Well, what exactly is a protective style and what does this have to do with the question of weaving one’s hair?
Quite simple – a protective style is ANY style that you use to give your hair a ‘break/rest’ from all and any type of manipulation. Manipulation can take many forms –
- blow drying
- chemical processing, to name the more obvious ones.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at weaving as a method of protective styling.
Now, a weave is simply a tract of hair – either synthetic or authentic/human – that can be bought to use alongside your hair. It is more common for women to use weaves ( as it loosely termed) to enhance their own hair to add volume or length or to cover up a hair problem (like hair loss – though sometimes, overuse of weaves can indeed lead to hair loss in certain areas). There are also other women, who have a gorgeous head of hair and still get a ‘weave’ but normally for the protective style it offers.
There are a few ways to add a weave to your hair :
- as a sew-in
- as a glue-on
- as a clip-on
- as a weave cap
Of course, like any other hairstyle, there are advantages and disadvantages to the way your hair is handled in getting the style done.
As the name suggests, the tract of hair is sewn into or sometimes onto your natural hair. First, your hair is braided so that there is ‘something’ firm other than your single strands to attach or sew the tract into your hair. I must add at this juncture that the hair should not be braided too tightly or this will cause some discomfort and sometimes hair loss because of the stress put on the strands.
Needless to say, the way the tract is sewn into the hair will determine the length of time, along with the rate of growth of your own hair. As your hair grows, the tract will loosen from your scalp. Of course, if the tract is sewn too closely or tightly to your scalp, this will cause redness, headaches and pain for your scalp, not to mention that itchy feel, which you will have a difficult time to scratch to give you the relief you desire.
- a great protective style
- the tract can be easily removed once there is new hair growth
- if sewn too tightly, it causes hair bumps
- hair loss
- bad odor due to sweating and inadequate cleansing of the scalp and the quality of the hair
Of course, some of the cons above can be prevented or easily eliminated. We will discuss more about how to care for the weave in a bit.
The glue in
Now this is a big NO-NO in my books. The fact that synthetic or human hair is being glued or fused to your own hair means that there will always be stress on your strands from any type of manipulation as simple as combing or styling. The chance of your own hair breaking and being damaged is much greater than that of a sew-in.
As the name implies, the tract is glued near to the base of your hair. Sometimes, if glued too close to your scalp, this can result allergic reactions as well. Yes, it may appear to be a ‘seamless’ addition to your hair, it certainly won’t be a ‘seamless’ removal. The glue is difficult to remove and sometimes, not only is the tract removed, but some of your hair as well. Also, there are salons which provide a more individual glue-on of smaller tracts of hair versus a long length of the hair tract.
- seamless or less bulky feel to the hair addition,thus appearing more natural-looking
- more expensive
- hard to remove
- damages the integrity of your hair strands
- hair is more prone to breakage
Using any type of glue in your hair is definitely a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.
Yes, as the name suggests, it is clipped into the hair and held in place by the density of your hair as well as the style you are wearing. Various lengths of hair are woven onto the tract and then clips are sewn on along the tract. So, you can simply clip the hair into your hair to achieve the look you are wanting to achieve. This is also sometimes referred to as hair extensions.
- easy on your hair – no stress, no mess, no fuss, no thread, no glue
- easy to install and remove
- flexible in creating various styles giving you the option to be more creative
- can sometimes fall out if not firmly secured with the help of bobby pins
- can sometimes show in your style if not properly placed
All in all, I think this weave option is more healthy for your hair and scalp.
The weave cap
This is pretty much what it connotes. It is a cap that one puts over already braided hair and then the hair tract is sewn on the cap itself. It is usually a type of lace-like cap which is touted to give the more ‘natural’ look to the weave. Meaning – you are able to see your scalp through the cap and it should appear more genuine.
- less stressful for your hair
- easy to install and remove
- less time needed to install
- does not hold the style securely
- the cap/lace may become too stretchy and affect the look of the added hair
I think this can also be a reasonable weave choice.
How to care for the weave, your hair and scalp
Once you have a weave installed in your hair, it is still important to treat the ‘new’ hair as well as your hair with as much care as possible.
Depending on the quality of the hair you have purchased, it will give you longevity or nightmares. It is better to spend the extra dollars in buying a human hair tract versus a synthetic one. It will style better, handle a wash better and last but by no means, least – look more natural.
Weaves need to be washed more frequently than a few weeks. One must keep in mind that the sweat factor alone can make it uncomfortable for those close enough to smell the difference as well as yourself.
You need to remember to moisturize and oil your scalp while your hair is in a weave. If your scalp is dry, it will itch and cause some amount of discomfort for you. Having a spray bottle handy with some water or mix of water and your favorite oils and aloe vera, will make all the difference in the world to your scalp. You can spritz the mix daily or whenever you feel the need.
Ideally, not having to resort to weaves in any form is great, however, not all of us live in that perfect world and hence the additional hair support for whatever personal reason. I am not pointing any fingers. We all need to look and feel beautiful and as such, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder – even you, looking at yourself through your handheld mirror.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever had a weave for any reason or simply as a protective style? And which method did you use and would you do it again?
I invite your comments and thanks for reading my thoughts.