What are Protective Styles for Mixed Kids? Plus Top Tips for Getting it Right

by Mixed Up Mama
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What are Protective Styles for Mixed Kids?

If you’re here, you may have heard a lot about protective hairstyles for mixed kids and the importance of protecting your daughter/son’s hair from sun damage or breaking.

And while you may have a vague idea, like me you probably didn’t know exactly why it’s so important. Why is it necessary and what exactly does it do?. Well here it is…

A protective style is simply a hairstyle that protects the ends of your hair, helping to decrease tangling, shedding and breakage.

Putting your biracial child’s curly hair into protective styles is necessary for growth, to maintain length, and often necessary to for time management. Trying to wash and style our children’s hair every day is not only practically impossible but perhaps not so great for their hair. 

So you’ve read through the basics on taking care of your mixed or biracial children’s hair. Now you need some more detail about putting it into styles that will help it to grow, prevent breakage and reduce daily damage caused by the elements. Protecting hair is beneficial to all types of curly hair textures, afro, natural and even relaxed hair.

I read somewhere that protective styles are to curly hair as washing daily and combing are to straight hair. It’s a must. The benefits of such styles help the hair to grow healthier and reduce split ends and tangling.

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A Basic guide to Protective styles for Mixed Kids

I have three daughters and the time saved by putting their hair into protective styles cannot be overestimated. Washing, detangling and moisturising daily not only takes time but it also takes its toll on the hair. Protective styles can be left in for days, sometimes (depending on the hair) more than a week. 

Nowadays there are lots of ideas for putting your child’s curly locks into protective styles. 

What are some examples of protective styles for mixed race hair?

  • Buns
  • Braids
  • cornrows
  • box braids
  • Extensions
  • Sew-in Weaves

A true protective hairstyle hides the ends of the hair from exposure but should leave them in a detangled state. For example, once you have properly detangled your hair and pulled it into a ponytail, you can then twist down your ponytail and pin it into a bun. This helps to promote hair growth as the idea is to actually retain your length rather than the very ineffective idea of speeding up hair growth.

Sometimes braids or ponytails and buns that are pulled too tight can actually do more damage than leaving the hair out . Parents should be careful about the amount of tension placed on the hairline as it can actually be counterintuitive to what you are actually trying to achieve.

So that said, there are loads of hairstyles that protect the hair, some more exciting and elaborate than others. Here are a few examples that I’ve tried over the years but remember, the style must protect all aspects of the hair- the ends, sure but ensuring strong follicles at the root to promote hair retention and growth.

 

How often should I be putting my biracial children’s hair into protective styles?

Protective styles can be interchanged with styles that showcase their curls. Obviously, they’ll want to have their hair out at different times and that’s great that they want to let their hair breathe. Click here for some curly hairstyle ideas for both boys and girls.

A good idea is to incorporate styling your mixed kids’ hair into your routine. Try setting some time aside every Sunday evening to wash, comb, moisturise and style your child’s hair.

I know a lot of biracial kids who have grown up and look fondly on that time with their Mum (or Dad) as– okay, yes painful I won’t lie, the detangling can be an effort– but also a time that they looked forward to, when they had their Mum’s full attention and just knew it was part of their routine. (Giving them full access to screen time doesn’t hurt either).

If that doesn’t work for you, try finding a salon nearby that can braid your child’s hair. They’ll often be more skilled at it so the braids can be smaller and stay in longer. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just one that you feel comfortable in and that doesn’t charge an arm or a leg.

 

When is it Ideal to use Protective Styles?

A lot of naturally curly hair enthusiasts would advise to use protective styles a lot in the winter especially because of how dry the air can get. Saying that, if you live in an especially sunny climate and you expose your hair a lot, the damage from the sun can take its toll.

Take advantage of protective styles when going on holiday or when school is out and you don’t have the time, tools or routine to manage their hair properly. This is when I get creative. They appreciate not having to sit down every morning when they’re eager to get to the beach and so do I.

 

Using Protective Styles as part of your Night-Time Routine

Putting the hair into a protective style such as a braid, or pineapple bun loosely on top of the head can also help the hair overnight. First, make sure you have a satin or silk hair bonnet or a purchase a satin pillowcase if your little one won’t wear a bonnet (boys can wear a du-rag), then put the hair into a protective style and sleep! You’d be surprised how well the hair keeps overnight! Your morning routine should just be wetting the curls, spraying with a light moisturising spray and plumping up the curls with your fingers. Then voila!

 

Top 10 Tips for Protective Styles:

  1. Always make sure your child’s hair is clean, deep-conditioned, and moisturised before styling. This will ensure the hair can actually go the distance last longer without breakage. How you prep your protective style is just as important as which style you choose.
  2. My favorite protective style is two strand twists! They’re gentle, easy, and quick to install.
  3. Leaving protective styles in too long can also perpetrate these crimes, ultimately, because of the lack of moisture.
  4. Never add too much product because it can actually cause product buildup. Keep it simple and use water and oil to maintain.
  5. Don’t overdo it and think you need to have an elaborate hairdo to keep it protected. All you really need is for the hair to be moisturised and oiled with the ends tucked away. A simple bun is a great style to choose.
  6. Keeping your child’s hair moisturised and their scalp clean during the protective style phase. Not just before and after.
  7. Make sure that the style you choose protects all of their hair—the ends included.
  8. Avoid going for hairstyles that put tension on the scalp and can cause more damage than it needs.
  9. Make protective styles part of your weekly routine. Make it intimate, put music or the tele on and allow your child to sit in between your knees and fall asleep if they want to.
  10. Allow your child to have their hair out once in a while. Spend the time when it’s something special and they want to showcase their curls. Loving their curls is just as important, if not more important, than protecting them.

 

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2 comments

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CARING FOR CURLY BIRACIAL HAIR | Mixed.Up.Mama March 25, 2019 - 2:07 pm

[…] Before your kids go to sleep, take out their tight hair bands and styles. Plait the hair but try not to use any hair bands or braid it too tightly. Use a satin pillowcase or a satin nylon sleep cap to keep moisture in their hair. Or to reduce friction if they do have a protective style. Click here to learn more about protective styles and why we need them.  […]

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My Biracial Hair Care Routine | Mixed.Up.Mama April 9, 2019 - 9:28 pm

[…] And the thicker the hair, the more oil you’ll need to really penetrate all of the hair. My daughter’s curly hair care routine (for reference) takes me about 7-10 minutes to brush through and put into a protective style. […]

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