The Pros and Cons of Protective Hairstyles

Verona White explains the advantages and disadvantages of wearing protective hairstyles

Protective hairstyles, such as wigs, weaves, cornrows and twists, are popular amongst people with afro hair. These styles give people an opportunity to not wear their hair loose, to keep it tucked away and unmanipulated which, in some instances, enables it to grow freely.

Low manipulation is a crucial aspect of caring for afro curly hair. This hair type is unique and requires gentle handling to maintain its health and to promote growth. Here are the reasons why low manipulation is beneficial for afro curly hair:

LESSENS BREAKAGE: Afro curly hair is prone to breakage due to its delicate nature. Excessive manipulation, such as frequent combing, brushing or styling, can lead to hair breakage. By reducing manipulation, you minimise the risk of breakage and help your hair retain its length.

RETAINS MOISTURE: Afro curly hair tends to be dry, because the natural oils produced by the scalp have a harder time travelling down the hair shaft. Frequent manipulation can further strip the hair of its moisture, leading to dryness and frizz. Low manipulation, on the other hand, allows the hair to retain its natural oils, keeping it moisturised and healthy.

REDUCES TENSION AND DAMAGE: Tight hairstyles, such as braids or ponytails, can cause tension and stress on the hair follicles, leading to traction alopecia or hair loss. Low manipulation styles, such as twist-outs or braid-outs, distribute the tension more evenly and reduce the risk of damage.

PROMOTES HAIR GROWTH: By reducing manipulation, you create an environment that promotes hair growth. Since afro curly hair is fragile, it’s essential to minimise any stress or trauma that could hinder its growth potential. Low-manipulation styles protect the hair and allow it to thrive.

Before wearing a protective hairstyle, hair will need a moisture treatment because these styles can be quite drying to your hair. It is also worth noting there are advantages and disadvantages to wearing protective styles.



Versatility – Wigs allow you to change your hairstyle quickly and easily.

Protection – Wearing a wig can protect your natural hair from damage caused by heat styling, chemicals, and environmental factors.

Low maintenance – Wigs require minimal daily maintenance compared to other styling options.


Comfort – Some people find wigs uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.

Cost – High-quality wigs can be quite expensive.

Breathability – Wearing a wig can make your scalp feel hot and sweaty, so having the right cap is key.



Length and volume – Weaves can instantly add length and volume to your natural hair.

Protective styling – Weaves can protect your natural hair by allowing it to rest and grow.

Styling options – You can style and manipulate weaves in various ways.


Tension and weight – Improper installation or excessive weight can cause tension and damage to your natural hair.

Maintenance – Weaves require regular maintenance, such as washing, conditioning and styling.

Potential for damage – If not installed or removed correctly, weaves can cause breakage and hair loss, so always use a hairdresser who understands about tension.



Low maintenance: Cornrows require minimal daily care.

Versatility: Cornrows can be styled in various patterns and designs.

Protection: Cornrows can protect your natural hair by keeping it tucked away and minimising manipulation.


Tension – Tight cornrows can cause discomfort and potentially lead to hair breakage. The hair line can be affected if the tension is too tight.

Scalp irritation – Some people may experience scalp irritation or itchiness after getting cornrows.

Limited styling options – Once your hair is cornrowed, you have limited flexibility in changing your hairstyle.



Low manipulation – Twists allow your natural hair to rest and grow, without excessive manipulation.

Versatility – Twists can be styled in various ways, such as updos or loose styles.

Protection – Twists can protect your ends and minimise breakage.


Time-consuming – Twists can take a long time to install, especially if you have long or thick hair.

Frizz – Twists can become frizzy over time, requiring regular maintenance to keep them neat.

Tension – If twists are installed too tightly, they can cause scalp tension and discomfort.

It’s important to note that the advantages and disadvantages may vary depending on factors such as hair type, maintenance routine, and the skill of the blessed hair stylist.

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