Winter is coming. As foreboding as that sounds on its own, winter means parched skin, chapped lips, and dehydrated hair. And if you have curly hair, that means your winter hairstyle is summed up in two words: frizzy and brittle. Even in warmer months, curly tends to dry out much quicker than straight hair. Here’s why: the natural sebum and oils that keep everyone’s hair moisturized (in the right balance) takes much longer to travel down the strand of a coil or curl. 

Without moisturizing products (without parabens) to seal the ends of wavy or curly hair, it can quickly dry out. When you add wind and chill and dryer temperatures, it can significantly speed up that process.

What is a protective style?

Enter the “protective style.” A protective style is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a style meant to protect your hair from the elements. Essentially, a protective style is any style that protects the ends of the hair that tend to experience the most damage. It keeps hair from splitting/breaking (which helps maintain length), keeps it from tangling or knotting (which can happen more frequently when hair is dry), and it also saves time when you’re getting ready.

Protective styles to consider

While there are multiple styles to choose, most women who consider protective styles choose from four core styles. 

  • Twists are a great option whether your hair is long or short. If it’s short, you can add extensions at the root and two-strand twist small sections of your hair. If it’s long, you can choose to twist your own hair or for added protection (and longevity) you can also add extensions. 
  • Right now, jumbo box-braids are trending and they’re exactly what they sound like: large platts of your hair are braided using extensions for a full look. 
  • For a quick look, a bun or updo is perfect for women who are on-the-go. Braid a high ponytail and wrap the braid into a bun or twist and pin your hair into a French twist.

Quick tips

While the above styles are sure to keep the ends of your hair tucked away and moisturized, it’s important that you combine it with these three things:

  • With twists and braids, make sure to keep your scalp moisturized with a sebum friendly oil like jojoba or argan oil
  • With buns and updos, add a leave-in conditioner while it’s wet to seal in your hair’s natural moisture
  • Before you add extensions, go to a salon for a quick trim so that you’re protecting healthy hair

Things to avoid

We want you to love your hair whether it’s doing its natural wavy/curly/coily thing or in a protective style. However, just because it’s easier to maintain, doesn’t mean there aren’t a few rules you shouldn’t break. Avoid doing these three things:

  • When you have twists or braids, don’t skip moisturizing your hair every few days (we mentioned oiling your scalp daily, but don’t forget the protected hair… spray a combo of witch hazel and tea tree for a light conditioner)
  • Don’t forget to wrap your hair with a silk scarf at night (wrapping your hair will keep your style neat and prevent your cotton pillow from stealing the moisture you’ve locked in)
  • Don’t leave it in too long and don’t rush taking it down (protective styles should only last a month and a half, tops… any longer than that and it could start to pull at the edges of the hair surrounding your face AND be careful taking it down so that it doesn’t knot or pull out those lovely tresses)