As some of you may or may not know, protective styling roughly means a style where your hair is given a "break" from a lot of manipulation and/or daily styling. It protects your ends--the oldest part of your hair--and can be great for reducing breakage which means your hair growth can be preserved. There are many options for protective styling and some naturals are all for it while others are against it for various reasons, but today I'd like to make a case for braids.
So yesterday I decided to put my hair in box braids. This time I did them pretty small and it took me a while, especially since I did not do them all in one sitting. But knowing that the maintenance will be quick and easy for the next couple of weeks is most appealing.
The Pros: Braids can be done on long hair or short hair and can generally be worn without any issues in terms of work environment or special occasions if you are concerned about issues like that. I personally like box braids because I can wear it out, bun it, curl it, and pony-tail it. Braids have endless styling options and if you're creative you'll find a way to make it work. They can last for however long you want them too and you can wash your scalp in the braids if you find it getting a little itchy. I know some people think they are for kids, but I disagree; just stay away from adding those little plastic beads or bows at the end and it's definitely a "grown-up style."SPStyles and I both wear braids, with extensions and in our own hair. Check out these posts for our styles.
The Cons: They can be annoying to take out and if you aren't careful, you can rip out your hair. Also if you plan on leaving your braids in for a while they can unravel, frizz up, and shrink. And if you are wearing extensions, your own hair may slip out of the braid. And brace yourself for a detangling session once your hair is loose again!
Tips on upkeep: Whether you are doing cornrows or "single braids" a water or creamed based moisturizer followed by sealing with an oil and/or butter should keep your hair from drying out. A simple homemade spray I like to use is water with Olive Oil. Do not forget about moisturizing your scalp either! Sleeping with a satin scarf or on a satin pillow case will definitely help keep that moisture in as well.
Now I turn it over to you folks: how do you feel about braids? Is protective styling for you? Let us know!