Your Painful Protective Styles Aren’t Protective at All

Your Painful Protective Styles Aren’t Protective at All

Protective styles are dope, life-changing even for someone with a hectic lifestyle and little time to dedicate to their hair. These protective styles should double as a way to also protect the hair, slowing down excessive amounts of shedding, breakage, and hair loss. This is the case with the protective styles services we seldom offer in our Brown Skin Women Beauty Showroom in Downtown Hartford, CT. But there is one instance where these styles can do more harm than good.  And it challenges the age-old belief that suggests beauty is pain. It is not. Let’s talk about painful protective styles.

Disclaimer: hairstyles shown in this blog post are safely installed with integrity and quality. 

Knotless Single Braids done in our Hartford, CT Hair Studio


Our hair grows from beneath our scalp. So when the installation of the hairstyle is tugging on our hair and scalp too tightly, the hair pulls from the follicles beneath our scalp. This can lead to short and long-term hair loss complications.

For so long we have been told beauty is a sacrifice we have to face to look beautiful. We were taught to suffer in silence because it’s the cost of being perceived as attractive. That couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Pain from a style is usually because the stylist does not completely know what they are doing. That does not mean the hairstyles they offer don’t appear to be well done. I’ve seen some gorgeous styles that were just too tight.


Feed in Braids in Bun (style variation) offered in our Hair Studio in Hartford, CT


The quality and integrity of protective styles are just as, if not more, important than the finished look.

Your protective styles should never hurt to the point where you:

  1. Can’t sleep at night.

  2. Need medication to mask the pain.

  3. Can literally see the tension AKA visible scalp pulling and/or white bumps.

If you can’t sleep at night after recently getting your hair done:

You are likely suffering from an external compression headache caused by constant pressure on the head. It may hurt most where the pressure is most tense which can be all over if you have single braids for instance. The pain will worsen until you remove the style or when it loosens (which I highly advise against faking the funk because you were led to believe beauty is pain).


Havana Twist done in our Hair Studio in Hartford, CT


If you need medication to mask your discomfort from your painful protective style:

You are still suffering from an external compression headache that you are choosing to pretend isn’t happening by medicating yourself. It’s unhealthy.

If you can see the tension (pulling and white bumps):

You have allowed this whole faking the funk thing for the sake of sacrificial beauty to go way too far. After about a day you may notice white bumps forming on your scalp and hairline. White bumps are a sign of inflammation of the follicles which can lead to traction alopecia, a form of hair loss.

Large Single Braids with Triangle Parts done in our Hair Studio in Hartford, CT


All of this can be caused by someone who is putting too much pressure on your hair. This pressure can be from tightness with pulling and even too much weight (extensions) tugging on your hair.

Remember: Painful protective styles are not a rite of passage for beauty.

The bottom line is this: ditch your hair stylist if they have caused ANY of the above. Simply asking them to “lighten up” with the pressure likely won’t solve the problem because if it were that easy they wouldn’t operate that way in the first place. Regardless of whether it’s your mother, sister, aunt, or best friend, everyone can’t install protective styles with the integrity required.

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