About 80% of the time I rock curly styles because of how time consuming it is to straighten my hair. When I finally do go straight, I like to go as a long as possible until I wash it again because I don’t want to waste all of that effort. Right after I straighten my hair it is very lightweight and flowy which I love. In my last post I discussed how to achieve those results. After about a week or so, my hair starts to feel heavy. That’s when I like to change things up a bit with a braid out for something different. Unfortunately, it took a long time for me to find what worked for a successful braid out on straight natural hair.
When I was growing up my mother always kept my hair in cute braided styles. Every single day of the week I had braids and only wore my hair down for special occasions. I used to love brushing through my thick hair on wash days but shortly after it was right back in those braids. That is probably a big reason why I love to wear my hair out so much. Hair gurus always tell us that you should wear protective styles for hair growth. I want to enjoy my natural hair so I wear it down about 75% of the time.
In January I started my own protective style challenge to see if it would help me with length retention. Normally I enjoy wearing my hair out because I love how versatile natural hair is. This made it a little bit harder for me to decide on a style for the challenge. To keep it interesting, I decided to change up my protective style each week. Here’s a rundown of each style I wore for the first four weeks of the challenge.
|Verona Girl by Freetress
I’ve been experimenting with wigs off and on. I thought that the challenge would be the perfect time to practice my wig skills. I braided my real hair into two dutch braids underneath my synthetic wig. I found that this was one of the easier styles.
|Easy Low Bun
Now that my hair is getting longer, I can actually work it into a pretty decent bun. For me this style works best on stretched hair. I usually put my hair into a ponytail and split the ends into two sections. I twist each of them then wrap the twists around the base of the ponytail. Then I use bobby pins to secure the ends. I really like how this look can be worn for an everyday, casual look or dressed up.
|Low Puff; Low Manipulation
Technically this isn’t a protective style. However, it is low maintenance and keeps my hair off of my shoulders. After cleansing and conditioning my hair, I detangle my hair and slick it back or up high using hair gel. I use a ponytail holder or banana clip placed sideways to secure it into place.
|Dutch Braids on Straight Hair
This has been a go-to style for me for ages. I just part my hair down the middle and do a braid on each side. In the picture my hair was straightened but this look also works on wet, damp or stretched hair.
With each protective style I like to smooth my edges with Eco Styler gel which is a staple for me. I also found that my hair needed heavier moisture for styles that are meant to last a whole week. I think my favorite was actually the puff style. My ends were out but it took the least amount of effort. Overall, my first four weeks went well. I’m planning on going for another four weeks wearing some of the same styles. What are some of your favorite protective hair styles?
|Keeping my hair up in a puff for this
week’s “protective” style
I have decided that in order to keep myself motivated to wear protective hair styles, I’ll be wearing one
style per week. That way I can try different styles while keeping up with my weekly wash routine. This is my third week on the protective style challenge and I’ve decided to wear my hair in a puff. Now, I know what you’re thinking, a puff is not technically a protective style. This is because the ends of my hair are not tucked away or, “protected”. Still, I figure this style will work for me because it will keep me from combing and manipulating my hair.
To style my hair this way I like to use a banana clip placed sideways. This gives me a much fuller effect than your usual ponytail holder. I used to cut apart hosiery and use one of the legs for a long wrap around hair tie which also works. You can watch how I use the banana clip on stretched hair in my Youtube Video.
As far as the products I used, I pretty much followed my usual wash n’ go routine. After cleansing and conditioning my hair, I applied a leave-in conditioner and then grapeseed oil. Then I added a thick creamy moisturizer to each section of my hair before applying hair gel. My favorite gel at the moment is Eco Styler gel with Argan Oil. I realized the order I used to apply my products basically meant I was using the L.O.C. method to moisturize my hair. That means leave-in, oil and cream; in that order. I’m curious to see if that will make a difference in how my hair feels
Next week I may end up doing a ponytail roller set on my hair so that I can experiment with an up-do. Until then, I’ll be wearing the puff with a mid week co-wash to cleanse my scalp and add moisture. Then back to the puff to ride out the rest of the week.