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 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 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 braids that may rip out your edges, prep your natural hair first! Prepping prior to installation allows your hair to receive the full benefits of protective styles. Here How to Prepare Natural Hair for Protective Styles.
5 Simple Steps for Protective Styles
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. We’re only using this type of shampoo 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 sud 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 protein treatment for extremely damaged hair. However, you can use a milder version if your hair isn’t extremely damaged. But if you never had a treatment, start off with a mild product, test your results and then gradually increase to a stronger version, only if needed. Protein treatments typically leaves your hair feeling rough and dry, so make sure to follow up with a quality deep conditioner.
3. Conditioner & Deep Conditioner
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, strengthening and helping to prevent future damage. I usually deep conditioner for protective styles. The only time I opt for a rinse out, in lieu of the deep conditioner is if I am using a flat iron on my natural hair. My go to deep conditioner is Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, because of its thick creamy, consistency that has tons of slip! Remember to apply the product from roots to ends, ensuring all strands are covered. For intensive deep conditioning, cover your 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, 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, but without having to rinse it out before styling. It can also help battle those single strand 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. If you are going for a blown-out look, or using heat on your Natural Hair, make sure to use a heat protectant. If I decide to use the blow dryer, I’ll use it until my hair is about 80% dry, and then let it air dry the rest of the way. Once complete, you can go back over each section of your (wet or dry) hair and apply a water or butter based hairdressing to the hair and scalp ensuring it remains hydrated and moisturized.
Now you are all ready for your Protective style!
Theses steps are just an overview of what has helped me on my natural hair journey and I hope it helps you with yours, too! 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. If it’s limp and lifeless, pump up the protein! Remember, it’s YOUR hair so LOVE it and ENJOY it! Just make sure you PROTECT it!
Til next time…
Stay Sassy Naturales