The term “protective style” has really been taken out of content, a term coined just a few years ago that has taken off and many are under the impression that all weave and braid styles are protective for the hair. This could not be further from the truth! For people who have had a bad weave experience, they may think this is merely hogwash and there isn’t even a such thing as a protective style and honestly can you blame them? If a weave is designed to protect the hair why would one experience the complete opposite?
Simply put, all weaves are not protective styles! In fact getting the wrong hair extension service for your hair texture and type can cause irreversible damage! Hair and scalps can become so excessively tight and pulled that the damage done can not be reversed. So many bad experiences will cause some to loose all faith in the great benefits of weaves and extensions. The truth is when hair is under extreme distress, weaves and extensions are the only options (other then wigs) to leave the hair dormant and allow it to rejuvenate its self.
The problem occurs when the technician doesn’t know the right approach or technique to accommodate each individual and specific needs of the client. Sometimes weaves and extensions are not even an option when a persons hair is just too fine and fragile. However just because someone had a not so favorable weave experience does not mean they may not be a candidate for another option. It’s all about proper consultation and assessment.
I offer several option for my clients and very rarely do I have to tell someone that extensions may not be an options at all. I also offer hair replacement for extreme hair loss. Even when offering hair replacement it is important to know the options of the client to protect what existing hair they may have left. When it comes to hair texture and type, there is no one size fits all therefore if you are in the market for a protective style, make sure the technician is versed in more than one option. It may even be a good idea to ask him or her why they even suggest the method they chose as a protective option.
There are some extension styles that simply work better on African American hair texture than they do for Caucasian hair, such as braids. You will not believe how many straight hair and softer hair textured women have come to me for a braided sewin because that is the method they were used to. Braiding this type of texture, then reinforcing it with sewing weave, the tension and weight does not yield good results. This hair is too soft and it does not hold well braided. The excessive weight and tension does not make this a protective style but does more damage.
Although this next statement may cause a little controversy, however micro beads equally don’t work well in African American hair. Micro beads are a new and trendy extension method that really allows you to have a natural seamless weave but In black hair they tend to tangle into the beads. This causes more breakage than necessary. Another downfall is that in order to prevent that from happening you would have to remove them sooner than the installment should last which then makes it not cost effective. These are just few examples of one method is not best for all.
One more misconception about protective styles, unless you are transitioning into natural, they do not work well with relaxed hair. Whenever relaxed hair is braided down for long periods of time it will break, The hair has already been stripped of its integrity, when it is braided and sewed it becomes overly stressed and the ends will break. The new hair growth is however protected. The more covered the hair is the more protected it becomes but it is important to use proper and even tension when installing any method. Improper tension and pulling is the number one reason a weave causes damage.
Another thing to be conscious of is how much hair is being applied to each individuals head. Remember no two head of hair are exactly the same therefore it is important to consider texture and density. A big mistake I see so many people make is piling too much hair onto a head of hair that can not handle all of the stress. When weaves were first worn, the standard amount was 1 1/2 packs of hair and no more than two. Nowadays young ladies are opting for two, three and Even four packs of hair sewn onto their tresses and this is just too much!
Be mindful when on the market for a protective style and finding something that is best for you. Remember a protective style should do just that, protect your hair from the daily elements and the everyday wear and tear that cause breakage and slow growth. If it requires you to do more work or daily heat styling to your own hair that is not the best option.
Reasons Why A Weave Is Not A Protective Style:
too much pulling- weave should not be tight. No matter what the method is if it pulls your edges, if it pulls your scalp and if you have to take Tylenol to sleep at night. That is not a protective style!
wrong method- all weaves are not for everybody, find a technician that pays attention to details like: hair texture, density of your hair and problem areas (if any).
glue does not protect- If you used tape in extensions, glue-ins, or adhesive, they are not protective styles. Although there are methods using a protective layer of solution and a stocking cap with the glue in weaves that allow you to protect the hair and scalp while wearing them but unless they are done with this type of method it does not protect. Even when protecting the hair and scalp with glue in, it is not the best method.
Reasons Why A Weave Is A Protective Style:
you can reach your scalp- one of the important things about protective styles is that it allows you to reach your scalp. For some that may be oiling it to lubricate scalp and allow hair to grow with ease. For some that may mean special shampoo’s and conditioners.
it covers the majority of the head- it is true the more hair you put up the better. It is ok to have a leave out, but it is even better to put everything up and leave the hair dormant underneath. I see much better hair retention and growth when hair is left alone for up to three months with the necessary hair care in between. Micro link installs can not be completely covered, but again it is still beneficial.
Don’t be afraid to explore your options when your hair needs a break or you are going through a hair transition, these protective styles offer many benefits when done by the right person.