You’ve most likely heard the term ‘Hair Protection’ thrown around in the natural hair community, but what does it really mean and what do you need to know to make sure that your natural hair is taken care of? What are some of the dos and don’ts of hair protection, and where do you even start?
Natural hair can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. From hair care tools to products, it can be a lot to wrap your head around. We all have unique textures and there’s no one size fits all routine that will work for everyone. There are, however, ways to promote hair growth and hair health by making sure that your hair is protected.
What is Hair Protection?
Natural hair protection is anything that involves securing our natural strands. We want to make sure that our hair is healthy, and not prone to breakage and dryness. Hair protection isn’t just about shielding our hair from the natural elements. It’s also about the products that we use as well as our routines. We don’t want to protect our hair from heat and cold, only to subject it later on to harsh chemicals in the products that we use.
So where do you start on your hair protection journey? Here are the three main things to consider when it comes to natural hair protection.
1. Your Hair Type
Start off by getting to know a few things about your hair. The basics include:
- Your curl type - this refers to the pattern or texture of your hair. Is your natural hair straight, curly or coily? Knowing this can help you decide on the best routine because you’ll understand better how your hair holds on to or sheds moisture. Not sure what your curl type is? Take our curl quiz here.
- Your hair density - this is the thickness of your hair. It’s basically the number of strands per square inch of your head, which sounds a bit complicated, but really just means that the more strands per square inch, the thicker your hair. Dense hair is more easily volumized because there’s just more strands than less dense hair.
- Elasticity - the extent to which your hair stretches. If your hair stretches out and then bounces back to its original shape when wet, you most likely have high elasticity hair. With low elasticity, your hair has a difficult time stretching and is usually prone to breakage when wet. This may mean no brushing while wet.
- Your Hair Porosity - your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. If your hair takes time to get fully wet during washing, you most likely have low porosity hair, and you may need to try deep conditioning to make sure that your hair is properly moisturized. If your hair easily takes in water, try oils and other ways of locking in moisture to your strands. In this case you may have high porosity hair and your hair may be prone to quickly drying out which can lead to breakage.
Get to know your unique hair type and treat your hair accordingly. Establish a routine that you’re able to stick to and watch your hair reward you!
2. Hair Care Routine
Healthy hair starts with your hair care routine. Different types of hair need different types of care, but the main things to think about when it comes to hair care is to keep your hair clean with chemical free products, moisturize to avoid dryness and breakage, and style in ways that don’t put tension on your scalp and strands. A few general rules to follow for hair care include:
- Take into consideration your hair type, texture, elasticity, and density. Not all routines are going to work for everyone, so find the one that works best for you. It may take a little trial and error but you will eventually find the perfect balance.
- Don’t overwash, or brush and comb too much - it can be tempting to clean and style your hair often but doing so will increase your chances of damaging your hair. Also, remember that finger combing is usually best for wet hair and in some cases, a wide toothed comb can be used as well.
- Finally, remember that different hair types lose moisture quicker than others so make sure to find the optimal moisture retention methods for your hair to avoid dryness.
3. Protective Styling
The next step to hair protection lies in the styling. There are different ways to style natural hair, but look at the type of styling tools as well as products you want to use before you get started. One of the main ways of styling natural hair is called Protective Styling.
Protective styling is a way to style your natural hair that tucks away the ends of your hair and keeps everything in place so that there’s no movement of the hair, which can lead to stretching, pulling, and breakage. These can be cornrows, braids, twists, and wigs.
However, not all protective styles were created equal. Some protective styles take forever to put in, some involve expensive extensions, and others actually cause tension on your scalp and can lead to hair loss, especially when left in for too long.
When thinking of the perfect protective style for you, take the following into consideration:
- Time - do you have the time for complicated styles that take forever to put in, or are you looking for a time saving option for protective styling that helps you get to where you need to be faster?
- Money - most protective styles need to be professionally done in order for you to look your best. Do you have the finances to regularly get this done? Or do you want the option of affordable style on a budget?
- Hair health - make sure to choose protective styles that are going to encourage hair growth and not damage your hair. Tiny braids and really long extensions tend to put a lot of pressure on your scalp and natural hair. Not to mention things like lace wigs damaging your edges.
With these in mind, the best protective style for you is going to depend more on your hair goals than the actual style. You can have the styles that you want without having to worry about any of the above. Are you ready to browse a line of wigs that are affordable, easy to install and take little to no time to put on, and save your edges from damage? Check out the Protect Our Hair collection here.
Remember that protective styles are meant to protect, but shouldn’t be left in for too long. Leaving your styles in can actually do more harm than good. Your natural hair needs to breathe, so switch things up every now and then.
Got any questions about natural hair or wig? We’re here to help Beauties! Shoot us a message on any of our socials or comment below. Happy styling Beauties!