Nia White | Staff Writer
Protective styles are a form of expression and hair care in the Black community that offer a break from the daily manipulation of hair.
“Protective styles keep your hair tucked away to reduce manipulation which is proven to aid in hair growth,” said Camille King, senior Biology pre-med major, self-taught stylist, and owner of Hair Worth a Millie. “The more your hair is manipulated from brushing, pulling, and tugging, the more likely your hair is to break off. Your ends are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair strand so keeping them tucked and protected reduces breakage.”
Some Hampton University students and alumni specialize in providing protective styles to students on and off campus and the surrounding Hampton area. Business owners include Ariana Greene, Kayla Waite and Camille King.
Ariana Greene is a 2020 graduate of HU, cosmetology student and owner of Ariana’s Canvas. Kayla Waite is a senior strategic communication major, self-taught stylist and owner of Slayed by a Goddess. Camille King is a senior biology pre-med major, self-taught stylist and owner of Hair Worth a Millie.
“I provide so many styles from braids, [faux] locs, twists, cornrows and natural styles,” Greene said.
The type of protective style most effective varies by season.
“These [protective] styles are meant to reduce manipulation and or styling time for your hair. [They] also protect your strands from the harsh weather,” Waite said.
During the winter when the weather is harshest, full coverage for hair is best. This protects from damage and gives the hair a break from manipulation.
“For colder months I really like doing [faux] locs on clients because it’s full protection like a coat or scarf for your hair, your hair isn’t exposed, “ Greene said.
Other protective styles for the winter include “wigs and weaves [because] as it gets cold, it becomes more difficult to keep your hair and scalp moisturized. Wearing wigs and weaves can protect your hair and scalp from all extreme environmental elements enhance hair growth,” King said.
Warmer months are the time for lighter protection, that don’t weigh down the hair as much.
“One good protective style for spring would be bob butterfly [faux] locs, they give off a playful vibe and are lightweight so they don’t irritate you in the summer heat. Marley and Havana twists are good choices as well,” Waite said.
“I love all braided and twisted styles for the summer! They are so versatile and pretty,” King said. “Whether you choose to add hair or style your natural hair, it will be bomb. Just remember to keep your hair moisturized using oils, creams and butters.”
Protective styles also depend on how long they will be kept in and the overall goal of getting the style.
“I would consider any form of box braids, like goddess braids or knotless braids long term styles. Twists, depending on the texture can also be considered a long term style,” Waite said. “Marley twists which typically are more coarse will usually last longer than passion twists. Straight backs, butterfly locs, and most jumbo styles would be short term.”
The type of protective style can also differ depending on hair density.
“Hair texture as in 4a-4c doesn’t matter but the density is really important. [For] clients with fine hair [or] thin hair excluding texture I recommend lighter styles like knotless [braids] or a few feed-in tribal braids. For thicker hair I would not typically recommend knotless [braids] but [faux] locs are cool,” Greene said. “Honestly it depends on how the client likes their hair to shape their appearance too.”
While protective styles are mainly protective from weather and manipulation they also offer other benefits.
“[If installed correctly by stylist] protective styles help because they can give low tension styles that give you a break from your hair,” Greene said.