I've been getting into protective styles a lot more lately. Why? Because it's the KEY to growing longer hair!
Protective styles are just that: styles that help protect our ends (the oldest and most fragile part of the hair shaft) from the elements. Day to day activities like moisturizing & sealing, washing, and styling can pose a threat to retaining length since all of these encourage OVER manipulation. Now, don't get us wrong, some form of manipulation is necessary, since after all, we DO need to do things like washing and styling. It's OVER manipulation that is the problem. Rough handling, ripping and tearing through textured hair with a fine tooth comb, brushing textured hair while wet, and constantly over styling the hair can cause the ends of the hair to weather and split; putting a damper in length retention.
Even moisturizing and sealing, a sometimes nightly routine, and my personal fave way to nourish thirsty strands, should be done in moderation. It's important to "listen" to what our hair needs versus just doing the action for the sake of routine. When moisturizing and sealing, we tend to focus on the ends because that's the area of the hair shaft that needs the most attention. However, the ends of the hair shaft are also the most fragile, so constant over manipulation during moisturizing & sealing isn't ideal when needing to retain length. Instead, try moisturizing and sealing every two days (or more) as opposed to every night, and try just using the palms of your hands in a "slide/clapping" motion to smooth the product in instead of a comb or brush.
The thing is, protective styles are the one, FOR SURE way to retain length, guaranteed. Why? Because it keeps our hands and styling tools out of our hair, allowing it to grow untouched and un-manipulated. We don't have to worry about our brushes snagging and tearing our ends when our hair is in a protective style because our ends will be tucked away and out of site. This means that we are literally retaining every bit of length! Our hair needs moisture and protection, above all, to stay hydrated and grow!
Some great examples of protective styles are but are not limited to:
Sew In Weaves
So to reap the full benefits of protective styling, and to practice what I preach, I am currently sporting some jumbo braids; and will continue to rock protective styles a bit more throughout my journey to waist length! What's your favorite protective style? How will YOU achieve your hair length goal?