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What is a Protective Style?

The most requested type of style for 4C hair girls. (Don’t know what 4C hair is... that’s another blog post all on its own). If you’ve ever wondered, what the heck IS a protective style, you’re not alone AND you’ve come to the right place.

Every salon, blogger, and vlogger that has an opinion to share has said something on the topic. The coolest thing about protective styles, for us, is how they don't discriminate amongst hair types. 4C hair wearers usually show some level of hesitation towards requesting the most popular styles, wondering if they’ll translate well with their 4C hair type. But not when it comes to protective hair styling. When it comes to protective hairstyles, everyone can have fun.

The most bare bones definition of what a protective style is: a style where all of your ends are tucked away. This can be achieved with your hair (depending on its length) or with extensions. Over the years many textured extension styles have become synonymous with protective styles, but the truth is that options go beyond extensions. Think a flat twist up-do, or flat twist bun, or two strand twists pinned up; all of these styles, for the most part, can be done with no hair added and result in your ends being pinned or tucked away. And it’s the nature of these styles that usually results in hair growth. THIS last fact has caused the popularity of protective styles to skyrocket.

The very nature of a protective style is similar to that of locs. Locs being a style whose length is endless. Similar to locs, the nature of a protective style is that it requires VERY low manipulation and your strands are bound together. Though a protective style is much less permanent (not to say you can’t comb out locs) its style tucks your ends in a way that discourages any loose hair from leaving the bunch. A few bloggers have found good growth results coupling protective hair styling with finger combing.

Finger combing is a detangling technique that is true to its name. It literally means to detangle your hair ONLY using your fingers.

The thing about finger combing is that you won’t find many, if any, salons to do this as it is very time consuming. And for any fast-paced and heavily-booked salon providing this service could drastically decrease the number of clients they service AND the salon may not believe in this technique enough to invest the time.

At N, we do not believe this technique has been solidly proven to yield results for everyone, and it is not a service we offer. Not to mention, if it was a service we offered, we’re not sure many clients would find it worth their coins. IF offered we would need to charge about $50 per 30 minutes to have it make financial sense for our salon team.

But we digressed; protective styles, we love 'em’. The photos you’ve seen throughout this blog post are all protective styles done at our salon. The irony in the name of “protective” styles is that we have noticed they kind of protect your hair from you. Many clients over-manipulate their hair or under-manipulate it in a manner that leads to tangles, making their curls knot intensive, causing excessive and unnecessary shedding. Protective styles allow for your hair to be neatly tucked away allowing your strands to grow in peace to longer lengths.

At the end of the day, if you’ve gotten nothing else from this article, walk away assured that protective styles, done properly, are a good look. And they work very well for 4C and all other curly hair gals who are looking to grow their hair or simply not manipulate it on a frequent basis.


If you’d like to find out what type of protective style is best for you simply give us a call or shoot us a text at

301-910-HAIR (4247.)

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