Protectives styles offer the best of both worlds. Not only are they tried-and-true methods for preserving our natural hair; they’re also just plain fun. They can easily be switched up to add length, or you can mix in different colors and textures to change up your look. Our hair can truly do anything.
With summer on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about which protective hairstyles you’ll choose to keep your hair well cared for as your lifestyle gets more active (we know you’ve booked that island vacation!). Not sure which style to pick? Here are a few of my favorites:
There are many types of twists that offer different looks but give you the same desired result—ease of care and styling. Here are the most popular.
- Havana Twists: Choose this when you want a “big hair” lots of volume look.
- Marley Twists: These are smaller twists that are the size of a finger and are straight.
- Passion Twists: These are curly twists done with crochet hair for a curly and bouncy look.
- Spring Twists: The name speaks for itself. These twists are bouncy with a “springy “texture. You’ll get more movement with this look.
Pro Tip: Ask your stylist to do the invisible method, which protects the hair even more. It also provides a natural look because the styles resembles your own natural hair.
Not only are knotless braids easier on the hair, but they’re healthier than traditional box braids. How? Traditional box braids are knotted at the root and cause tension due to pulling and the weight of the hair. With knotless braids, the stylist will add in the hair as it is braided using a technique called feeding. Since the extensions start a few inches away from the scalp, it lets the scalp breathe and is optimal for overall growth.
This style gives you the same look as a regular sew in weave but the technique is different. Instead of sewing loose hair to the scalp, a crochet needle is used to loop in the loose hair. This creates lots of fullness as well as easier access to the scalp.
This style is easy on the scalp and creates less tension. The scalp is also more visible for more vitamin D exposure.
NATURAL FLAT TWIST STYLES
This is for people who don’t want extensions yet desire to sport their own hair with minimal styling.
You’re probably still wondering, what’s the best style for me? The best way to make a decision is based on the condition and texture of your hair. For example, one of my clients booked an appointment with me to get the Real Housewives of Atlanta braided look. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the best option for her based on the condition of her hair. Not only was her scalp very sensitive, she had some damage from lack of care due to COVID-19. She also had thinning due to age. The weight of a traditional box braid would have created too much tension and she probably would not have been able to sleep on it comfortably.
To ensure that her scalp remained healthy and not stressed, we chose Spring Twists using the the invisible method and we used Afro Twist hair by Sensationnel, which is really lightweight and easy to manage. Our styling team was able to create long braids that behaved and looked like her natural hair texture, which was 4C. The client loved the hairstyle’s versatility and easy maintenance. Even better: It was light on her scalp, flattering and looked very natural on her.
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR PROTECTIVE STYLE
Oil your scalp. I recommend oiling your scalp twice a week with a natural oil. We sell an amazing hydrating growth oil at the Box Hair Studio called Naturallee Natural by Lisa Bailey.
Keep your hair protected at night and wash every three to four weeks. Sleep with a silk or satin pillow case or bonnet and shampoo every few weeks. Pro Tip: If you need to cover the grays, I recommend Bigen because it is natural with no peroxide and it covers gray well without damaging or drying the hair.
Come back every six weeks for a retouch. This includes retwisting your hair where you need it the most (for most, it’s the front hairline) and a lavish shampoo.
Sealene Bailey is a top stylist based in NYC at the Box Hair Studio.