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What Is A Protective Style? Part 1 - Braids

One key tactic the devil uses is a spirit of confusion. Hence the overuse of tape and glue on these godforsaken lace fronts and therefore, our collective balding edges. (And in many cases, a receding hairline.) This is unfortunate because the tragedy of runaway edges can easily be avoided. Glue, tape, and thread are not inherently bad for your hair; untrained or uncaring stylists are. They're also bad for our sanity and the faith that we should have in our service providers. I’m trying not to make this post a full rant 😩, so let’s start out slow.

The definition of the word ‘protective’, is “capable of; or intended to protect someone or something”. If something is hurting you, ie. ripping your edges out, it cannot - by definition - be protective. How to determine what is or isn't a protective style is mostly dependent upon the stylist that you choose. Properly trained and caring stylists are mutually exclusive. An education in cosmetology is not always proof that a stylist is truly concerned with the health of your hair, natural or relaxed. The reverse is true as well. A stylist's love for hair alone doesn't indicate that they have the expertise to properly care for your mane. Let's start by reviewing the basics of protective styling. If you need help or have an opinion about the information listed here, let me know in the comments!

Why do Black Women wear Protective Styles?

The most obvious answer is , "cause aint nobody got time for all that". Women are in control of the most vital aspects of life. We have real concerns that require our attention, intuition, communication, patience, and some mo' sh*t. Who's going to remind the children to put on deodorant if we're crying in the mirror about a failed twist out? As much as I love us and our hair, I'd be a liar if I sat on Shirley Ceasar's internet and ignored the big facts. Caring for our hair is (sometimes) just another job that nobody in our house wants to do. So now what? Do we raise Monique's blood pressure to stroke levels by wearing bonnets to black tie events? Shave it all off and hope for a head shape that works? There, there Homegirl - we have a solution.

**Braids have entered the chat.**

Braids are the foundation of almost all protective styles. The two main types of braids are cornrows and plaits; & what you call them depends entirely on where you're from. All braids follow the same basic techniques and have several style variations. Both plaits and cornrows are incredibly versatile and can serve as the foundation for a protective style, or be a complete style on its own. They can be installed using only natural hair, or added extensions for length, fullness, and longer wear. Some common names and styles of cornrows are:

Scalp Braids

Stitch Braids

Feed-In Braids

Fulani braids

Tribal Braids

Plaits are the individual, free hanging form of a braid. They too, can be installed with natural hair only or by adding extensions. Some common names and styles of plaits are:

Box Braids


Knotless Braids

Regular Braids

Keep reading to learn some basic facts about braids!

Braid Facts You Need To Know

  1. Cornrow styles take less time but don't last as long as other braided styles like knotless braids.

  2. Tension level is generally low to medium with most scalp braid styles. Be sure your stylist handles the hair at the nape of your neck and around your hairline with extra care as they are generally the most fragile.

  3. There are endless styling options for Traditional Box Braids and they typically last for 4-6 weeks. Depending on the skill level of your stylist, in some cases Box Braids can last 8-10 weeks with a Retouch around 6 weeks.

  4. Both Cornrows and Individual style braids allow easy access to your scalp which is important for healthy hair growth. Pick up our ultra moisturizing Braid Booster system in the salon!

I hope you find this information helpful. I'll be adding more content to this Protective Styling series periodically so check back often for updates! Leave your comments or questions below.


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