A black woman’s hair is her crown. And just like any other treasure she owns, it’s a possession worth protecting. That’s why many women spend so much time, money, and energy finding ways to lock in moisture and protect their hair from damage. And one of the top ways we’ve done this for thousands of years is through protective styles.
But protective styles don’t have to involve your hair itself. More and more, black women are turning to wigs to add a little extra flair to their looks and to help them protect their curls. Learning how to use wigs as a protective style is the key to getting the most out of your hair.
What Is a Protective Style?
Those who are growing in their knowledge of natural hair care may have heard the term “protective style” without knowing what it means. A protective style is a hairstyle designed to protect your hair from environmental factors that can damage it, such as manipulation, excessive moisture, heat, or dry air.
Common protective styles include:
- Box braids
- Bantu knots
Keep in mind that a protective style is only as good as the hair care you accompany it with. For example, if you put your hair up in a bun, you still have to take it down every now and then, massage your scalp, and apply moisturizing products.
Benefits of Protective Styles
When you keep your hair away from damaging forces like the ones mentioned above, you help prevent breakage, maintain moisture levels, and promote hair growth.
This is especially beneficial in conditions that are more likely to damage your hair. For example, if you live in an area of the country where the air becomes dry in the winter, you should protect your hair then. Or, if you’re heading out on vacation or are spending time at the pool, wear a low-maintenance protective style that will keep your hair in pristine condition.
Tips for Using Wigs as a Protective Style
A wig usually helps keep your hair tucked back and away from any manipulation. On top of that, the wig completely covers your natural hair from outside dry or humid air. Because of that, wearing a wig is an ideal protective style, but only if you do it right. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re using a wig to protect your hair.
Choose Your Wig Carefully
Not all wigs are equal, and finding the right wig will help ensure your hair gets the protection it needs. When you’re choosing a wig to use for your protective style, try to look for the following:
- Select a wig that you can maintain and style
- Be sure the cap is breathable
- Opt for natural hair wigs for breathability
The style of the wig doesn’t matter as much as the material, how much of your hair it covers, and how it attaches to your head. So, whether you want to rock a Mary J Blige-esque blonde wig or love the natural look of braided wigs, you can know your hair is in good hands.
Prep Your Hair
Cramming your hair into a wig cap isn’t enough to protect your curls from damage. One of the most important parts of learning how to use your wig as a protective style is prepping it before you put the wig on.
Before putting up your hair, make sure you have washed and thoroughly conditioned it. Then, consider putting it in plaits or cornrows. These are already protective styles that will keep your hair in place. And they’ll keep your hair flat, so it doesn’t look bulky under your wig. Just avoid braiding them too tightly, or you might damage your edges.
Use an Adjustable Elastic Band
There are a plethora of ways to keep a wig secured to your head. However, not all of them are ideal for protective styles. For example, tapes can pull at your hair, and clips and combs can be counterproductive for people who are trying not to pull or manipulate their hair too much. Because of that, consider adding an adjustable elastic band to your wig to secure it.
Protect Your Hair
A wig cap is usually the best bet to keep your hair protected. A wig cap helps prevent excessive friction between the wig and your scalp. When you’re looking for an ideal wig cap, search for one made out of breathable material that properly fits your head.
Care for Your Hair
Just because you are tucking your hair under your wig doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer your hair a little tender loving care. Even if you’re keeping to a wig-centric style, you should still continue a hair care routine by:
- Keeping up with wash days
- Adding moisturizing products to your hair before putting on a wig
- Putting castor oil on your edges regularly
- Letting your hair down regularly
Part of caring for your hair with a wig is knowing when to step away from the wig. Although it will protect your hair, leaving it on exclusively for extensive periods can damage it. Taking your wig off at night will help. You might also consider taking your wig off every now and then in exchange for a different protective style.
Tend to Your Wig Too
Your wig is the thing protecting your hair, but for it to do the job properly, you will need to make sure it’s in top condition too. That means doing a few essential wig-care tasks, like:
- Wash your wig regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Don’t use too much product
- Avoid putting too much heat on it through curling or flat irons
- Keep your wig on a wig stand when you’re not wearing it
- Try not to sleep in your wig
Part of keeping your wig in good condition for as long as possible starts with choosing a good quality wig in the first place. And when it comes to great quality wigs for black women, Instant Arewa hair has your back with a myriad of styles that will protect your beautiful hair.