Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weave, A Protective Style? Your Kidding Right?
I was asked, on Facebook by my friend Carmen, to respond to a blog article called "Opinion:  A Weave is Not a Protective Style; It's Just A Weave."  This article or blog was written by Black Girl With Long Hair on July 10, 2013, and garnered some adversarial comments, which was to be expected. I, personally, agreed with the writer and thought it a viable discussion.

best-hair-weave-black-women  At first, I really didn't give it much thought but the photograph the blogger headed her article with was what really caught my attention.  My friend Carmen had also sent me another Face Book suggestion concerning weaves and severe hair line loss and so I figured I'd jump right into the weave controvesy with this article.

The model has apparently dyed the front of her hair a bright Auburn (left photo) and combed her hair into a similar color-related weave.  What is definitely obvious, with colors like this, is that the tones of hair color and the model's textures do not match as well as a more natural 2 or 1b hair coloring. Putting this aside, is a weave a protective style.  No, it is not!

However, it does use a protective styling method to accomplish its end goal of

creating an, as natural-looking, weaving style as possible.  This is accomplish by cornrowing the clients hair to create a "smooth" and flat base on which to attach the tracks of hair to the client's head.


1.  Capable of or intended to protect someone or something.
2.  Having or showing a strong wish to keep someone or something safe from harm.

defensive - preventive

We can readily agree that the information presented is about protective styling and we split off into other factions from there as to what constitutes protective styling.

I found a great definition from the Natural Hair Dictionary.

Protective Hairstyle (Hair Style) – This is a style that requires little manipulation, protects the ends of the hair by keeping them tucked away and allows regular moisturizing. Common styles like twists, coils, flat twists and cornrows can all be converted to protective styles by tucking or hiding the ends.

As many of us know, the natural hair community has been steadily expanding, evolving, and excitingly making change in our social and economic environments.  This is where I first heard the term "protective styling."  Reason-being that African American hair tends to be dry and needs additional moisture to keep it viable and help to retain length.

In fact, more than likely, if you were to Google the term "protective styling" you will see a woman of color sporting an innovative twist, bun, cornrow, or swank hairstyle.  This technique is used by the different natural hair textures as a way to keep the ends of their natural hair from becoming dried out, raggedy, plagued with single-strand knots, and constantly manipulated by styling combs, braiding, and pulling.

The primary purpose of protective styling for hair is to reduce breakage of your hair so that you can retain hair length.

Naturals, especially, have complaints that the ends of their hair are filled with fabric because their hair is constantly rubbing against their clothes.  Hair getting caught in their jewelry, on chairs, in seatbelts, and suffering from drying episodes from being exposed to the climate or environment.

A few natural hair bloggers have included weaves as a protective hair option.  However, unlike wigs, which can be removed easily and makes your hair accessible for upkeep, and true protective styling, You cannot properly take care of your tresses while hair is "covered" by a weave that is usually worn four to six weeks or longer.  Yes,  the hair can grow like weeds under the weave but what is the state and condition of the hair?  You must also consider the amount of usual hair that has been shed, dirt, expiration and oils that have incurred while hair has been closed in by the weave.

Negative Effects of Weave on Tresses

The longer the hair remains under the weave, the looser your hair becomes, allowing room for unnecessary friction to the new growth.  The hair can become "matted" when weaves are left in for long periods.

Moisturizing and maintaining the scalp by applying oils and water can cause the hair to become matted. The "tension" applied when installing weaves can be a great detriment to one's scalp and roots.  This can cause hair strands to be pulled out by its roots.

We aren't even talking about the damage that is done to the clients who are long-term weave wearers.

Unfortunately, many women neglect effective care of their hair because the weave allows them the privilege to do so.  Therefore, knocking it off the list of protectve styling.

Weaves Are A Styling Options

Weaves, of any textures, allows the wearer more syling options.  There's nothing wrong with desiring to wear one's hair straight and flowing, and experience it flapping in the wind. Or, having spiraling curls cascade downs one's back! Or to have a bounty of curls that can shame that of a lion!  Undeniably, weaves are convenient, stylish, wearable and fashionable!  However, a protective style, I beg to differ!

Requirements Of A Protective Style

  • It should allow easy and quick access to your scalp to keep it moisturized and clean.
  • You should be able to maintain the hair/style with minimal  fuss and manipulation to your tresses.
  • A Style that is easily covered at night, while sleeping.
  • Allows hair to breathe while keeping the ends tucked in or covered.
  • Effective Protective Styling
Weaves are a wonderful option, when taken care of your hair underneath it, for women of color.  Whether the options are short, curly, or long and flowing, it sets the styling bar for women who even just want to give 
their hair a "rest" from a period of manipulation.  

Protective Styling, for naturals, is an option that allows women to wear their natural hair while doing their best to protect it from the reality of daily manipulation and the environment.

Weave wearing or protective styling is a choice for the individual wearer and each option needs to be respected. Short, long, curly, or is our Crown and we should wear it with grace!

As always,  Happy Curls to You!

Leave your comments, pictures, or thoughts below.  Love to hear from you!

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