The 411 on protective hairstyles

Monday, 19 September 2016


For those new to the wonders of natural hair, protective styling is when you tuck away the ends of your hair to shield it from everyday treatments, as well as chemical or environmental damage. How to do it? Think braids, cornrows and weaves.

The good stuff

Switching your look when you feel like – that’s what we love about hair in a protective style. You can go wild without messing up your natural hair. Do the sleeked-down weave one month. Then rock the waist-length braids. When you switch from relaxed to natural, protective styles take care of your growing hair during the unpredictable stages of transitioning.

And the bad

Love a new look, but it can hurt your hair. Too much styling can cause tangles, especially if you leave braids or a weave in for too long. Too much manipulation to create that spectacular style can cause dryness and breakage. To prevent tangling, try Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale Knot-out Conditioner, R31,95. It detangles and also softens hair, making it easy to comb through.

Styling for summer

The Faux bun

Your hair rests in a ponytail while the extensions do the work. The hair is installed by slicking your hair into a high ponytail and wrapping around the extension any way you want.

Box Braids

One of the most popular protective styles (pictured above), they last long and are versatile. You add extensions to parted sections of hair. The look is perfect for working women or anyone who’ll have to go for days or weeks without a chance to do their hair.

Crochet braids

This one is quite new. Cornrow your hair and fix the pre-twisted extensions with a crochet needle. Big bonus: It’s quick to install.


Get the look

Now that you’ve settled on a style, stock up on some essential products.

* Restore Plus Braids Spray, R29,95, to keep braids looking fresh.

* Dark and Lovely Braids and Weaves Scalp Soother, R29,95, nourishes and soothes your scalp.

* Long & Lasting Silicone Serum, R33, smoothes fly-away strands for a slick style that’s non-greasy, while sealing the ends for protection.


Think about this when you pick your look:

* Choose a style that won’t damage your ends.

* Avoid styles that are too tight or pulls too hard. This could cause traction alopecia. Which means? Tight braids and weaves keep tugging until they pull hair out by the roots, mostly around the hairline. That’s how you end up with that expanding forehead look.

* Go for styles that will help you to take care of the hair underneath. Even with a protective style, you must remember to wash, condition and moisturise the hair underneath.

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Tell your friends

    The box braids look really cool!

    5 months ago •

  1. Waseelah Davids

    I have been natural for about 8 months. I never relaxed it, just stopped using heat because it caused too much damage. All I do when I finish washing it is braid it. How often should I undo my braids and moisturise it and which natural products can I use? I’m trying to stay away from mineral products and am currently only using leave-in conditioner and coconut oil but the following day it still feels so crunchy and dry.

    5 months ago •

    1. BeautySouthAfrica

      Hi Waseelah

      Many natural hairstylists recommend six weeks as the maximum for keeping braids in. To keep your hair nourished and soft try Dark and Lovely’s new Au Naturale range. The products include a moisture replenishing shampoo, a knot-out conditioner, a plaiting pudding cream and an afro moisturizing butter. These products are all infused with natural ingredients like mango oil and bamboo milk to leave your feeling soft and your curls defined.

      5 months ago •

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