“Protective Style”: Relative Term?


by M of Hair and Other Stuff

Yesterday I had a conversation about twist outs with a friend who has natural hair. She expressed frustration about the fact that she loves the way twist outs look but they don’t last long and they require entirely too much hair manipulation. She has also noticed that she loses much more hair when styling a twist out than not. That got me thinking about my own relationship with twist outs and with protective/low manipulation styles. I read about this a while back on a blog post from Jamila of College Curlies: Are Protective Styles Damaging Your Hair? Dunno why it didn’t click with me then.

It occurred to me that twist outs and/or low manipulation styles are only protective for people who don’t have to retwist or manipulate often … duh! LOL. I have a theory that this has something to do with hair texture/elasticity or the springiness of one’s hair, if that makes sense. I have a friend with super springy hair who can rock a fabulous twist out from 5-7 days. That’s definitely not the case with me. My twist outs only look stellar on day one, if that. I’ve decided to revisit the wash and go ( WnG) and the puff.

If I remember correctly I experienced the most growth when I was wearing WnG’s and knew nothing about natural hair “rules”. I was using the Pantene Curls line conditioner as a leave- in and wetting my hair almost every day.

Now I’m certainly not going to be washing or wetting my hair every day this time around. I don’t know why I was just doing the most back then. *lol* I am also going to alternate between roller setting for a bun (to protect my ends) and the WnG Puff :-)! Wish me luck.

Do you find “protective” styles require too much manipulation for your hair? Weigh in!


I’ve worn twists sporadically over the last couple of years and love the look … on others! LOL! I have the same problem as you M in that they tend to unravel pretty quickly and require re-twisting every few days. As I try to keep my daily manipulation low, twisting is not a regular protective styling option for me and that’s why I do a lot of simple updos. However, every now and again, I’ll want to experiment with twists again and try a new product to see if it’ll give me the hold to allow the style to last longer. Murray’s Loc and Lock gel does an okay job, but I doubt I’ll ever have twists that last two weeks without a lot of re-twisting.

9 responses »

  1. I’m with you. I have to retwist often too and it’s frustrating. I actually spent 4 hours doing mini twists yesterday and retwist or not I’m leaving them LOL. At least, that’s the plan. I have them up in a bun. Maybe that will keep them.

    I think the thing with needing to retwist/manipulate is to be super careful. When I have to retwist I treat my hair like it’s a thread that will pop. I have to be super careful. But then its too much work. Wash and go’s are not really my thing though. They leave me with matted hair.


  2. it’s when your fingers meet your hair in some fashion that causes breakage. the more you keep your hands out of your hair, the more hair you have. technically, we should find a way to handle our hair and not break it, but i’ve decided i’ll leave my hair alone instead of finding some way to strengthen it so i put it through a lot of stress.


  3. I wear buns, but I have to bun my hair daily because it looks a HAM by day two. I also have to use certain products on my scalp to help with the shedding. I also work out at the gym very often. I also cowash or shampoo my hair twice a week. There is no way on God’s green Earth that a style can last more than a day. Its not possible.

    With that said, wearing my hair up constantly is the best think I can do with it – especially the ends.


  4. My wash and go puff has been serving me well for the past 2 weeks. I have noticed less shedding and less breakage when I detangle…. I’m gonna keep this up b/c it seems to be working for me 🙂


  5. This post motivated me to write a post I’ve beeen meaning to do regarding protective styling and fine hair. My hair is super super fine and it breaks so easily that after 3 years of being natural, I was barely retaining any length. I went to protective styling but flat twist updos worked the best for me because I can leave it up for at least 5 days at a time and also changing my twisting technique meant I had fuller-looking twists. Here is the post if you wanna check it out:



  6. I too have returned to WNGs. I agree with you that I got the most length retention before I knew anything about protective styling and the natural hair rules. I tried twistouts but I was losing more hair than usual with the constant retwisting at night. Back to the basics for me. Today I am on day 8 of a WNG and loving it. I simply spritz my hair with water in the morning and scrunch in a little styling product. Takes me less than 5 minutes to style my hair in the morning. At night, I pull my hair back loosely into a low puff and cover with my satin scarf or satin bonnet.


  7. I really enjoyed this post. I feel the same way. I had my best growth when I didn’t know anything about going natural. There was a time that I wore my hair curly a lot and it grew so much. It was longer than it is now. My hair is thriving with WnG’s. Twists just frustrate me and my hair. I am now mixing new behaviors with old ones and my hair is fairing much better. The new behavior is to co-wash midweek rather than wash midweek and the old behavior is to put a little rinse out conditioner in my hair and leave it in rather than rinse it out. My hair no longer suffers from dryness and I don’t worry about frizz as much. I’ll go into when do I send in my update for the GOC finale.

    Great post.


  8. I think it depends on one’s hair texture. In all reality, manipulation is manipulation, and washing and goes still require it. I think it depends on one’s hair texture. Wash and goes dry my 3c/4a hair out and cause tangles, where as I can rock a twist out for a week, re-twist every night, and my hair never breaks, it stays moisturized, and it is growing and thriving. The key is to not manipulate hair when it is DRY, but to make sure that it has water/oil on it.


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