What is a protective hairstyle and how does it protect?

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I don’t really understand why African hair is usually not worn “as is” in the way that European and Asian hair is. Why are more care and more elaborate styling needed?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Most people have hair follicles that are pretty much circular, and that makes their hair uniformly strong, but some African populations have oblong hair follicles, which produce hair with an oblong cross-section. If you have that, your hair is a little more fragile and you have to be a little more careful with it.

Protective styles are ones where your hair isn’t “floating free”; it’s twisted together into braids, or a bun, or something where the hairs support each other. (Think of how a rope is way tougher than the fibers it’s made of.) When your hair is wrapped up like that it takes less sun damage, dries out less, snags on stuff less, and you don’t have to do as much brushing or combing; all of that is gentler on it.

Any non-African who wants to protect their hair, or wants a little less maintenance, can do the same styles and get the same benefits.