After a long day of working, going to school, taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, or whatever your daily routine consists of, you’re eager to end the night spending an hour (or more) styling your natural hair for the next day, right…wrong! Let’s be honest, some days you just don’t feel like fussing in your hair. In fact, you’ve even noticed, the less you fuss in it, the more it grows long and healthy. So what should you do? I’m sure at one point or another someone will tell you that the perfect hair styling option for a person in your scenario is to wear a weave. But is wearing a weave with your natural hair a good way to lower your maintenance time without sacrificing your hair health? Well lets take a look at some pros and cons.
Pros of Wearing a Weave
- Low maintenance – Unless you are going for extremely versatile looks every single day, wearing weaves will definitely cut down on your styling time (especially if its virgin aka human hair). If anything, most styles require a quick touch up with a flat iron or curling iron/wand and you’re out the door.
- Less Manipulation to Your Hair – Another great thing about weaves is since your real hair is braided underneath, you don’t run the risk of over manipulation. It’s true for many naturals – especially those with 4C natural hair – that manipulating your hair too much can stunt its growth. There are many ways this can happen but one common way is by constantly touching your hair. Did you know that touching your hair too much can damage the hair cuticle, potentially causing split ends? How about that fact that it can also strip the hair of it’s moisture? Weaves are a great way to give your hair a break from constant fussing and help your hair grow faster.
- Protection from Natural Elements – Most naturals know that the colder months are the time of year where protective styling is key. Weave protects your hair from the frigid cold air just waiting to suck your strands of its moisture. Although many don’t find protective styling as important in the warmer months, your hair can be damaged by extreme humidity and overexposure to the sun. Weaves can be a shield of protection so that your hair won’t suffer from direct contact with these elements.
- Great Transitional Style – Short hair isn’t for everyone. Some people want to transition from being permed to natural without having to face the TWA (teeny weeny afro) phase. A person transitioning to natural hair can wear weaves to maintain certain hairstyles while allowing their natural hair to grow underneath. This allows them to be able to “big chop” when their hair is at a more acceptable length.
- Shameless Experimentation – Maybe you want bone straight hair everyday or you want to go from dark brown hair to platinum blond. Well, weaves are perfect for experimentation. Since its not your real hair, you don’t run the risk of causing damage to your natural hair. Changing it up is fun sometimes, its nice to know you can do so without
Cons of Wearing a Weave
- Hair Care Neglect – The is the biggest issue with wearing weaves. How in the world are you going to take care of your beautiful hair underneath all of those tracks? Unfortunately, many people install a weave to protect their hair but end up damaging it even more because they didn’t wash it, condition it, or moisturize it. Sure, people have suggested using bottles with a narrow nozzle to squeeze moisturizer between the braids, but what about the other steps of proper hair care? Going without washing or properly conditioning your hair for at least 6-8 weeks just isn’t a good idea.
- Breeding Zone for Bacteria – There is barely any air circulation between your braided hair and tracks. After an intense workout or washing your weave, the moisture is be trapped without any way of escape, setting the perfect foundation for mold…that’s just nasty.
- Traction Alopecia – Traction Alopecia is a form of gradual hair loss caused by constant pulling on the hair. This can be caused by braids, twists, pony tails, etc. Any hairstyle that potentially pulls too tightly on the hair. Weaves where the hair underneath is braided too tightly can cause severe irritation to the scalp and potential cause hair loss.
- Installation Time – Although you save time on a day to day bases, weaves take a long time to install. Whether you are installing it yourself or are going to a hair salon, completing a weave could take 4 hours easily (including the washing and conditioning process). If you’re up for investing the time then fine, but be aware.
- Cost – From buying the hair to the installation process, be prepared to drop dollars the whole way. Weaves can be very expensive. Good quality hair can cost $200 and if a person constantly wanted to wear weave as a protective style, they easily could spend another $200 every 6-8 weeks to get it installed.
Is There A Better Alternative?
Wigs – Wigs aren’t what they used to be 5 years ago (we can shout for joy about that). No longer do you have to stick to synthetic hair or the horrible glued lace front wigs. In fact, with the right technique, you can make wigs look just as good as a weave.
Note: Stay tuned for an article on how to wear your wig properly and how to make a wig look natural.
If you’re looking for a protective style that gives you almost the same versatility as a weave, then a wig would definitely be the preferred. With a wig you have all the benefits of a weave while also being able to take it off and properly care for you hair underneath. They also last longer if you don’t sleep in them. However, cost is a big consideration because most quality wigs are costly.
Whether you decide to wear a weave, wig, or any other protective hairstyle, always remember to make hair health your main priority. I hope this post was helpful and I’d love to hear your feedback.
What are your thoughts for wearing weaves as a protective style? Are there any other styles that you prefer over weaves? Leave a comment below!