Over manipulation of natural hair is one of the biggest causes of breakage, which then leads to less hair growth. Protective styles will give your hair the manipulation breaks it needs to thrive. It is true that there are many wonderful protective styles to do. Some of the most common and very effective ones are twists, bantu knots, buns, lose cornrows, etc. The key is to thoroughly moisturize the hair before fixing it in a protective style. This is one of the topics we tackle in our book, "Flower Child Curls: Guide to Growing Long Natural Hair".
One protective style we very much recommend to throw in the mix of the ones previously mentioned is our very own line of Catherine Marion Wigs. Wearing wigs and other protective styles during times when your curls are not flying freely (in an afro state) allows you to reduce the overall manipulation of your hair.
You may be wondering, "Why does my hair need to take protective style breaks anyway?" Well, it's easier understood when put this way. Type 4 hair or tightly coiled hair needs more moisturizing because it has a tendency to become dry more quickly because of moisture loss than other hair types. This means that we have to be careful when we take care of our hair and do the necessary steps to maintain moisture and retain length. This requires consistent moisturizing and general tender love and care. This constant attention leads to more chances for breakage to occur because of the constant manipulation that comes with taking care of your hair.
By manipulation, we mean any time when the hair makes contact with pretty much anything, for example combing (for detangle or styling purposes), rubbing with fingers (when maybe applying conditioner, oil, shampoo, styling, etc), rubbing the hair against surfaces (towel, hands, bed, couch, etc).... well, you get the picture. Now, it is true that this is quite unavoidable because we have to manipulate our hair from time to time, but damage from this can be reduced significantly when hair is allowed to take breaks. What protective styling does is it allows you to style the hair and leave it in that state for some days.
When we are not rocking our hair in afros or other protective styles, we enjoy wearing our Catherine Marion Jessica wig, which is made from coarse hair that blends more easily with our own natural hair. We also carry curly, kinky, and straight wigs for those who prefer that along with full wigs. The Jessica wig allows us to reduce the overall manipulation of our curls. This is because most of our manipulation will occur when we are wearing our hair in an "out" style (fro) and it receives manipulation breaks in a "tucked away" (protective) style.
The key is to choose a protective style, wigs, twists, braids, buns, etc. that you love and you feel comfortable leaving your hair in for a few days. You may do this by googling protective styles and imagining yourself with that style. Maybe watch some youtube videos and then attempt the hair style.
Everyone can learn to take care of their hair with some effort! So make sure you are incorporating protective styling in your hair regimen, because it just may shock you how much strength your hair will gain from these manipulation breaks. You can shop this protective style wig and many more at HERE and to find out more purchase our new book HERE