How Protective Are "Protective Styles"?

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We know you may think you are doing your hair right, but sadly you are not. Protective styles are regarded as the answer to growing natural hair because these kinds of hair styles “tuck away” your hair to minimize the effects of heat, the environment, and constant medium to high manipulation on the hair.  Sure some have experienced success using this method to grow their hair, but many still experience damaged and thinning hair, and/or thinning or lost edges, which is not the goal! So this idea of a protective style that so many live by is actually a myth that will never get you to the root of the problem. 

We know it’s hard trying to understand the composition of hair and its divine purpose and that’s why The Hair Bakery exists – to help bring natural goodness to you and your hair.  So first, here is a quick break down of the layers of your hair and each serving purpose:

·      MEDULLA – the innermost layer of a strand of hair that contains melanin which gives your hair its color

·      CORTEX – the next layer covering the medulla; made up of proteins called keratin; gives your hair its strength and texture

·      CUTICLE – the outermost layer of the hair strand; consists of dead cells that overlap each other; it shields the cortex and medulla from damage and is what reflects light to give hair its shine

Now here is what can happen to your hair when you don’t take care of it:

The cuticle begins wearing away because of heat from styling or the environment, an unhealthy diet, and even from the wrong hair care regimen, causing loss of hair shine.  Then, further wearing away of the cuticle exposes the cortex and lastly the medulla, causing hair strands to weaken due to the unraveling of its protein fibers, which causes split ends.

Protective styles are regarded so highly because they save time and money but is it all really worth it?  Hiding natural hair in a protective style for weeks without nourishing it or giving hair the maintenance it requires, can be more damaging to the hair than the culprits that wear away at the cuticles. All sad facts, yes we know.  But there is hope!

Getting to the source of the cause of unhealthy hair is the first step to getting on the path to healthy, strong and shiny hair.  Through a conscious diet, reducing stress, drinking plenty of water, and using quality nourishing hair products, is an effective holistic approach to healthy hair versus the protective styles we have learned to use through the years.

Kristal Anderson