Can I get box braids? Can I get cornrows? What about a weave or crochets? Not sure if your hair can handle a protective style? You’re right to ask before hopping into a stylist’s chair. Not all protective styles are created equal. Sure, they’re a great way to give your hair a break from daily manipulation and grooming, however thanks to what we’ve learned from our short film, Pretty Shouldn’t Hurt we also know that your hair resilience plays a big factor in whether or not protective styling can help or hurt you. Even with the right installation and care, braided styles or extensions might still do damage if your hair is not strong enough to handle a protective style.
To shed more light on this, we enlisted the help of Celebrity Hairstylist & Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams and Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Crystal Aguh–both of whom you might recognize from the film.
As Dr. Aguh points out, protective hairstyles fall into one of three categories: High Risk, Moderate Risk and Low Risk hairstyles (check out the nifty infographic below). With this in mind, you should really use your prior experiences to judge whether or not your hair is suitable for protective styles with extensions, or consult with a licensed hairstylist or board certified dermatologist. If that’s not possible, we’ve developed this quiz to give you a general sense of whether or not protective styles are right for you.
🤚🏾🛑 HEADS UP 🛑🤚🏾
- If your hair is less than 4 inches long, you should wait for it to grow more before getting a style that requires braiding.
- If you’ve recently had a protective style, especially with extensions, you should let your hair breathe for the same amount of time that you had the style in.
- If you’re currently experiencing breakage, either from a previous style or postpartum shedding, you should wait for your hair to recover before you get a style that requires braids.
If none of the above applies to you, let’s get started on the quiz!