I hope I have been able to make you smile, but at the same time convinced and not confuse you about the fact that protective styling is not synonymous to laziness. Lol
Atilola is a writer, greatly in love with natural hair, and everything that has to do with it. She is the founder of African Naturalistas, the leading Natural Hair care blog in African, and blogs at www.africanaturalistas.com

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