Whether you’re rocking a 24inch Brazilian weave, Marley twists or Poetic Justice braids, you want to make sure your hair is strong and healthy before attempting any of these gorgeous styles. Protective styling is a great way to achieve your hair length goals. It gives it a break from daily manipulation, helps retain length and best of all, it’s convenient! If I don’t feel like doing another doggone twist out, I don’t have to! Plus, it keeps my hair looking beauty shop fresh every single day. But before you go get your weave, Laid to the Gawds, or get braided up like Janet, prepare your natural hair first! Prepping prior to installation allows your hair to receive the full benefits from these styles. I’ll share with you my 5 Simple Steps for Protective Styling.
1. Use a Clarifying Shampoo
Healthy hair begins with a clean scalp. The protective style will be installed for at least 4-6 weeks so you want to make sure the hair and scalp is thoroughly cleansed. If you’re concerned with the sulfates, don’t worry. I recommend using this type of shampoo only before and after installation so we aren’t stripping our hair from its natural oils. If this is a deal breaker for you, stick to a sulfate-free or low poo shampoo.
2. Protein Treatment
Since your hair will be carrying extra weight, make sure it is in good condition to do so. If your hair strands are weak, limp and lifeless, or if your experiencing breakage, I recommend using a strong protein treatment. Depending on the condition of my hair, I will use either a strong treatment every 4-6 weeks or a milder version every two weeks. But if you never had a treatment, start off with a mild product, test your results and then gradually increase to a stronger version if needed. Protein treatments typically leaves your hair feeling rough and dry, so make sure to follow up with a quality conditioner.
3. Condition & Deep Condition
At this point, the hair has lost a lot of moisture from steps 1 & 2, so it is crucial to follow up with a conditioner. Conditioning restores moisture back into the hair and in addition to strengthing and preventing future damage. I like to use a rinse out conditioner first, let it sit on my hair for about 5 -10 mins, then deep condition right after. My go to product is Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque because of its thick creamy, consistency that has tons of slip. I apply the product from roots to ends, cover my hair with a disposable shower cap, or keep it hood and just use a target grocery bag lol! Whichever method you decide to use, make sure sure to add heat and use the maximum time the product recommends. It’s typically about 30 mins to an hour and it may seem like a tedious task, but trust me, your hair is worth it.
4. Leave-In Conditioner
After deep conditioning, I like to seal in all that moisture with a leave in conditioner that contains natural oils and butters. Similar to traditional conditioners, Leave-in’s are formulated to provide continued moisture while improving the overall health of hair, without having to rinse it out before styling. It can also help battle those one strands knots and tangles and make the detangling session a breeze. If your hair extremely is coarse and dry like mine, try using Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler as a leave in.
5. Drying & Styling
I like to air dry my hair by wearing several large braids, plats or twists to prevent heat damage, but sometimes I just don’t have the time. In that case, I’ll part my hair into several small sections, spray it down with a heat protector, and to avoid losing too much moisture, I blow dry my hair until it’s about 80% dry and let it air dry the rest of the way. Then, I’ll go back over the sections with a water or butter based hair dressing to ensure my hair and scalp is fully moisturized. After that…
You are all ready for your protective style!
Theses steps are just an overview of my regimen. Sometimes I may throw in a hot oil treatment, apple cider vinegar rinse, or maybe even pre-poo begin depending on the condition of my hair. Always pay attention to the state of your hair. If it’s feeling dry, boost up the moisture or its just limp and lifeless turn up the protein. Remember, it’s your hair so love it, enjoy it and But make sure to PROTECT it! Til next time…
Stay Sassy Naturales