Is Protective Stylin' Really Protectin'?

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Is Protective Stylin' Really Protectin'?

Post by Shainah on 15th March 2011, 5:26 pm

In my natural hair journey, it seemed as though my hair hit a "don't grow past here" point. However, I realized that dry combing everyday along with monthly pressing sessions did not help. My family is Caribbean and that's how the grandmothers always took care of our hair, load up the grease and comb! Now that I look back, no wonder my hair never seemed to grow longer despite all my scalp growth!

As I learned more about my hair, I decided to protective style during the winter months. I decided to get single braids with added extensions. I carefully put treatment in my hair and "baggied" the night before. I meticulously detangled as gently as humanely possible. Wasn't the point of all this to retain length? Well, much to my dismay, the lady doing my "protective style" was not as careful. That was an understatement. She blow dried without detangling, used gel as a styling creme, and separated knots by pulling the strands of hair apart. Every time I heard the pop, my body would tense up in annoyance. I cried when I saw the clumps of thick, black hair in her tiny-toothed comb! I asked her to be more gentle. No change. Two African movies later, I had finally finished! I vowed NEVER to let anyone I did not know/trust touch my hair again!

Could this "protective" styling session have set me back years on my natural journey? I have been natural three years and I was finally beginning to see length. As I college sophomore, I don't have the time I would like to dedicate to my hair. What do I do to recuperate from this horrible session? Should I have stopped the session? Just kindly thank her and walk out? What should I have done?


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Re: Is Protective Stylin' Really Protectin'?

Post by Lysheba89 on 15th March 2011, 11:39 pm

Wow, that sounds awful! I'm sorry that happened to you. Of course, a protective style done in a careless way, meaning roughly, is going to be damaging. However, the style is still protective, and you still stand to benefit from it.

All the natural hair no-nos the braiding lady did, like using gel, blow drying without detangling, and combing your hair with a tiny toothed comb, these things are most damaging when they are a habit. And it seems like you've done a lot to avoid those practices. So I say, this one braiding(hair butchering) session has not undone your hard work.

That being said, you have to do some damage control. Steam your braids in the shower and add moisturizers that have great ingredients. Now that your hair is somewhat compromised you should use products with the best quality (and consequently the gentlest) ingredients (aloe vera juice and gel-known to hep skin heal , rose water, vegetable glycerin, green tea etc). Don't forget a. Seal b. Seal c. Seal d. Satin Pillow case/scarf.

Also keep your braids themselves in protective styles - you can bun your braids, roll and tuck them, pin them up etc. You don't have to do this all the time, but don't wear your braids loose all the time either. If the braids are tight, put a mild astringent on your hair line. And rinsing your braids can loosen them slightly, letting your scalp relax.

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