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Preventing Breakage that can Occur with Protective Styles

Ok picture this, sis! It’s the beginning of Winter. Your wash and go is not air drying fast enough with the cold weather, and your patience is non-existent. LOL! You’re looking at your hair like:


So you know what you have to do? A protective style! And it’s about to be your go-to style all Winter long! 

Protective styles are great! They have potential to do just that, protect your hair! There’s less manipulation that happens when your hair is styled for about a month or more since you aren’t touching it too often. 

But did you know that protective styles can do more damage than good, at times? Protective styles have potential to cause breakage to your hair. Keep in mind that it is normal to shed hair after a protective style. After all, those strands would have shed anyway, if they weren’t braided, or twisted up. What you want to avoid is breakage, i.e. snapping, or hair that breaks in the middle or at the ends, verses naturally shedding from the roots. 

Like with any other style, it’s important to prep your hair for a protective style. Here are some tips to prevent breakage that can occur with protective styles!

Deep Condition

Now you really should aim to deep condition every time you wash.  I get that, sometimes we don’t have time but this is not the time to skip a nice deep condition. Remember, your hair probably won’t be washed and deep conditioned for at least a month. Show it some love beforehand!

This is especially true if you are doing a style where you’ll be adding hair eg. box braids, passion twists, etc. While you can potentially wash and deep condition a protective style where you’ve only used your own hair, you won’t be doing it if you have hair added in. 

Moisturize & Hydrate!

No one wants to protect dry hair! Dry hair is a surefire way to get breakage. Prior to protective styling your hair, always make sure that it’s hydrated and that you’ve locked in that hydration (water) by moisturizing (oils). Since you’re definitely going to deep condition, you can take that opportunity to make sure you get enough water in your hair.

After you deep condition, don’t let your hair dry completely. It may be great to even add a little extra water with your spray bottle. I like the Suream Spray Bottle which can be purchased from Amazon. Section your hair and add in your favorite moisturizer. One that I absolutely swear by is the Moisture Guru by Soultanicals. My hair still feels soft and moisturized after taking out a protective style, when I use the Moisture Guru! You also shouldn’t be afraid to spray your hair with water while you have a protective style in. 

Pay Attention to Your Scalp

A protective style is a perfect opportunity to show your scalp some love! Your hair is already parted so take your favorite oil and add some to your roots. Hair grows from the roots, so having a healthy, moisturized scalp is key! 

Take Your Time

Okay! So you’ve had your protective style in for a while and you’re getting the itch (physical or metaphorical) to take the style out. Haircare doesn’t stop here. How you take down a protective style is just as important as how you prep for one, and how you care for it while it’s in.

I think sometimes, we have a tendency to rush through our hair, but we have to remember to be gentle. As you begin to take your protective style down, give yourself plenty of time to do it without roughly pulling at your hair. This will almost always result in unnecessary breakage.

Once the style is completely down, wash, and deep condition your hair again and style as desired!

Protective styles have potential to give your hair (and you) a break. We love them because it means we can go a few weeks without having to do our hair. But a protective style doesn’t mean that you get to completely stop caring for your hair. Make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent breakage that can occur from protective styles.

La Shané (Nae) J
La Shané (Nae) J

La Shané is a natural hair, lifestyle, and mental health awareness blogger. As a native Angelino she loves allowing her 4B curls to thrive in the Cali Sun! She’s currently experimenting with water-based hair products and loves sharing her reviews! For more natural hair tips and product reviews, you can follow her @naturalnae_la

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