Fall is approaching! For a lot of us, it’s a busy time of the year. For some, school is getting back in session, the summer heat is winding down, and the holidays are coming up back to back! Between the weather and the festivities, hair care may take a backseat in the upcoming months, but this doesn’t mean your hair journey has to go on hold! The purpose of protective styles is to stay fly while keeping maintenance and hair damage low. If you’re not sure what look you’re going for this Fall, we’ve made a list of ideas to help you get started.
Box Braids are a go-to protective style. There is a lot of flexibility when customizing them to fit your style. Box braids can be floor length or short like a Poetic Justice style bob. Parting and size designs can also vary greatly depending on what your preference is.
Healthy Hair Tip: As with all braiding styles, it’s very important to pay attention to applying too much stress to your scalp. Braiding too tight can lead to breakage, especially around the edges where the hair is thinner and less dense. To avoid this, be conscious of a) how tight your braids are and b) how heavy your braids are. The larger/ thicker/ longer the braid, the more hair is needed, so keep this in mind when deciding on your style.
Sew-ins can vary in the level of maintenance needed. As with most styles, the fuller and longer the hair, the more daily maintenance will be needed ( i.e. combing, wrapping, washing, heat styling, and etc.)
Healthy Hair Tip: As with box braids, it’s very important to pay attention to how tight your braid up is before you add hair. It is also important to protect the hair leave out when you have a sew-in. Keep in mind that the hair you leave out will have to be styled daily (i.e. heat, laying edges, etc.) and how that could damage the hair. Using nets, for installing is also popular, while this is effective for application, it greatly limits your ability to wash and oil your scalp with your sew-in.
Crochet styles have become increasingly more popular in the past few years. They are beloved for their simplicity. Crochet uses a simple cornrow pattern and pre-made curls/locs/braids are looped through the cornrows with a specialized hook. It’s a perfect do-it-yourself style and you can achieve the look of a textured sew-in or braids within a fraction of the time and effort. They require about as much maintenance as box braids and allows for easy access to the scalp.
Healthy Hair Tip: Crochet hair tends to be synthetic and has various chemicals on it to help the hair maintain the pattern and shine that it will have fresh out of the packaging. Some people can have allergic reactions to these chemicals that cause itching and irritation to the scalp. If you think this may be the case for you, consider soaking the hair before installing it. A bowl of water with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar can strip the hair and make it less irritating, you can also follow this up with a light co-wash to keep the hair soft after it’s been stripped.
Locs without the commitment? Faux locs have also been growing in popularity as they offer a chance to try out locs without necessarily having to commit to the locking process or permanence. Size, parts, and length are very flexible here as well. An added bonus is that, unlike other braiding styles, the more natural, Afrocentric texture allows them to look fresher and more natural for much longer.
Head-wraps take first place for both cost and effort when it comes to protective styles. All you need is a good-sized scarf, one that could cover your head with enough to spare for a wrap design. Laying edges is optional, and you can literally get out of bed, make a messy bun, wrap it up, and go, all in about 5 minutes. If you’re still learning how to braid and style your natural hair or don’t want to spend too much on a stylist at the moment, head-wraps are a great way to bring an outfit together and keep your hair safe all at once.
Healthy Hair Tip: Head-wraps are pretty risk-free when it comes to damage and stress control. Keep in mind that depending on the material, scarves can absorb a good amount of oil from your hair. Satin and silk tend to be better for maintaining moisture, but cotton is usually cheaper and is better for achieving looks.
So this wraps up our list of 5 protective hairstyles to rock in the fall. Got any other ideas? Let us see them in the comments!
Ebony is a content creator working in the Inland Empire. She loves taking care of her natural hair as a form of self-care and exploring personal development.