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Deciding on protective styles for natural hair can be tough. Personally, I struggle with finding the right protective style for my hair. If you are like me, you probably worry about how to protect your hair and style it in a fashionable way appropriate for the occasion. Are you tired of wearing the same hairstyle and need options? Read on and discover styles for your hair.
What are protective styles?
Protective hairstyles are styles that require little to no daily upkeep. Protective styles prevent damage to your hair because the ends are tucked in. Protective styles promote hair growth retention through low or no manipulation of hair and preventing knots and tangles to hair.
Easy Protective Hairstyles for 4b/4c Natural hair
4c hair type is tightly coiled with usually no curl pattern. 4b hair type is similar to 4c hair but it is not as tightly coiled as 4c hair. Both hair types have high shrinkage and more susceptible to breakage. Here are some protective styles for natural hair; short/medium or long natural hair.
Wherever you are in your hair journey. The classic Afro is a style to rock. This is an easy style and it is a favorite of many natural hair. Use an Afro comb to pick hair for extra volume.
- Good ol’ Afro
Pros: This style is easy to style. It is ideal for TWA, Short Hair, Medium hair and Long hair. For a defined look on TWA, use a curl sponge in a circular manner to define curls. For a defined look on short, medium or long hair start with hair in braids or twists. This style is low maintenance.
Cons: The ends of the hair are exposed so hair may have knots and tangles. Hair will look dull if it is not well moisturized.
2. Finger coils
Finger coils are trendy and easy to do at home. It is best for short to medium hair length. Finger coils can be done on long hair but it is time -consuming. Finger coils can be done yourself at home with your favorite styling gel/product or you can get them done at the salon. To achieve this style at home. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Start with clean damp hair.
Step 2: Apply leave-in conditioner, oil, and detangle hair.
Step 3: Section your hair into parts for easier styling( I advise 4 sections)
Step 4: Start with the section at the back, part a small section, apply styling gel or curl enhancing cream and twirl around your finger.
Step 5: Continue until all hair is neatly coiled.
Step 6: Leave to dry or use a dryer to dry.
Step 7: Apply hairspray and enjoy your style.
Pros: Finger coils are ideal for small to medium hair. It is low maintenance and can last between two-three weeks. Finger coils can be separated for another look. Be sure to oil hair to avoid hair dryness.
Cons: Finger coils are time consuming if you decide to do it yourself. You cannot wash your hair while in coils.
3. Two strand twists
Two Strand twists are very versatile and it is one of the most common protective styles for natural hair. Two strand twists acts as a base for a lot of styles. To do two strand twists, you twist/wrap two sections of hair around each other. You can twist your hair at home or get it done at the salon. You will need a curl enhancing cream/gel. To achieve this style, follow the steps below:
Follow Steps 1-3 in achieving finger coils above
Step 4: Start with the back section, part a small section, apply styling cream, split in half and twist or cross hair over each other. Apply styling cream to finished twist and twirl the ends around finger.
Step 5: Repeat step 4 until hair is done.
Step 6: Leave your hair to dry.
Step 7: When dry, twists can be taken out for a twist outlook.
Pros: Two strand twists are versatile and hair can be styled into buns, updos while in twists. This hairstyle is ideal for all hair lengths but it is better on medium and long hair. Twist can last between 2 weeks-3 weeks. You can unravel twists for a curly twist look.
Twists are time consuming depending on the hair length. You need to keep hair moisturized to avoid frizz. To avoid shrinkage, keep your twists stretched at night.
4. Flat Twists
Flat twists are similar to corn rows. Hair is twisted flat to the scalp. Flat twists style are best for medium to long hair. This style is best if done on stretched natural hair or old twists outs. Flat twists can last for a few days to 2 weeks. Ends are tucked in so it is a great protective style to prevent knots, tangles and hair breakage.
Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
We have talked about protective styles for natural hair without extensions. The protective hairstyles I will be sharing in this section involve using hair extensions and maybe more time consuming. Generally, these styles last longer than the hairstyles discussed in the first section.
Braids are very common. They are great protective styles and can be done on almost all hair types and lengths. Braids can be gotten in many styles, colors and lengths depending on the hair extensions used. Some common braids styles are box braids, Senegalese twists, knotless braids, cornrows. Braids can last between 4 weeks- 8 weeks. It is important to keep hair moisturized and oiled while in braids.
2. Crochet braids
Crochet braids have gained popularity over the years. Crochet braids are done by attaching synthetic hair by looping to corn rowed natural hair. There are a plethora of crochet hair to choose from. Crochet hair is available in braids, afro, twists, bohemian curls, jerry curls and in all colors. Crochet braids last between 3 weeks – 6 weeks.
Wigs are great to have around for the unavoidable bad hair days or for when you need a change of look. Wigs can be a good protective styles if used appropriately. Wigs are available in different colors and different styles. Wigs are available in synthetic hair or human hair.
How to care for your hair while in protective styles
It is important to keep your hair moisturized while in protective styles to avoid hair breakage. To moisturize your hair while in protective styles, spritz your hair with a water-based leave-in conditioner or a mixture of water, your choice of oil with a few drops of essential oil.
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