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Here’s How Protective Styling Could Save Your Life And Your Damaged Natural Hair

Photo Credit: Emily Hope/ Footwear News

The natural hair movement has become increasingly popular in the black hair community. People are ditching their hair relaxers, which are chemical treatments designed to make the hair easier to straighten and manage by reducing the hair curl pattern, more and more as they are becoming aware of the harmful consequences. This isn’t a surprising fact, especially since it’s been found that these chemical treatments can wreak havoc on the hair cells and scalp. Luckily for us, a quick Google search can tell us all we need to know on the subject. Relaxers can cause chemical burns, hair damage, breakage and hair loss and shouldn’t be used on thinning, already-damaged, or bleached hair. This means that unless you have some sort of super-genes that make your hair extremely resilient, hair relaxers aren’t doing you any favors.

So, you might be thinking, if relaxers are so problematic, why are they so popular? Well, there’s many reasons for that. Some black girls might tell you about the long hours spent between their mother’s legs as she yanked a comb through their hair and very nearly ripped off their scalps. They might even tell you about all the embarrassing school pictures and events where their moms had to use the flat iron to get their hair to lay flat, and the painful experience that was “bumping the ends”. They’d probably then reveal to you that, because their mothers had grown tired of this laborious process, they’d begun to use relaxers at a young age. What it all boils down to is the fact that black hair care is an intricate, but time-consuming process and hair relaxers offer an amenable solution. All you have to do is apply the bleached-white solution to the hair, make an attempt to thoroughly shampoo and condition it right after, and then add in that sweet-smelling moisturizer afterwards to lock in its effects and soothe the scalp. The whole process takes a little more than an hour and lasts for months at a time. It’s an easy and efficient way to deal with your usually kinky and untamable hair. Of course no one minded the fact that you’d have to keep redoing the process every few months! It was relatively cheap, straightforward, and the easy way out. What’s not to love about that?

Fortunately, though, times have changed and people have realized that relaxers aren’t worth nearly as much pain as they’ll inflict on you later on. Many are trying the transitioning method on their hair. They stop using relaxer in their hair and commit to the slow process of letting the natural hair grow out. Others are returning to their roots, quite literally, and doing what’s called “The Big Chop”, where a person cuts off all their hair and only leaves the parts where their natural curl pattern is growing back in. Either way, people are proudly sporting their natural hair and that’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in our world’s history.

Now before you go and chop off all your hair, you should be made aware of a few things. Remember when I said black haircare was an intricate and time-consuming process? Well, here’s another reminder: natural hair care is no walk in the park. The process can consist of several hair care products, including shampoos, moisturizers, detangling lotions, creams, combs, and many other expensive but still necessary items. Natural hair is wonderful and all, but just wait until you get to wash day and have to devote your entire weekend to detangling, shampooing, conditioning, and revitalizing the poofy mass on top your head. Wow, you might be thinking, I guess you really can’t win then, and you’d be partially right. However, before we get too ahead of ourselves, I do have some good news to share.

There is a way to avoid this daunting, and potentially damning, process and that’s the all-encompassing concept of protective styling! This is a gratuitous concept that reduces the frequent manipulation of your hair and protects the ends of your hair by reducing knots and tangles. Basically, it keeps your hands from constantly messing with your hair, and that’s essential to letting your hair grow and flourish in its newly natural state.

Here are a few favorites among the natural hair community:

1)  Box Braids

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2) Marley Twists

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3) Wigs

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4) Weaves

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5) Faux Locks

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Lastly, please remember that, no matter what you decide to do with your natural hair, you should always have fun with it! Going natural is all about experimentation and trial & error. Don’t like how box braids look on you? Try a twist-out! Hate how big your forehead looks in a wig? Try some crochet braids! There are so many ways to style natural hair and the versatility offered by protective styles is what makes them such a great way to rock your new hair!

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