Protective Styles: My hair, my choice


Junior business administration major Danaila Johnson posing with her bright hair and a smile. Protective styles can be convenient for college students with curly hair.

When you have thick curly hair, taking care of it can be demanding and difficult. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep it strong and healthy. Protective hairstyles are a way to protect natural hair from damage that can range from chemical to environmental. 

A college student with natural hair may find it difficult to focus on tasks like styling their hair when they have a busy schedule. Protective hairstyles are an easy way to accommodate those busy schedules.

There are many protective styles, but the most popular include braids, wigs, twists and locs. These styles require little maintenance and can last for a month or longer, depending on the style and if the hairstyle is properly cared for. 

“I prefer protective hair over my natural hair because it’s easier to manage and makes getting ready to go out much easier,” said sophomore art major Micah Leverett.

In the African American community, hair can be a means of expression. Choosing different hairstyles can be a distinct way to express yourself.

“Protective styling gives you more variety and expression of who you are,” said sophomore health sciences major Jamari Sonia. 

Wearing protective styles can benefit college students because of the low maintenance required.

“My favorite protective style was box braids. I could just wake up and go,” commented senior psychology major Alyssa Harrell.

Protective styles provide an easy and convenient way for students to preserve their time.

“I wear my hair in braids because it saves me time and allows me to spend my time doing other things,” said Leverett.

Although protective styles are beneficial, there are some drawbacks for college students, such as the cost to get your hair done and the prices of the products.

“As a college student, I feel like it’s easier to wear protective styles; the only downside of protective styling would be consistency and cost of installation and products,” Sonia said.

Protective styles are very versatile and the styles can be altered to decrease the cost of hair products needed. Locs, twists and braids are all styles that can be done with or without hair extensions. 

“Ever since I started my locs I don’t get protective styles anymore. I’m in love with my locs though. They are also easy to manage,” noted Harrell.

For many college students, protective styles have been a worthwhile investment, saving them money, time and the health of their hair. As students pursue their passions and their degrees, they can walk to class wearing a proud expression of who they are.