How To Strengthen Your Hair With Protective Styling

by Zena Wozniak


Protective styling will change your hair game completely – and it’s easier than you think.

To learn all about, we enlisted the help of hairstylist to the stars, Naphia White. Naphia is none other than Rihanna’s personal stylists. She has styled Rihanna’s hair for Vogue and feature films including Oceans 8 and Guava Island.

Ready to take notes? Here’s everything Naphia wants you to know about protective styling.

What Is Protective Styling?

Protective styling is wearing you hair in a way that protects it from damage, and encourages healthier, stronger hair. The goal with protective styling is to get the most out of your natural hair as possible. The best part? It’s much simpler than you think.

“Often, when I say protective styling people think that means adding product or manipulating it in some sort of way,” Naphia tells us. “That’s not what I mean at all. I mean honoring your hair in its natural state. Sometimes just leaving it alone with a lovely shampoo and deep conditioner is all you need.”

Does that mean we should throw out our flatirons? Not necessarily. “I’m not saying you should never style your hair with heat or products” she clarifies. “We all do that and we all must for certain occasions. I’m just saying when you have that time to keep it in a protective style, let it get back to its natural state. Let it be strong and healthy as often as possible.”

Doing so, she promises, will not only make your hair stronger overall but really help it shine and hold styles even more beautifully for those special occasions.

Practical Tips For Protective Styling

Protective Styling Shampoo and Conditioner | The Wellnest by HUM Nutrition

Invest In The Right Shampoo & Conditioner

Naphia suggests looking for products that specifically call out formulations for stronger, thicker hair. Although many people tend to only seek these out when their hair starts feeling brittle, she recommends using it all the time as a preventative measure. She also cautions that a beauty supply shop will have more effective formulas than what’s available at the drugstore.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Don’t overdo it here! “Once or twice a week is all you need,” Naphia assures us.

Protective Styling Shampoo and Conditioner | The Wellnest by HUM Nutrition

Not All Hairbrushes Are CReated Equal

After finding a strengthening shampoo and conditioner, the next step is to get the right hairbrush. Here’s why. “Scalp stimulation is important for hair growth,” Naphia tells us. “My favorite brush to use is a Denman paddle brush. It’s a great brush for all types of hair. Whether you have curly or straight hair, it stimulates your scalp. Then, as it glides through, it does not break your hair which is really important.”

How Often You Should Brush Your Hair?

“Brush your hair every day,” Naphia instructs. “I don’t know who told women that they could get away with not brushing they hair. I mean, you don’t have to brush it throughout the day! You don’t even have to brush it in the morning! But at least brush it at night before you go to bed. Your hair will be so happy for it.”

Don’t worry though, there’s no need to go Marcia Brady on your hair and brush it 100 times in one sitting. “Just take two or three minutes to comb through it. That’s it. Our hair is so precious. You’ve got to treat it like a little baby.”

Protective Styling Body | The Wellnest by HUM Nutrition

How To Actually Wear Your Hair In A Protective Style

While some sources recommend braids and buns for protective styles, Naphia suggests a more hands-off approach. “Just let your hair live!” she says. “Let it live in its natural state.” If you have curly hair she recommends adding a good leave-in conditioner along with a deep serum. For straight hair, put a little serum and a little Biosilk to help strengthen. Then, just let it air dry and do it’s thing.

If you want to have your hair out of your face, you can always pull it back in a loose, low ponytail. Otherwise, any other style that pulls or tugs at your hair can encourage breakage.

Also, Don’t Cover It Up

Think of your hair a bit like a microbiome, if you will. “You want to let that natural bacteria come and hit it!” Naphia encourages. “If it’s all covered up all the time and it’s under a hat, or this, that and the other – your hair becomes brittle. You need that healthy bacteria to hit the scalp. You want that!”

Thank you, Naphia! To see more Naphia’s work, follow her on Instagram.

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