While protective styles such as box braids, marley twists, cornrows, and even buns, can be highly beneficial for your hair, they can also be harmful to your strands if not worn with care. When worn with care, protective styles can help you to retain length, protect your ends, and give your hair a break from daily wear and tear. On the other hand, protective styles can also lead to thinning, breakage, and certain scalp issues if you are not maintaining healthy hair care habits. Fortunately, there are many doable ways to keep on wearing your favorite protective styles while also maintaining healthy hair. Listed below are a few tips that can benefit you when seeking how to prevent breakage from braids and other protective styles.
Here is how to prevent breakage from braids and other protective styles in your natural hair:
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1) Don’t braid or pull back your hair too tightly
Keeping tight or pulled back hairstyles to a minimum is just one effective solution for how to prevent breakage from braids and other protective styles. If you are doing a protective style on yourself, make sure that you are not being too heavy-handed with tension or grip on your strands. Having a headache that persists days after getting your hair braided is a good indicator that your style is too tight for your scalp.
If you are at the hair salon and feel like your stylist is braiding your hair too tightly, speak up and let them know. Your edges will thank you. If you happen to fall into the habit of getting your protective styles braided, twisted, or pulled back too tightly, it can lead to thinning and breakage around the hairline, edges, nape, and other areas.
This is why it is important that you make the effort to be gentle with your hair when styling it. If you aren’t, the tension and / or weight from the added hair can cause the fragile hairs at the hairline, edges, or roots, to weaken and break off.
2) Make sure you prep your hair for your protective style beforehand
Prepping your hair before a protective style is another key to how to prevent breakage from braids. If you are wearing a short-term protective style, you may not have to prep your hair as much as opposed to wearing a long-term protective style. For a long-term protective style such as braids, your strands are going to be tucked away for a while. So, you want to make sure that your strands are in the right state of health in order to maintain their strength throughout the duration you wear your style.
One way to prep your hair for a long-term protective style and prevent breakage is to deep condition your hair beforehand. You can even take it a step further and do a strengthening protein treatment. Either treatment will supply your hair with a variety of strengthening and nourishing ingredients. This will help to give your strands a nice boost and encourage a longer lasting hairstyle. To add, make sure that your hair is thoroughly detangled and moisturized beforehand. This will help to lessen breakage and shedding upon taking your style down.
3) Continue to maintain good scalp health
Certain protective styles can cause strain on your scalp and eventually lead to breakage. To deter this, it is important that you are maintaining good scalp care habits when wearing protective styles and in general. A healthy, cleansed scalp is at the foundation to steady hair growth and strong strands which ultimately helps to prevent breakage. There are a few ways to maintain good scalp health and aid in the prevention of hair breakage.
Regular scalp massages will help to stimulate blood flow at the hair follicles and encourage hair growth. Additionally, using natural oils to massage your scalp with can help to deliver an array of nutrients to your roots and strengthen your strands. Certain oils, like Jamaican black castor oil, even have thickening properties that also help to promote growth. Nonetheless, when exploring how to prevent breakage from braids and other protective styles, be mindful of the importance of good scalp health.
4) Avoid leaving your style in for too long
If you leave your protective style in for too long, it can eventually cause breakage and thinning throughout your strands. For instance, if your hair was braided too tightly, the tension and pulling can create thinning overtime and even bald spots if left in for too long. The same can be said for other protective styles such as buns and puffs.
If you use added synthetic hair with your protective styles, the extra weight can also cause pulling and tugging on your strands, especially if left in for an extended period of time. So, when seeking how to prevent breakage from braids and other protective styles, avoid leaving your style in your hair for too long to prevent excess strain on your hair and scalp.
5) Take a break in between styles
Protective styles can be of much benefit to your hair. However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. To prevent your hair from breaking and thinning with braids, it is important that you take breaks in between your protective styles and give your hair time to breathe.
Let your hair down every once in a while to relieve your scalp of stress and tension. A good aim is to wait between two to four weeks after taking out your protective style before you get a new one.
What is your favorite protective style to wear? Share it in the comments down below!