Shielding your hair from excessive manipulation and the brutal effects of the weather is critical to the success of your natural hair journey.
Protective styles limit manipulation of your hair as combing, brushing, and styling all add stress to the hair that causes breakage.
Styles such as braids, wigs, and buns protect the ends of the hair from physical and environmental agitation.
Protective styles essentially are low maintenance and give women a “break” from the daunting task of combing and styling their hair on a daily basis. As a result, it’s easy for them to fall into the temptation of not caring for their hair for weeks or months on end.
However, this can cause extreme breakage. Protective styles do more harm than good if you fail to properly maintain your hair underneath a wig or braids.
While wearing a wig, it is important for natural enthusiasts to braid their hair before putting it on. Editor in Chief and Founder of Black Naps Ariane says balling or folding hair under a wig can cause breakage.
“For wigs, I recommend that the hair is neatly wrapped. By all means, do not wear your weave/wig over wet or damp hair,” she said on her website. “This leaves a breeding ground for mildew, bacteria to fester.”
When your hair is resting underneath a wig, the ends of your hair can become dry.
It is especially important to keep your ends moisturized since they are the oldest and most fragile portion of the hair on your head. Use a light penetrating oil such as grape seed or olive oil to prevent breakage.
The ends are not the only part of your hair that need a little TLC. The hair follicle needs to be deep conditioned to maintain retention and hair elasticity underneath a wig.
“If moisture is infused into your hair shaft, it will allow the hair strand to stretch when stressed, without snapping or breaking off,” Tamara Floyd, the Founder of Natural Hair Rules, said on her website.
Your hair also needs to breathe underneath a wig or weave to remain healthy.
“Avoid wigs with cotton and nylon caps as those materials absorb moisture leading to dry and damaged hair. Instead, opt for netted caps,” said Ariane.
The probability of damaging your hair underneath a protective style is significantly reduced by remembering to give it adequate attention. Remember, a protective style is merely a temporary alternative to daily styling, not a permanent break.