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If you are part of the natural hair community, you dread the winter. Because of the harsh winds and the cold, dry air we have to make sure that we are treating our hair with extra tender love and care. We already started getting cold weather here at Wells, and I am so desperately looking for protective styles that will be good for my hair but also will make me look and feel good. Winter doesn’t have to be as dreadful as we make it because protective styles are a thing. There are so many benefits to protective styling.

Protective styles are very low maintenance. What’s better than not having to put time and effort into your hair? Also the less you have to mess with your hair, the better. The less you manipulate and fuss around with it, the more it encourages growth because there is less breakage. Certain protective styles also save you a lot of time because they can remain in your hair from two weeks until two months if you take care of it properly. As long as you’re moisturizing your hair with oils and wrapping it at night before you go to bed, you should be fine. It is simple and easy to maintain protective styles. One of the biggest pros of protective styles is that they are incredibly versatile. There are so many styles to choose from feed-in braids, to box braids, locs, wigs, twists, and so many more.

Even though these styles are life savers and great, there are some consequences and downsides to them. If you get your braids done too tight, you will be risking the condition of your hair because it will be prone to breakage. Also not washing your hair or moisturizing it while it’s in the protective style will make your hair more prone to damage. There are downsides to everything you do, but when it comes to your hair, you know what it needs and what isn’t good for it. If you do what you need to do, you will be fine, and your hair will thrive.  Typically when we refer to the concept of protective styling, we are only addressing the many different protective hairstyles that can keep your hair hidden and shielded through a style. However, protective styling is just one constituent to your journey. To be successful in your healthy hair journey, you suit your entire natural hair regimen as protective, not only the styles you do. We must look for ways to incorporate more protection across the board, even when we don’t have protective styles in. These are a few tips to help you do so.

  • Invest in a bonnet.

  • Oil treatments and deep conditioning

  • Use a wide-tooth comb when detangling

  • Brush your hair from bottom to top to avoid breakage

  • Avoid tight hairstyles

  • Cut out heat!

  • Try to keep hair up and protect when it is frigid and dry out

Jahaira is a double major in Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies and a campus correspondent for the Her Campus chapter at Wells College. 
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