I LOVE a good protective style. I usually get braids a few times a year. Protective styling can give your hair a break from manipulation, increase growth and save time during the morning routine (amen) but there are a few things about them that I’d like to address.
I know we love to see how long we can keep protective styles in but from the research I’ve done no more than 8 weeks is recommended. Keeping a protective style in over 8 weeks will cause excess tension and eventual breakage. When taking out braids detangle very slowly. You don’t want the time you spent with the protective style in to be in vain by pulling out knots. It’s a good idea to pre-poo and deep condition too.
Listen to your scalp. I got the most beautiful faux locs a few years ago and my hair started burning around my edges. I tried oiling my edges to calm down the burning but they literally felt like they were on fire. When I took the locs down (3 days after they were installed) my edges came out while I was washing my hair. It was TRAGIC. I must have been allergic to the marley hair. Some of this hair loss could be attributed to postpartum hair loss but I know most of the damage came from that added hair. I hate to think of what would have happened if I would have kept those in a day longer.
Don’t forget two strand/three strand twists and buns are protective styles as well. The coin needed for braids might not be in the budget so use these during those times. Sometimes I see posts that allude to buns being a “lazy style” but a bun is a great protective style. Your ends are put up and less likely to break. I recommend a loose bun minimize tension and stress.
One quick thing on sew-ins. My last sew-in during take down a small piece of my hair was cut so be very careful during take down. That literally hurt my soul.
I hope this post helps someone.
Luv, Curl Muva