Posted by Lil
on July 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM Protective styling
is something that long-haired people say has really made a significant contribution to the length of their locks. So naturally, I have been trying it. What is it? I hear you say, well I haven't quite mastered it as my hair is about 20cm high (yes high, it grows upward and outward not down) but from my reading, I gather that it has a lot (if not everything) to do with keeping your ends (the oldest parts of your hair) moisturised and out of the way. Protecting your hair doesn't
make your hair grow, what it does is act as a barrier of sorts against breakage, allowing you to retain your hair length. One thing I had to come to terms with when deciding to hug my hair and really look at the best ways in which to take care of my particular hair type, was learning that my hair never stopped growing. It has been growing
for the past 8 years that I have been natural, I have just not been looking after my hair appropriately, so eventually my ends dry out and break off. Several reasons I can think of why this happened to me are...
- Combing my hair when it was dry
- Using a comb with narrow teeth
- Not protecting my hair whilst I sleep
- Washing my hair in a rush
- Pulling my hair too tight
- Not letting my hair recover from styling
- Covering my hair at home
- Using petrolium based 'moisturisers'
- Washing my hair too often
Another thing to mention is that protective styling isn't for everyone. The styles can be unnatractive or can even mean that even though you finally get long hair - you can't wear it down/straighten it as often as one would like to. I hear there are other ways of retaining hair length (though I have yet to see the evidence) that work and It really depends on whether or not you value your hairstyle over your desire to retain length.Some people are lucky enough to be able to strike a balance between both...but the rest of us? Not so much. I have been trialling two-strand twists for the past 8 weeks and have received the following feedback from the few (lucky) people I allow to see my hair: "your hair looks really healthy" "your hair has aquired a really nice texture" "that's the girl I remember in primary school"* *in primary school i was 'au naturel' This has been quite encouraging for me as it's allowed me to gain confidence in my natural hair. I wash my hair in it's protective style and when I condition and detangle - not HALF as much hair falls out by the end of it all. I used to think having a mini afro on my afro-pick at the end of every hair-combing session was normal. But when I decided to hug my hair it's as if all sorts of lightbulbs went off. For example - It didn't even occur to me to question why the phrase 'comb hair' in my native tongue (swahili) actually translates into "tear/wrip hair". So there you have it, Is protective styling for you? If not, then what have you trialled to retain hair length and is it working?