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The Difference Between Protective Styles and Low Manipulation Styles

Protecting your natural hair at all costs is always the goal. Though treating it right, keeping it moisturized and getting trims are all key ways to keep your hair its healthiest, sporting protective styles and low manipulation styles can be helpful, too. And while it’s often thought that the two are one in the same, there’s a bit of difference. If you’re not sure how to differentiate between the two, here’s a brief overview to help.

What are protective styles?

Protective styles can be worn by anyone. The main goal of wearing a protective style — like that of braids, buns, twists and even weaves — is to protect the ends of your hair. Your ends are important to the health of your hair, so it makes sense to want to keep them at their healthiest and “tucking them in” whenever the opportunity presents itself. Some great products to use when you are sporting a protective style are those included in The Flaxseed Collection or The Coconut Crème Collection.

What are low manipulation styles?

Though low manipulation styles can often include those that you use for protective styles, the main goal of a low manipulation style is to give yourself a look that requires you to touch your hair less overall. Pineapple updos,wash and gos, puffs, low buns, and twists are all great examples of low manipulation styles. Since low manipulation styles require you to touch your hair less, products like our Curl Boss — Coconut Curling Gelée, the SLICKED! Flexible Styling Glue or our Don’t Shrink — Elongating Curling Gel are great to help keep your styles locked in.

Which one should I wear and when should I wear them?

Making the choice between wearing a protective style and a low manipulation style is up to you and the needs for your hair. While both options are made to help keep your hair in a healthy state and prevent damage, it truly depends on the state of your hair. A good rule of thumb would be to check your ends. If they are looking frazzled or a bit damaged, a protective style — after you’ve gotten a trim — would be what you should go with. If you’re just looking to avoid drying out your hair or to keep your hands away from it for a bit (which can eventually cause breakage and damage, low manipulation is the one to go with. Ultimately though, you can wear either category of style whenever you’d like.

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