22 June 2011

Summer hair ~ PART I: Protective styling

Summertime in Barbados generally tends to be either a time of intense summer heat; or unfortunately, rainy days and thunder storms. To beat that summer heat, ladies and men with long locs or simply loose natural kinks more often than not pin their hair up. I don't know how many of them use the term 'protective styling', but it is their way of not getting their hair wet when at the beach, working out in the gym or hanging on their shoulders making them hot.  
Source laurenlindner.com
A Healthy hair shaft
Even I wear protective styles and my locs are not long. *Smile* So trust me, pin ups are not just for the long hair folk. 

Ladies with a TWA, your hair is a protective style in my estimation. How? Unlike persons with shoulder length hair (and longer), your hair will not be rubbing/resting on the fabric of clothes throughout the day. At times, such friction leads to the ends of hair being left behind in shirts, jackets and collars of your dresses. Or simply being damaged.

I will share this story of my Auntie Bev. She's always had long permed hair. But I recall when she migrated to Toronto, Canada and I went to visit her for the first time. One day her hair was in a ponytail, revealing the short, jagged hairline. I asked her what had happened as it was no longer fitting into nicely into one. She shared that it was due to her coat's collar. Having to wear one during the winter months, her hair would rest on the collar and it slowly broke off. So, she had to cut the edges/hairline at the back shorter than the rest of her hair.
My current do. Less than a week old.
Wore it to graduation.

But, don't despair! You could still rock a scarf or hat depending on your situation. Or, maybe braid or twist outs. Having poorly looking hair is very much a condition that I know none of us wishes to have. We will do all in our power to ensure that our hair is healthy.  

What are protective styles?
Think of plaits, pin ups, flat-twists, buns, bantu or nubian knots, rolls, 2-strand twist ponytails, braids, twists and cornrows. Or even wearing a scarf, loc-sock or hat. Protective styling protects the most fragile part of our hair - the ends. The end of each hair strand is also the oldest part of our hair. If you think of it, take a strand of your hair. Look at it. How ever long that strand of hair is right now, the end of that strand of hair has been around that long. 

Now protecting these delicate strands of hair is not always easy. Sometimes it is not always over-processing and/or excessive heat styling which might cause breakage or split ends; but also a poor diet and/or ill-health. Changes for the better would tend to improve the health and look of your hair. On damagedhair.net, it also goes on to suggest that the sun, although not a source to negatively affect healthy hair, might cause extra stress to chemically processed hair or already damaged hair due to heat styling: flat-ironing, blowdrying and the like.

Protective styling in action

See the black flower to the side?
  • Since having locs, I have seen how much more matted my hair becomes whenever it is styled in this fashion. For starters, I am not able to pull the poor things a hundred times a day. Seriously though, when I take the protective style down, more and more of them are sealed. They have had a moment to 'veg', as we say. Time to grow. And this makes me happy.  
  • Speaking of 'veg'. In my experience with braids as well, my hair grew out quite a bit. I was still able to wash my hair, keeping my scalp clean and moisturized. 
  • Keeps ends from becoming overly brittle and dry especially if you are a beach bum during the long summer months. In terms of going to the pool, chlorine can damage your hair, causing it to be dry and possibly lead to split ends. Not everyone will wash and/or condition and moisturize their hair right after their trip to the beach or pool. So if you are that type of person, why not try the option of a protective style.
  • Low-maintenance (little manipulation) yet elegant: Summertime is the season for lots of parties, weddings, graduations and travelling. When your hair is braided, flat-twisted or what have you, it is easier to maintain a hectic schedule. Getting up and going literally can happen. I would have to say that in this case, I still oil my hair, mostly at night and tie it down so that in the morning there is no hassle and I am out the door at a reasonable time. If you are worried about having the same look, try adding a flower or jeweled hair clip to accentuate your look.
  • also do believe that some of these styles can be altered to suit your small child. For example, your little boy or girl could wear a hat when you will be outdoors for an extended period of time. Or twisting baby's hair when going to the beach.
There are probably other reasons that you can come up with, especially given your geographical location; and, of course your hair type and personality. But don't be shy to give something different a try. You just might like it!

CLICK ON THE LINKS OR THE VIDEO to see a few tutorials from my sub list on YouTube. Here to encourage and explain:

wwestndnbeauty - Twists galore video on YouTube is off the hook! 

MsTrini2dbone - French roll w/a twist

Atinawaya - Short Natural Hair Updo
My thanks to each and every one of you!

Ta Ta,

Besos (o;

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