After experiencing a hair setback for two years, I became really frustrated about not being able to progress on my hair journey. For seven years, I worked hard and grew my hair to waist length. Then it all fell apart. Not only did I stop retaining, but I also lost inches of length. For this reason, in October 2020, I decided to get serious about my hair and to approach my hair care with the same vigor that I did as a new natural. I undertook a three month protective style challenge and after the three months of protective styling this is what I learned.
1. There IS a Difference between Low Manipulation and Protective Styling
I have been fooling myself in calling my two strand twists “protective styling”. Protective styles protect the ends of your hair from mechanical damage due to friction and damage from the elements. Instead, I wore twists which are a “low manipulation” hairstyle, but I didn’t give my ends additional protection.
When I started my journey, I started wearing my hair in a bun as soon as it was possible. True, it was only half the size of my thumb, but I did everything that I could to protect my ends. This went on for years. However, over the past two years I’ve slacked. Even though I’ve been wearing my hair in twists religiously, I frequently wore my twists down or in ponytails and wasn’t providing my ends with the protection that it needs.
2. Less is More
My hair wants to be left alone. I think that I’ve been fiddling with it far too much. In the mornings I’d often wake up and manipulate my twists into a ponytail and then before bed I’d take it back down. At night I started wearing my silk scarf in a way that would imitate a bonnet. Ironically, I’ve stopped wearing bonnets because I’m worried that their roominess causes damage to my hair.
My hair wants regular maintenance. It doesn’t want to be manipulated unnecessarily.
After Three Months of Protective Styling What Did I Learn?
At the end of the three months of protective styling I learned that my hair is quite fragile and I need to be intentional with how I interact with it. I need to be mindful with what I do to it and how I do it.
My new found hair information excites me. I’m going to maintain momentum and do another three month challenge for the New Year.
Do you have any hair goals for 2021?