By Alexa Santory
Sleep is honestly and truly an amazing thing. You know what’s not amazing? Waking up with a head full of a dry, frizzy hair after sleeping on it. And what’s the deal with hair drying out super fast when you leave it loose? The cold air really took the moisture outta there too, huh? Is there no justice in the world?! Considering the complexity of curly hair and all the stuff it needs to stay curly, it’s no wonder we need to keep it safe in order to keep it moisturized. Say bye to dry and unmanageable curls! We’re gonna talk about hairstyles we can do to retain the moisture in our hair this fall and every season after that.
Protective Styling for Your Curly Hair Needs
I’m sure we all know the term “protective styles” and what they’re meant to do for our hair. It’s literally all in the name! Curly hair, especially more coily types like 4B/C, needs to be taken care of in a very particular set of ways in order for it to look and feel manageable, healthy, and defined. Curly hair is already naturally more fragile than straight hair. Every curve of a curl is a essentially a potential breaking point for the hair, which is why adding and retaining moisture is the key to having healthy curls. Throw in protective styling and you have yourself a healthy head of hair! Here are some of the best hairstyles (plus a few other tips!) to keep the moisture in your hair.
1. Braids and twists!
These styles can be worn in any number of ways and tbh, they’re all really cute. Whether it’s two thick twists or French braids, or a bunch of little ones, these styles are going to keep your hair safe and free from breakage. Braid outs are my go to protective style. After applying my leave-ins following the LOC method, I’ll braid my hair into two French braids when it’s about 60% dry and leave them in for 24 hours -- sometimes more if I don’t feel like taking them out quite yet! The result is always super-defined, voluminous curls. I’ll braid them again before bed, too, to keep the curls intact. Although I don’t have 4B/C curls, this method has made my hair grow immensely and it’s used as a way to stretch the hair and reduce the amount of tangles you have at the end of the week. They also lock in moisture really well because the style itself doesn’t allow any moisture to escape. These are great ways to keep the hair moisturized for a couple of extra days! And always!!! Let the style dry fully before you take them out, especially if you’re going for more definition!
There’s couldn’t be a more perfect name for this style. If wash and go styles are your thing -- AKA washing your hair, putting in product, and just letting it air dry -- pineappling might be the overnight style you’ve been looking for. Sleeping on loose curls is a surefire to way to flatten the curl, create frizz, and lose definition literally overnight. All that work for nothing!! Don’t let it go to waste and keep the curls moisturized and defined by gathering all the hair at the top of your head and securing it loosely with a hair tie. The curls will be loose on top of your head, so they’ll be far away from any potential damage. It also could look kinda cute during the day with a satin head wrap to keep the rest of the hair smooth and shiny too!
3. Buns and knots!
The ends of our hair are often the first to show signs of damage and dryness. Keeping your hair in a bun or bantu knots is an excellent way to keep the ends protected and lock moisture in, because like braids and twists, where is it gonna go?! Bantu knots are great styles to do on wet hair, especially before braiding or twisting. Since curlier hair is more prone to tangles and knots, these buns will keep the hair stretched and prevents breakage when you go to braid it.
4. Head wraps!
These protect the whole head because they keep the hair from being exposed to the elements. Silk and satin ones also add a nice sheen to the hair, which is always nice. This is a good option if your hair is freshly washed and you wanna maintain a style for a few days. They give any outfit a great vibe, too!
And a few other things to remember!
- If you have high porosity hair, always, and I mean always, seal your hair in the shower with cold water. This will snap the cuticle shut and keep moisture in its place. Low porosity folks: use heat when moisturizing to open up the hair cuticle, and seal with a light oil.
- If you’re doing a protective style overnight, seal in the moisture with oil. It’ll keep the hair protected and won’t allow moisture to escape.
- Sleep with a satin bonnet or satin pillowcases or both! Believe it or not but cotton literally sucks the moisture from curly and natural hair, making it more prone to breakage. Satin is much gentler on our curls and prevents them from splitting, frizzing, and tangling.
Curly hair requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Honestly though, is there anything more dope than seeing someone with a head of beautiful, defined curls?! Our hair breaks all the rules and it’s something to be proud of. Take care of your hair and you’ll reap the benefits tenfold!