Damaging Protective Hairstyles

Damaging Protective Hairstyles

Damaging Protective Hairstyles

If your hair is afro-textured, you may be familiar with the term protective styling. However, some protective hairstyles can do the exact opposite causing long-term hair damage and alopecia.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the protective hairstyles that can cause permanent damage and what you can do to avoid them.



Lace Front Wigs

A lace front wig is a wonderful way to attain more natural-looking hair extensions without the need for leaving any of your hair out. The rising popularity of lace front wigs has led to lots of DIY videos and horror stories from those who have tried them. 


The main way to secure a lace front is with glue or glue strips but what many people don’t realise is that this trend was not initially designed for everyday use. Constantly applying the glue when the wig lifts, and the tension caused when styling will inevitably weaken your hairline. The glue which is used to affix the wig to your hair can also create many problems with many people claiming to have had an allergic reaction causing scalp damage which in turn leads to hair loss.

To avoid damaging your hair when glueing down lace wigs, always patch test glues and have lace wigs installed and removed by professionals. Also, remember that they are great for short-term use. Frequent use may cause permanent damage.


Glueless lace front wigs are not consequence-free either. They are usually secured by wig strips worn on the head under the wig or elasticated bands around the back of the wig or both. The tension and pressure caused by the tightness required to hold a glueless lace wig in place can damage and weaken hairlines. 



Sew In Hair Weave

Sew in hair weaves are a wonderful way to add body and length to your hair, or enjoy a new look whilst keeping your natural hair covered and seemingly protected.   

A hair weave can lose its protective edge when your hair is constantly tugged and pulled by daily styling as you brush and style the weave, and also due to the tightness with which some hair weaves are administered which can then lead to traction alopecia. 


To avoid hair damage, don’t ignore any pain or scalp sensitivity when your weave is being installed or after. Take it out or ask your stylist to adjust the tension. When combing your hair weave, use one hand to press down on your roots so the tension caused by combing or brushing won’t put too much pressure on your roots. 

And as tempting as it may be, try not to leave weaves in for too long or wear back-to-back weaves. Allow your hair some time to breathe and be treated. 



Chemical Treatments 

Some people view chemical treatments as protective styles because they can help loosen curls or straighten hair making it more manageable and versatile. Whether it’s a perm, a relaxer, or even a simple hair colourant – the chemicals we put on our hair matter. Some of the chemicals which are used in these processes can have a devastating impact on our hair and overall health since they can be absorbed into our bodies. This is why many pregnant and nursing women are advised to avoid chemical hair treatments. 


Hair perms can burn the scalp and hair dyes can damage the hair making it dry and brittle and prone to breaking. With all that being said, if you prefer to straighten your hair, there is no need to give up on chemical treatments altogether. Instead, explore alternative product ranges and ask your hairstylist about methods that will be kinder and gentler to your hair type. As with so many of these issues, the problem can often be resolved when you work with a stylist who truly understands the texture of your hair and its unique needs. When using home kits follow the instructions and always do a patch test. 



Cornrows And Braids

Similar to a hair weave, cornrows and braids are not without consequences for your hair. By their very nature, these hairstyles include the tight pulling of your scalp to pick and tuck away hair into braids or cornrows and can lead to tension alopecia. There are a few different ways to avoid this. Firstly, try and lessen the impact on your scalp by choosing a different style from time to time. This will also help give your hairline time to recover and don't be shy, let your hair braider know when it feels too tight.  If you begin to notice your hairline receding or getting weaker it might be time to put a long-term pause on hairstyles which add more tension to your hairline so you can avoid tension alopecia and permanent hair loss. 



Take Ownership Of Your Protective Style 

Some hairstylists do just that and only that. They style your hair according to your request and take no responsibility for protecting your natural hair. 

There are hairstylists out there who will help you achieve the look you want without damaging your hair. It is your job to do your research beforehand, check reviews and ask questions. 

When enquiring, always remember to ask for advice on maintenance and aftercare so you will know beforehand if you can maintain the style and its upkeep. 


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