5 protective styles for natural hair you can do at home
Celebrity stylist and natural hair expert Whitney Eaddy opened our Zoom call with a warning. While we’re discussing summer-friendly protective styles—a term the natural hair community uses to refer to hairstyles that keep ends tucked away and minimize manipulation to retain length and moisture—there is one. which should be left out. “I hope you don’t expect me to recommend goddess braids,” she laughs. It’s not that the intricate braid style isn’t popular on its own, it’s that it’s not as protective as it claims, says Eaddy, the self-proclaimed hair growth guru. Hair health is not an afterthought for her, but rather of utmost importance.
With clients like SZA, Eaddy opts for low resistance styles that embrace the uniqueness of textured hair instead of trying to hide or manipulate it. And this is the essence of protective hairstyles. Essentially, these are everyday styles that will keep your hair looking its best. “Think of protective styles based on how they benefit your hair,” says Eaddy. “Your hair should [always] feel better when you take it out. Below, Eaddy outlines five protective summer-friendly styles that are easy to perform and gentle on the hairline.
braids with human hair
Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images via Getty
It’s well known that the secret to Zoe Kravitz’s signature braids is that she opts for human hair instead of synthetic extensions. Yes, it leaves the braids with more body and a softer finish, but Eaddy says it also leaves less mess. “When it comes to protective styles, most people immediately go for braids, but if you’re going to do braids, I always try to tell people to offer human hair if you can,” she says. . “It’s usually better for your hair. If you think about that, [Kanekalon] the hair is acrylic.
She likens it to cupping glass against your hair, which isn’t a very pleasant visual. Since the step-by-step is more complex (and took me personally the entire first half of the pandemic to master), it would be best done by a professional. Some stylists, Eaddy says, will take hair cut from human hair wefts, typically used for sewn-in weaves, and braid it. “It’s a really fancy way to braid your hair, but it’s an option.” It’s also more durable if you’re looking for a style that will take you from summer solstice to Labor Day.
Hooks without braid
If you are unfamiliar with hooks, they are a way to install low voltage extensions. With this method, the hair is crocheted onto a braided base, similar to the base you would have for a sewn-in weave, and tied by being looped back on itself using a crochet tool. With this in mind, the idea of crochet without a braid seems counterintuitive – if you’re not crocheting on a braid, then what is the hair attached to? “You can do twists underneath,” says Eaddy. This style involves creating a base and crocheting hair onto a net. You can create invisible hairlines. Eaddy says this is an even less intense way to wear this popular low-tension style.
U-Part Wigs With Clips
Any wig wearer knows that finding realistic and affordable wigs is difficult, especially when looking to match coarser textures. So, to enhance the realism of a U-shaped wig (a wig that only sits on the back and sides of the head with a U-shaped opening at the top of your head), it uses clips. “I love adding clips to U-shaped wigs for texture,” she says. “A lot of times our curls come in different shapes and so on, so you can twist your clips in and style them between leave-ins.”
Two Strand Twists
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The two-strand twist isn’t new and far from a trend, but celebs like Coi Leray and Zazie Beets are breathing new life into this tried-and-true style. The beauty of this style is how easy it is to perform – as the name suggests, you literally twist two strands, install a rubber band at the ends and voila!
To customize the twists, rounded baby hairs are an easy addition. But it’s important to create a moisture barrier between your hair and the edge tamer you use to style your edges. “When you look at most edge controls, they don’t mix with the oil, and a lot of people’s edges really need that oil for nourishment,” says Eaddy. “So it doesn’t always allow you to use care-based products rather than just styling.” It creates this barrier in three steps: two without rinsing and one oil. “You [have] create a good barrier for yourself,” she says. “Don’t dry it out. Nicki Minaj even said, ‘You can’t give them dry like that!’ The best part about two-strand twists? You are always ready for a twist.
A bun (not so tight)
Photo: Frazer Harrison/WireImage via Getty
When it comes to protective styles, the bun reigns supreme as the versatility is unmatched. “I like a top knot, I like a side part, I like a swoop. You can even do flat twists and roll them up,” says Eaddy. But not all buns are created equal, especially when you want to keep your edges intact. Eaddy advises against buns that pull too hard on the hairline (Bella Hadid, we’re looking at you). The tensions created by these buns can outweigh the degree of style protection. But you can still achieve a sleek style that doesn’t pull. The rule of thumb, says Eaddy, is to make sure he feels comfortable. “Avoid styles that hurt. If your scalp is telling you something is wrong, something is wrong.