Our Guide to Protective Styling

If you have tight curly hair, you’re probably very familiar with protective styling. It’s a method used by many type 4 naturals to protect their hair from harsh elements (e.g. wind, sunlight, cold air, etc). The main idea is to use low manipulation hairstyles, that tuck the ends away, to reduce breakage and retain length. In this article, we’ll review different types of protective styles and discuss whether they truly work. Additionally, we’ll discuss the ABCs to successful protective styling.

What are examples of protective styles and why are they beneficial?

Buns, two-strand twists, braids (with extensions or without), wearing a headscarf and wigs are examples of low manipulation hairstyles. The pictures below highlight the variety of protective styles that can be used on curly hair.

But do they work?

The ends of the hair are the oldest part and most prone to dryness and breakage. Protective styles allow us to hide the ends of our hair and reduce their exposure to friction (e.g. rubbing against clothing) and weather conditions. They also allow a hairstyle to be worn for several days, without restyling or combing, which makes the hair more susceptible to breakage. All of this in return makes it easier to keep the hair hydrated, which as we know is the key to healthy hair. 

Besides all of the health benefits, let’s talk about the amount of time protective styles save us. Curly hair is beautiful, but let’s face it, it takes more effort than straight hair to care for. Since your hair stays in protective styles for several days to weeks, it trims time off of our morning routines.

Tips for successful protective styles.

Now that you’ve had an idea of what protective styles offer before you run out and start practicing this method, there is a general rule of thumb you should follow. Like most things, not all protective styles are healthy. There are some things to avoid when using protective styles.

Keep it loose.

Just because your ends are tucked away in braids or a bun, doesn’t mean you’re protecting your hair. A tight, slicked-back bun should be avoided because it put strains on the hair, and more severely puts you at risk for traction alopecia.

Defined by wikipedia as “…gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing their hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids…” 

Tip 1: Try low buns that allow you to wear your hair loosely tied back. 

Tip 2: Try asking your hairstylist to install loose twists or braids and try not to braid your edges.

Don’t forget water is your best friend.

Wearing a wig or installing braids, doesn’t mean you can forget about your hair for a couple of weeks. Be sure to mist your hair with water (and apply a bit of leave-in) every 3 – 4 days to keep it moisturized. And remember to cleanse your scalp if you plan on having a protective style for longer than 2 weeks.

Beauty sleep.

At night, be sure to sleep on a satin pillowcase or use a satin scarf to tie your hair up. Cotton pillowcases increase friction and dry out the hair.

multipurpose head turban wax print
Our multipurpose satin-lined turbans

Protective styles are a beautiful way to keep your hair protected, but also to unleash your creativity. If you’re talented at styling your hair, you can really have fun with different styles. Or you can just keep it simple. Either way, your hair will thank you for giving it a break from all of the styling. 

Do you wear protective styles?

Is Your Water Ruining Your Curls?

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You’re always sure to cleanse your curls to remove build-up. You deep condition your hair on a regular basis. You trim your hair when needed. Basically, you’re doing the ABCs of maintaining healthy strands, but somehow you still suffer from tangled, dull and lackluster hair. If this sounds familiar, there might be a simple answer to this problem.

Common causes of dry, matted curls

While there are a lot of factors that can reduce the vitality of your curls. Some commonly cited examples include:

  • overusing heat styling tools
  • over-processing hair (e.g. harsh chemical dyes or improper application)
  • poor nutrition and fluid intake
  • being iron or zinc deficient

While these examples are most commonly reported, there is another cause that is often overlooked and that’s hard water.

What is hard water?

Hard water is high in mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. This is in part due to the fact that it runs through porous rocks, such as limestone, picking up minerals along the way. In contrast to hard water, soft water contains fewer impurities, because it runs over non-porous rocks such as granite or slate.

How does hard water affect my hair?

“Hard water and well water can negatively affect both the color and texture of your hair. It causes color fading and dryness, which leads to frizz because of the excess mineral buildup in hair.”

-Mark Mena, celebrity stylist to Christy Turlington, Nikki Minaj and Mindy Kaling

source

Hard water tends to make the cuticles of the hair stand up. As a result, hair often feels rough and tangled. It can also form a film, making it challenging to moisturize your hair and often causing flaky scalp. On top of this, if you use soap as your shampoo, hard water will often interact with molecules in the soap and leave deposits and buildup on your strands. Note: this is why we always suggest following a shampoo bar with a vinegar rinse (more details below). Additionally, this is why our triple herb soap contains a chelating agent: citric acid and sole (water that is fully saturated with salt).

Interesting fact: Did you know scientific studies have associated hard water with increased eczema in babies and children?

How do I know if I have hard water?

If you suspect that you have hard water you can go to this website and find your region and rating. http://trinkwasser.svgw.ch/index.php?id=814&L=0&m=kn

Additionally, there are tale-tell signs that you can observe in order to confirm the quality of your water. You probably have hard water, if your…

  • …hot water kettle always has a layer of white film on the bottom.
  • …dishes are spotted with white water marks after removing them from the dishwasher…
  • .. soaps are detergent don’t lather much..

What can I do about it?

Don’t worry we aren’t going to propose you pack up and move somewhere with softer water. There are techniques you can integrate into your routine to reduce the impact.

Filter it. You can purchase a carbon filter for your shower head like the one pictured below.

Image result for shower filter

Use an acid. A simple, cost-effective solution is to use apple cider vinegar. Once per week, after cleansing your hair, apply a solution of diluted vinegar (1 – 2 tablespoons to 2 cups of water). Pour it over your hair, rub it in for two minutes and rinse. This helps to remove limescale deposits. You could also use citric acid rinses as your acid 1/2 – 1 teaspoon in 2 cups of water.

photo by rawpixel

Use a clarifying shampoo. Personally, I find this type of product too harsh for my tight curls. If you do decide to use one, I’d suggest no more than 3-4 times per year.

Install a water softener. A tank filled with salt brine is used to exchange sodium ions with magnesium, iron and calcium ions, which results in softer water. This is a costly alternative and more complicated than installing a filter.

Do you have hard water? What are some of your remedies?

Interview: The Talented Taïssa

If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve probably seen this lovely face come up in our feed a few times. This month we’re sharing a glimpse into the life of Taïssa: student at The College of Early Childhood in Geneva, President of the Capoeira Arte Popular Association and Blogger — and those are only a few of her talents!

What led you to your current career/academic path?
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Interview: Curly Hair Stylist Mahine Tchiakpe

This month Blossom met up with hairstylist and curl whisperer, Mahine Tchiakpe at salon Chez Tina, located in Vetroz. Mahine is based in Lausanne, but occassionally works in Vetroz to service her customers in Valais. I had the pleasure of getting my hair trimmed by her and took the opportunity to chat with her about her career and hair.

She describes herself as sensitive, funny and ambitious. After hearing about her pathway, I think she could definitely add courageous to her list.

Why did you choose a career as a hair stylist?

I’ve always been interested in becoming a stylist, I just had to find the courage to do it. I needed my life to be complete, by doing something I love, which I wasn’t doing before. So, I saved money for 5 years, dropped everything and went to New York to attend beauty school and Deva Curl Academy.

What inspired you to become a curly hair specialist?
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