It’s funny because up until I became natural I always took protective hairstyles for granted on how important they were for the health and growth of our hair. I will say though that I don't do that many protective hairstyles because I always love to see my hair out and be able to rock different styles each day. I try as much as possible anyways to sneak in a few protective styles just to give it a rest.
Protective hairstyles to me shield my ends from breaking off and protect my hair from elements such as sun, rain, snow, etc. It also protects my ends from breaking when rubbed against clothing, linen, etc. I would also advice that while you use protective hairstyles to keep your hair healthier and maintain growth, it is important that you do not braid or twist too tight to avoid stress on the hairline. Minimizing stress on your hairline will reduce the result of breakage and thinning of the hairline.
When and if you do have protective styles on, you should always continue to moisturize your hair, wash your hair to remove build up (videos coming soon to illustrate), and tie your hair every night with satin scarf or sleep with a satin pillowcase.
The following are pictures of various protective hairstyles you can wear:
Two Strand Twists
Sew in Weave
Yarn Braids/Genie Locs
Here are website links to go check out for more on protective hairstyles:
Here are video clips to go check out protective styles: