This year’s Met Gala theme was “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” and attendees were asked to dress “In Honor of Karl”. A-list celebrities graced the prestigious carpet wearing ornate gowns with most donning long slightly curled locs, updos or slicked back ponytails. There were a few who ventured out and showed that protective hairstyles are also glamorous, red carpet appropriate and also in honor of their own heritage and culture. 

In the United States, many enslaved African Americans were forced to shave their heads or wear head coverings during slavery, which led to the development of protective hairstyles such as braids, twists, and locs. These hairstyles not only provided protection for the hair but also served as a form of resistance against the forced assimilation and erasure of African culture and identity. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Power movement and the natural hair movement saw a resurgence of protective hairstyles, with styles such as afros, twists, and braids becoming symbols of Black pride and empowerment. Even now, protective styles are often deemed inappropriate for certain events and unprofessional. However, stars like Gabrielle Union, Ariana DeBose, A$AP Rocky, Naomi Ackie, Jeremy Pope, Trevor Noah and Michaela Coel showed that protectives styles are not only appropriate for any occasion but are empowering and beautiful. 

Image courtesy of GettyImages

Image courtesy of GettyImages

Dr. Gaby Longsworth, phD Scientist and founder of Absolutely Everything Curly, offers 2 basic rules to adhere to when wearing protective styles.

  • Always prep your hair properly – this means start with clean, deep conditioned hair. If you plan on keeping the hairstyle for a longer period of time, it may be a good idea to get a trim first.

Try DreamGirls Revival Deep Treatment ($27.99); available at

  • Wash your hair once or twice a week, and keep your scalp and hair moisturized by using oil on your scalp and spraying the hair with leave-in conditioner.

Try Melanin Haircare’s Multi-Use Pure Oil Blend ($22); available at, Ulta Beauty, Sephora and Target 



Monique Webber