Pro­tec­tive styling — styling your hair in such a way that ends are tucked and pro­tect­ed — is an effec­tive way to retain length in a rel­a­tive­ly short amount of time. But mod­er­a­tion is the key to most things in life, and pro­tec­tive styling is no dif­fer­ent! Here are 5 rea­sons it’s not a good idea to pro­tec­tive style non-stop.

1. You can bet­ter assess how prod­ucts work on loose hair
Loose strands are the best tem­plate for test­ing how prod­ucts work. You get a bet­ter sense of whether a pro­duct is absorbing or seal­ing prop­er­ly, whether it smooths your strands, and how it’s affect­ing the tex­ture of your hair. Take advan­tage of time in between pro­tec­tive styling to test new prod­ucts and revis­it old faith­fuls to ensure they’re still per­form­ing well. 

2. You can mois­tur­ize more effec­tive­ly on loose hair
Styles like twists and box braids are easy to mois­tur­ize. But oth­er pro­tec­tive styles, like updos and buns, keep so much hair hid­den and tucked that it can be dif­fi­cult to get a full sat­u­ra­tion. It’s key to take advan­tage of time in between pro­tec­tive styling to do good deep con­di­tion­ing and (if nec­es­sary) pro­tein treat­ments.

3. Lint and shed hair buildup can lead to mat­ting and break­age
Lint is an inevitabil­i­ty for wom­en with tex­tured hair. If it’s left on the hair for too long — and com­bi­nes with spritzes, oils, and but­ters — it forms tiny lint balls that adhere to your strands, almost like glue. The­se are very hard to take down with­out caus­ing seri­ous break­age. You need breaks from pro­tec­tive styling so that lint doesn’t have a chance to accu­mu­late.

4. It’s impor­tant to know how to main­tain length with low manip­u­la­tion styles
Unless you want to be in twists and corn­rows for the rest of your life, you’re going to have to learn how to do low manip­u­la­tion ‘out styles’. If you’re ner­vous at the thought of keep­ing your hair out, start small. Take your pro­tec­tive style down on Fri­day, allow your­self time to exper­i­ment on the week­end, and put the style back up in on Sun­day night. Once you’re com­fort­able, grad­u­al­ly do the take down ear­lier and ear­lier in the week until you can go a full week rock­ing low manip­u­la­tion styles that keep your ends in tact. 

5. Con­stant pro­tec­tive styling can be emo­tion­al­ly drain­ing
There is lit­tle point to being nat­u­ral if you nev­er ever get a chance to enjoy your big, boda­cious, tex­tured hair. Even if you’re work­ing towards a hair goal, it’s psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly impor­tant for you to spend time cel­e­brat­ing your hair as it is and have some fun!

What do you think ladies? Is tak­ing pro­tec­tive styling breaks impor­tant to you? Why or why not?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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87 Comments on "5 Reasons It’s a BAD Idea to Protective Style Non-Stop"

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Com­plete­ly agree with num­ber 5, I stopped per­ming a cou­ple years ago and I’ve been wear­ing braids ever since. Its dif­fi­cult to love my hair because i nev­er spend time with it.


When I do twists I notice my ends are split to “h” when I take them down. It does not mat­ter if it was twist­ed 2 nights ago or a week. I tuck my ends after seal­ing them (Infu­sium 23 leave in, olive oil, black cas­tor oil mixed with coconut and almond oil and then a shea twist­ing cream). I’m look­ing at them now after twist­ing day before yes­ter­day. Nah, I’m going to have to find some­thing else. Will be cut­ting again.

Aliyah Morrison

I already spent enough time with my hair get­ting two strand twists today back to pro­tec­tive styling . No more hav­ing to deal with the awk­ward stage length . I know what my hair likes and doesn’t like . I’m going to be wear­ing twists for a cou­ple of years then I’ll take if down . May­be anoth­er 4 years I want to get to my length goal which is armpit length when stretched .


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