Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Important Tips You Should Know Before Protective Styling - Wigs & Bun Edition

 This photo was taken back in February of 09. Literally a few months after starting my healthy hair journey. I began to experiment with protective styling [specifically buns] until I perfected braid outs and twist outs. Because I knew the implications of pulling your hair taught regularly, I decided to braid my hair in about 8 sections, allow to dry overnight, then loosely bun for more of a wavy effect. This saved my hairline and nape from excess tension, and ultimately follicular damage. 
1. Be mindful of your hairline and nape: Most damage to the hairline, temples and nape area is due to excessive stress from styling. If you wear braids, buns and other hairstyles where the hair is pulled taught, you are susceptible to Traction Alopecia. Traction Alopecia stems from follicular damage and depending on the extent can be permanent [as follicles are not able to regenerate themselves]
  • If you are wearing buns as a protective style, switch up the placement of your bun. A high bun one day, a low chic bun the next, and so forth. The goal is to reduce tension in the same areas and relive stress placed on the follicles. 
  • Again, for bun wearers; switch up the parts. If you part your hair in the same area over time, you may notice thinning in that area. Alternate the placement of parts to alleviate stress placed on the follicles.
  •  Avoid excessively tight hairstyles for long periods of time. Sure there are some people that can retain length and thickness by wearing buns excessively for years. However this isn't the case for most of us. In the US, African American women have the highest rates of Traction Alopecia due to our styling preferences. Experiment with other protective styling options from time like loose pony's and even two-strand twists fashioned into a chic updo. Your hair will thank you! 
  • Do not sleep in tight buns or ponytails. Allow your scalp to breath and relieve stress placed on the follicles. Let your hair down, and give yourself a scalp massage to increase circulation to your scalp. The circulation feeds your follicles and promotes hair growth.  
        2. For those wearing wigs as a protective style: Don't forget to moisturize. This is extremely important as breakage and brittle hair can go hand in hand with styles that cover up the scalp. This is so because hairstyles like weaves and wigs prevents the absorption of moisture and decreases ability for the scalp to breathe. The key to having healthy hair is keeping your scalp healthy. The main components of a healthy scalp are: cleansing, moisturizing, circulation, and preventing excess stress.
        • Weekly shampoo and deep conditioning treatments are still necessary.
        • Alternate between wigs, half wigs, and phony-ponys to reduce the amount of time your scalp is covered. 
        • Implement regular exfoliation treatments [more info and a recipe can be found here], as the lack of moisture and air can trigger inflammation of the scalp which could later lead to hair loss and thinning. In fact, scalp inflammation is the #1 cause of hair loss in women
        • Ditch the stocking cap and opt for a silk scarf instead. A stocking cap can cause breakage around the hairline and nape due to friction
        • Moisturize the hair at least once daily, as wigs tend to suck the moisture right out of your tresses. 
        • Be extremely careful of the placement of combs attached to half wigs and combs, as the digging/friction can cause hair loss as well. Try to stick the combs in the silk scarf so that only a small portion of the comb is attached to your hair. This will help minimize friction.

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        1. I'm thinking of protective styling with wigs and I'm glad you mentioned moisturizing. I had that problem earlier in the year. I was trying to give my hair a rest but felt the wigs were sucking me dry.

        2. Great info! I've never thought about doing a lot of those thing especially with the bunning.

        3. Did you wear a lot of protective styles to grow your hair out to it's current state? A gf and I are having a debate on loose styles vs protective and if it matters on how you retain length. Just curious...

        4. Good tips. Moisture is key and I know I'm guilty of going days without it.

        5. Great post my hair is so much happier now that I've learned how to keep it moisterized. Some must-know facts for those in the beginning phrase or anyone for that matter who just may not be aware! (:

        6. great tips. I think when people think of protective styles as hair that you don't have to take care of. but you still have to focus on hair health.

        7. Great post! You know I told you I have OD'd on wearing buns. I'm on the challenge to not use any heat for 3 to 6 months, but I haven't really mastered the twisting yet w/o horrible 2nd and 3rd day hair. This def gives some ideas that I can do to keep it cute while in this phase. Thanks! :)

        8. Besides exfoliating scalp, what can I do for scalp inflammation?

        9. Hey I'm so glad you did this post. I have some protective style ideas on my blog and info about keeping a healthy scalp. Check me out!

        10. Nice post. Do you think you can do a tute on how you achieved the sleek look in the picture? Whenever i try to do a braid out and then bun, it always looks absolutely disastrous...too horrible to step out in

        11. Great post. I would like to know if you are doing protective styles now, esp with the change in seasons. I realize the pic displayed was taken at the beginning of your hair journey. Most of the beautiful pictures of you, Nikole are in a braidout or twistout. I also would like to know if you have experienced having to switch up parts although you are wearing your hair out?

        12. thanks for this! my hairline is suffering since ive been bunning and wet bunning :(
          I hoped it would have grown back by now, but no dice! Do you know how to get my hairline growing back again? I've tried castor oil nightly and do regular scalp massages!

        13. @Danielle; Yes! Definitely remember to keep your hair moisturized underneath, it can make all the difference in length retention.

          @beauty.mindset; Thank you! Glad you found the tips useful!

          @Ksharee; I wore protective styles for the first few months, and I got tired of it :-/ I wear my hair out literally everyday and I haven't noticed any issue retaining length.

          @Sing; Thank you! Moisture is definitely key. Especially for our hair.

          @Courageously Kinky; Thank you! Moisturized hair is definitely happy hair!

          @BreukelensFinest; Thank you! And you are completely correct. We still need to do the same things to our hair regardless of if it is in a protective or expressive style.

          @LaTisha; Glad this post came in handy! And good luck on your no-heat challenege! I am sure you can do it!

          @Anonymous; You can clarify at least twice monthly; you can also use a product like Jane Carter's Scalp Renew which really clears up most scalp issues.

          @Hermine-Candy Girl; Sure thing! I will do one for ya over the weekend!

          @Margaret; I no longer wear protective styles. I wore them for several months, and I honestly didn't like the way I looked in a bun. LOL - I always switch up my part; sometimes it may be on the side, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes no part at all. - The closest I will get to a protective style these days is wearing my twists for a few days..however that is rare.

          @Anonymous; How long have you been using the castor oil and implementing the scalp massages? It can take anywhere from 3-6 months [with you doing it regularly] to see some hair growth.

        14. oo! hello moptop! ive been doing the castor oil/scap massage for about 2 months now. i didnt know id have to wait 3-6 months! patience is indeed the key! haha!
          do you have any other tricks to help the edges out?

        15. Nice post! Anyone can agree that moisture is essential for healthy hair. I've known a lot of friends who love wearing fashionable women's wigs and I feel the need to remind them about cleansing, moisturizing and circulating their hair, and preventing excess stress for a healthy scalp. Thanks for sharing the tips, Mop Top Maven!

        16. Do you have any tips for blending hair that is left out in a half-wig?


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