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Protective Hair Styles: 6 Things you need to Consider Before getting box-braids, sew-ins, etc.

Updated: Mar 5

A protective hair style is just that: protective. The less you mess with your hair, the faster it grows. Minimizing hair manipulation, protecting hair from the bitter cold, and avoiding extreme heat are just a few great ways to kick start your hair growth journey. A protective style is any hair style that covers or protects your natural hair from the elements around us. Whether it’s box braids, feed-ins, wig installs, or sew-ins; all of these hair styles can protect our hair if worn properly. When not worn properly, these styles can cause more damage than healthy hair growth; and may even cause severe scalp damage, which prevents growth. Proper preparation, installation and maintenance is necessary when wearing any of these protective styles. Here are six tips to consider when installing protective braiding styles!

1. Choose clean, chemical-free Hair.

When purchasing hair, you’ll be tempted to opt for the cheaper synthetic hair brands, but beware, not all braiding hair is the same. Most synthetic braiding hair is coated with alkaline chemicals and wearing that type of hair for any length of time could cause major irritation for many of us sensitive scalp folks.

You could get around this by soaking the cheaper hair in an acidic liquid, like vinegar, to bring down the alkalinity, but that can be time consuming, and you could have a mess on your hands if you aren’t careful.

Your best bet is to purchase a higher quality braiding hair, which coincidentally means you’ll probably end up paying a little more; but trust me, it’s worth it. If you’ve ever experienced unbearable irritation when wearing synthetic braids in the past, you’ll thank me later for this recommendation. One black-owned company, Dosso Beauty, has a hypo-allergenic, anti-itch pre-stretched braiding hair that feels soft and looks more natural than the cheaper synthetic brands when finished. Another company, Spetra, has an anti-bacterial pre-stretched braiding hair that sensitive scalp girls will love too. I have personally used both and I did not experience any irritation with either. I like the feel of Dosso Beauty's hair a little better than Spetra’s though.

2. Prepare your real hair for the long haul.