Protective Styles: Are they doing more harm than good?

Hey guys! I hope you had an amazing Christmas filled with natural hair goodies, quality rest, and good times all around. During the break, I saw a video by Finally Amber. In the video, this YouTuber speaks about some of our favorite hairstyles like sew ins can actually be damaging. I agree with these sentiments of the video but I would like to add a broad over a sweeping statement: All natural hair protective styles can be damaging if not properly cared for! I have seen and personally experienced the fallacies of throwing your hair into a protective style and using it as an excuse to completely leave your hair to it’s own devices. In this article, I want to dive deeper into some of our favorite/well-known protective hairstyles and create a little do and don’t list.

Mini Twists (just hair)

Mini Twists

Mini twist is virtually free way to put your hair in a protective/versatile style. When your down wearing the twists you can take them out and rock a twist out!  These are also great during a busy week

when you want to focus a little less on hair care and styles.


Thoroughly detangle before you twist hair

Thoroughly moisturize your hair before you twist

Moisturize during the style in order to avoid dryness and breakage


Constantly re-twist, this is a perfect way to cause breakage

Twist your twists too tight, or pull them in too tight buns or ponytails

Quickly undo or detangle your twists after wearing them for a while, you will have some tangles from loose shed hair being caught in your twists


Twists/Braids with hair extensions

Braids with hair extensions

A beautiful staple of many naturals during their journey. There are so many different extensions and spin offs from goddess locs and twists, etc


Keep the scalp moisturized and clean

Refresh and moisturize the hair inside the extensions

Still sleep with a scarf/bonnet in order to maintain more moisture


Wear your hair in tight style or allow them to be installed too tight ( also avoid micro braids, the braids are hanging on such a small amount of hair breakage is possible)

Wear them for too long to avoid matting

Take them out and then reinstall them back to back, your hair needs a rest from the tension and strain of braids. ( I suggest 30 days but some people wait as little as a couple days to a week)

Wigs and Sew in

Wigs and Sew in

This protective style allows a natural to experience different colors and lengths that would otherwise require a level of commitment that usually counteracts a goal of length or health. Wigs get a bad wrap for being more damaging than good but if you use these tips it can be a lot of fun.


Moisturize and wash the hair underneath

Thoroughly dry your hair to avoid molding

Monitor and protect your edges by using castor oil


Lose your edges by avoiding combs, tight base braids, or super strength glues

Wear wigs for too long to avoid matting

Use leave out with straight styles that require heat.(Instead, wear curly styles that you can blend with or avoid leave out all together)

At the end of the day, a protective style can only take you so far when it comes to hair growth. Listening to your hair and paying attention to any signs of dryness, tension, or irritation is the key to taking your protective hairstyles to the next level and help them to live up to their name!

Tell me down below, what is your favorite protective style?


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