Protective Styles vs. Low Manipulation Styles
Protective styles hide the ends of hair from restless hands, rough fabrics (wool, sequin, etc.) and environmental pollution. They also require regular maintenance. Protective styles are crucial for length retention (read: long hair) since the ends are the oldest and most fragile part of the hair, so they must be well protected. Examples of protective styles are buns, updos, wigs and clip-ins. The pictures below are example of protective styles.
Low manipulation styles require little upkeep and can be maintained for more than week. They include braids, weaves, cornrows, etc.
Many styles typically fall under both categories. For example, weaves are low manipulation styles, as they can last for a month or more. They are also protective styles, as the ends of the hair are hidden in braids under the weave. If the above styles are not done properly (i.e. too tight), they will damage the hair, becoming destructive styles. If you feel ‘the pull’ on your edges, then it is too tight. These styles should be avoided to prevent thinning edges.
These are styles that require no heat. They are also the go-to styles during relaxer stretch. They include flat twists, twist outs, braid outs, flexi rod sets, curlformers sets, Bantu knots, etc.
Have you tried a protective style? What about heatless styles? What is your favorite low manipulation style? Let me know in the comment section below!