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Braided Updo & Pompadour | Winter Protective Style

Cynthia Coleman

Posted on February 03 2015


Winter can present challenges when it comes to caring for your natural hair. It's a great idea to give your hair more conditioning and deep conditioning treatments, increase moisturization and seal the hair with butters and oils. Another great weapon against damage & the harsh winter elements is protective styling. What is protective styling? For those who don't know, it's styling the hair in a style that will protect the ends of the hair. Protective styling also serves to keep as much of the hair protected from the elements as possible. Some great protective styling techniques include cornrowing the hair, flat-twisting the hair, wearing braided/twisted extensions, and even two strand twist styles that are pinned into an updo. All of these techniques help to protect the hair by preventing the need for everyday styling (which can put added stress on strands and lead to breakage). It also eliminates the need for everyday detangling, which can also lead to breakage.

This year, I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of protective styling. Usually, I love to wear my hair in an afro or some form of twist out. With my newly beyond shoulder length hair, I found that doing so leads to single-strand-knots, increased tangles and incredible dryness. These hair challenges meant that I needed to take extra measures to prevent my hair from breakage. With this in mind, I began to investigate protective styling techniques.

I knew that the key to the success of this style would be ease of maintenance and excitement so that I wouldn't become bored with it and take it down. At first I toyed with the idea of doing a flat-twist updo, but soon concluded that cornrows would last longer and were less likely to frizz quickly. After much debating, I came up with a style that I thought suited me, was elegant without being too uptight for everyday wear, and that showcased my natural tresses in all their glory...

I finally settled on an updo style. Fortunately, I have a mother who is an extremely talented braider/twister. I showed her what I wanted and she made it happen. I used my own natural hair to achieve this, without the addition of extensions:



  • I sectioned off a semi-circle section in the front of my hair in preparation for a pompadour.
  • I had the back and sides of my hair braided into cornrows going up toward the crown of my head.
  • Instead of braiding my hair all the way to the ends, she placed the ends of the cornrows into two-strand twists.
  • I then pinned the twisted ends located at the top of my head into an abstract roll/french roll.
  • Lastly, I two-strand twisted the loose section of hair I had left in the front to give this section of hair texture in preparation for styling. After leaving this section twisted for a little while, I unraveled the twists, revealing a fresh twist out section.
  • I pinned the freshly untwisted front section to form a pompadour.
This style offers versatility with the front section. You can let it hang loose for an edgy look, or it can be pinned up for a more polished result.
While achieving this style, I prepped my hair by misting my hair with water and applying Moisture & Styling Butter to my hair & scalp. Misting my hair with water and adding the Moisture & Styling Butter helped to detangle and soften my strands, making the styling phase effortless, which helped to prevent damage to my hair. The butter also sealed and conditioned my strands, giving it great moisture and shine, helping my style to look its best. To keep my style fresh and my hair nourished while in this style, I will use Balm Nourishing Hair Oil. Balm adds shine, while the herbs & essential oils in this blend protect my hair, help to prevent dry and itchy scalp, and keep my hair nourished for the few weeks it's in this style. I'll keep you posted on how long I keep this style, and what challenges, if any arise.

When choosing a protective style, choose something that will help to flaunt your confidence. Though protective styles serve a purpose and are actually a great tool in your quest to healthy hair and length retention, they don't have to be boring. The more you love the style, the more likely you are to keep it in for a few weeks. The more you wear protective styles, the more length you can expect to retain and the healthier you can expect your hair to be.

Do you wear protective styles? What's your go-to style? Do share!

To healthier hair!

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