By Temitope Akintoye,
Africa has gone through an age of awakening with new premiums being placed on traditional African beauty, and local fashion industry insistence on defining its beauty standards according to societal norms and values found to be prevalent in the continent, all of which have paved way for growing appreciation for natural beauty and the natural African hair.
Natural, kinky African hair has become widely embraced, as opposed to earlier preference for chemically or heat straightened hair, and has even achieved fad status, thus becoming widely accepted and something even looked up to in the African community.
The continent’s giant, Nigeria, has not been left behind by the trending acceptance of wearing ones hair in its natural state, as several proponents have sprung up, decrying use of harmful chemicals in hair straightening and preaching self love and acceptance to the female population.
As the natural hair trend has grown, so also has knowledge on how best to care for the complex structured African hair types, and how best to keep hair healthy while looking chic and attractive at the same time, thus giving birth to the term, ‘Protective Styling’.
Protective styles are hair styling options that serve the purposes of keeping the hair neatly tucked away, protecting it from harsh weather and daily manipulation, and afford the hair freedom to grow and thrive, all while keeping the wearer looking pretty, chic and fashionable.
From braids, to weaves, to threading or tucking, these styles all have one thing in common, and that is the unique art form they represent, the natural hair protective styling art form which has gained and enjoyed relevance on the Nigerian beauty and fashion scene.
Trending protective styles abound such as the Full Afro,
The flat twist,
The simple weaving style,
Widely trending Fulani Braids,
Wigs for convenience,
Symmetrically cut braids,
And the structured cut.