Friends, the chilly winter months are upon us. This means it's time to start tucking your curls away to protect them from the harsh drying weather. Now you may be thinking that keeping your hair protected from the cold will mean compromising on gorgeous hairstyles since your curls will not be free to take centre stage.
However, you’ve got nothing to worry about because protective styles are the ultimate solution. These gorgeous zero-manipulation hairstyles keep your curls tucked away and they come in a variety of options that will keep you looking your best all through the winter. In this article, we've got ten stunning protective styles you can play around with.
Benefits Of Protective Styling
Protects from harsh weather
The cold air in the winter can be extremely harsh and damaging to your curls. The dry weather raises the cuticles and allows moisture to escape faster than usual, leaving the hair brittle and lacklustre. But a protective style can prevent all that by keeping your curls tucked in and limiting exposure to the harsh weather.
Protective styles can also prevent breakage that would otherwise occur as a result of dryness during the winter. By keeping your curls tucked in, you will be able to limit the number of tangles, knots and split ends that normally occur when your curls are out.
If your hair is in a protective style, you can also retain moisture for longer. Since each strand is properly tucked in, the rate at which moisture escapes from is hair is significantly reduced. So, when you apply a moisturiser like our Manuka Honey Leave-in Conditioner, your hair will remain moisturised for several days before it dries out.
Improves Length Retention
Curly hair flourishes with minimal manipulation and proper moisture. So, putting your hair in a protective style that keeps your ends tucked in and you from constantly touching and tugging on the strands will help you retain length. In as little as 1-3 months, you will notice significant hair growth.
How To Prep The Hair For A Protective Style
Before installing a protective style, you need to properly cleanse and moisturise your hair. This is especially important because your curls will be tucked away until you take down the styles. So, you will not have full access to your scalp and the full length of the hair.
Begin by washing your hair with our Manuka Honey Hydration Shampoo. After thoroughly rinsing the shampoo out of the hair, follow up with our Moisture Rich Conditioner to help replenish the hair with moisture and soften the strands. If your hair is extremely dry or suffering from breakage, you can up the ante with a deep conditioner like Sofn'free's Deep Conditioning Hair Mask. It is enriched with Manuka Honey and Avocado oil which will help to nourish and strengthen the hair strands while delivering additional moisture that will leave your curls shiny and smooth.
Then finish off your hair prep by working in a generous amount of Sofnfree's Manuka Honey Leave-in Conditioner to make the hair much easier to detangle and shiny while locking in all the moisture you have infused during your wash.
Basic Rules Of Healthy Protective Styling
- Make sure the style is not too tight: A common mistake many people make when installing protective hairstyles is to make them extremely tight in a bid to make them last long. However, this will only put unnecessary tension on your scalp and over time it can result in breakage and hair loss.
- Keep your scalp oiled: Your scalp can also get dry and itchy when exposed to cold weather. So, ensure your scalp is nourished and moisturised with an oil like our Strengthening oil with Coconut oil, Jamaican black castor and Biotin Liposome all of which help boost scalp health and improve hair growth.
- Cover your hair before going to bed: Always cover your hair with a silk or satin bonnet/scarf. Doing this will reduce friction and prevent your hair from rubbing against your bedding. It will also limit the possibility of frizz, allowing you to carry the style for longer.
- Do not abandon your hair: Now this rule is pretty important because many people are guilty of this. A protective style does not mean you should neglect your hair and not apply any moisturising product. Your curls need to be re-moisturised if you will be carrying the style for more than a week. If you leave the hair for several weeks without moisture, it will get extremely dry and cause a ton of breakage when you eventually take down the style. You can spritz the hair with our Everyday Curl Refresh 1-2 times a week and seal in the moisture with our Scalp & Hair Oil.
- Be gentle during the takedown process: After having a protective style for several weeks, it can be tempting to simply pull and tug without caution when taking down the style. However, this is when your hair is most fragile since either has not been fully soaked with moisture. Before taking down the style, spray the hair with our Curl Refresh to soften and lubricate the hair strands. Then, gently use your fingers to loosen each section from the ends to the roots.
10 Winter Protective Styles For Natural Hair
1. Two-Strand Twists
Two-strand twists are a super cuter style that work with just about any hair type. If your curls are short, you can still rock these twists. They are fairly easy to do and can last up to two weeks. Just apply a dollop of our Coconut & Jamaican Black Castor Oil Curling Creme to keep your twists juicy and hydrated.
Cornrows are a classic protective style known for their simplicity and minimal maintenance. They can be styled in a million different ways ranging from straight back to ponytail and they always accentuate the contours of the face.
3. Flat Twists
Flat twists are a beautiful protective style that can last 1-2 weeks. This style is essentially a seamless combination of two-strand twists and cornrows. It is a unique style that works with all hair types.
4. Bantu Knots
If you're a lazy natural and want a style that is super easy to make and take down, then Bantu knots are the perfect choice for you. All you gotta do is apply Sofnfree's Flaxseed Oil & Rosewater Curling Mousse to each section of hair, twirl it from the root to tip until you form a stylish knot, secure it with a hair tie and you're good to go.
5. Box Braids
Box braids are an extremely popular protective hairstyle in the natural hair community. They are often installed with hair extensions, which allows you the freedom to get creative with your desired outcome. You can play with different lengths, colours, and sizes. This hairstyle can also last up to six weeks, giving you long-term protection if you don't have the time to keep styling your hair.
6. Faux Locs
If you've always wanted to try out locs but are not ready to give up your curls, faux locs are the perfect solution for you. This style involves completely wrapping the hair with hair extensions to create the illusion of locs. It is a very chic style that can be installed in different lengths, sizes and even colours.
7. Goddess Braids
These gorgeous braids are a twist on the classic box braids. They involve the addition of curly hair extensions to add volume and definition to your braid. This style is not only stunning enough to make you look like a literal goddess, but it also lets you rock the curly hair vibe without exposing your natural curls to the harsh weather.
8. Knotless Braids
Knotless braids are variations of box braids that are usually more gentle on the scalp. These braids lie flat on the scalp and unlike box braids, they do not form a knot at the root of the hair. So, they tend to look more natural and apply less tension to the scalp. They are also very easy to style; you can put them in a ponytail, low bun or even space bun without any hassle. Just apply our Curl Elongating Gel to each section of hair before braiding to reduce frizz and make the braids neat.
9. Braided Ponytail
A sleek ponytail with braided ends or a neatly tucked-in bun is another stunning style that is perfect for winter. It is a classic style that suits any event or outfit. All you need is Sofnfree's Flaxseed Oil & Rosewater Gel to smooth down each strand of hair and give the style a nice shine.
This option is perfect for days when you don't feel like dealing with your hair at all. Simply moisturise your curls and keep them protected under a gorgeous wig when you are ready to go out.
Protective styles are one of the best ways to ensure your curls remain healthy and safe from the extreme winter weather. As we've shown in this article, there are many style options to choose and each one is bound to leave you looking stunning. So don't be afraid to experiment with different styles to switch up your look and keep your hair healthy