With #TeamNatural taking the Internet by storm, the term "protective styling" has started to get bounced around quite a bit. In case you're still fuzzy on the definition, a protective style refers to any hairdo that helps to safeguard your tresses against the following:
Some examples of protective styles include braids, twists, cornrows, and buns. All of these hairstyles minimize tangling by keeping your strands neatly arranged next to one another. When your hair is loose the strands are free to intermingle, and the friction between them and anything you are wearing (hats, sweaters, etc) will eventually lead to split ends and knots.
Because kinky, coily, and curly natural hair is so brittle, it's best to not over-manipulate it. Many people (including myself, sometimes!) have what has jokingly been termed Hand-in-Hair Syndrome -- they simply can't resist touching their hair! The problem with this is that every time you touch your hair, you're putting a slight force on the strands and follicles. Our hair isn't strong enough to be combed, washed, or styled every single day, so protective styling is a really effective way to cut down on that manipulation and prevent breakage.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post protective styles are fantastic for days spent on the beach, but don't just reserve them for sunny days! A good set of braids or twists will save your natural hair from wind, rain, and snow, too. Again, this is because your strands are tucked safely away from the elements.
What's your favourite protective style? Let me know in a comment below!