Care for afro hair – Protective styling or low manipulation

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Over the three years I have been natural I have been at loggerheads at this ‘pushed in your face’ statement.  Most of youtube and other blogs insist I must do protective styling in order to grow my hair!  Not to mention my natural hair hairdresser as she flicks her locs to one side…. Right – I hear you – all of you!  I have watched you all and dearly listened.  The verdict – it’s a no!  yeh that’s right! I said it ‘I hate protective styling’.  Not only does it not work – my hair hates being covered over especially with a weave .  It is a misconstrued statement that it guarantees length – it does not! My hair absolutely hated it! It itched, it didn’t grow any no faster than normal and its frustrating for the scalp and for you!  Hair needs to be out in the open to absorb the air – it wants to be out – it needs oxygen and the sun!.

I’m not saying its wrong – maybe it agrees with you, but I suspect that this is something that is very personal. We are all different and your hair and mine will have different needs.    Wearing wigs is not so bad – because you can remove those at the end of the day!  But the weave is a bit more harrowing especially for the scalp.  In my case my hair thinned out – it was horrendous!

Crochet braids were kinder- well you do those yourself!  Twists I found gave me lots of fairy knots! Every time I put my hair in twists I could never undo them without a knot at the back waiting to greet me!   Walking around in twists was a no no – as that look didn’t suit me – I have fine 4b/c hair – and they just don’t look right for work or anything else – So out went that!

For some women of course protective styling is a welcomed break from all the combing, brushing and daily manipulation!

So having said that – this brings me to low manipulation styles.  Now this has a better retention rate.  It can be anything you choose whether it’s a twist out, braid out or as I prefer a bun or the back tucked under and front pinned in – whatever it is – just don’t touch it for 3 to 4 days! .  So what you have is a style of your choice something that looks good, compliments your facial features and is neat.  I must say it is this low manipulation style that has been more successful to my hair needs!  I find that I was able to retain growth a lot easier too.

Now what you are actually achieving by adopting a low manipulation style is this!

  • gentler handing
  •  low manipulation, reducing splits and breakage
  •  Retaining moisture
  • Reducing tangles 

I have noticed though – your hair doesn’t grow any faster -but you definitely achieve healthier hair!

Good luck with your hair journey … do what suits you, what feels right – because the chances are your guts feelings are always right!

This is my experience with protective/low manipulation styles – what’s yours?

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