‘Tis the season for protective styling. Protective styles are a great way to switch up your look while giving your hair a break. There is little manipulation and maintenance so you can keep them in for weeks allowing your hair to grow. However, there are a few steps you need to take to prepare your hair for your style.
Fix any preexisting damage
You want your hair to be in the best possible shape before putting it in a protective style otherwise the style can do more harm than good. If you are having a lot of breakage add a protein treatment to your regiment for a couple of weeks and see if there is an improvement. If you are experiencing dandruff, try an ACV rinse. Whatever damage your hair has will only be exaggerated without your usual regime for 1 to 2 months so make sure you repair it before styling.
Cleanse your Hair
It’s always good rule of thumb to style on clean hair, making sure your scalp is free and clear of any product build up. You don’t need any particular products, you can shampoo, co-wash, ACV rinse or whatever method you normally use to clean your hair.
To avoid breakage from styling it is a good idea to detangle. Do a quick detangling session with your fingers or a wide tooth comb and trim any knots. This way you can avoid the extra time, pain and breakage.
Your hair is at its best and strongest when it is moisturized so you should get as much extra moisture into your hair as possible. If you rather skip this in favor of something quicker you can to a pre- poo or use a moisturizing leave in conditioner. Make sure to lock and seal in moisture with your preferred oil and butter.
Stretching you hair makes it a lot easier to part and style reducing breakage and saving time. Heat will weaken your hair so use a heatless method like plaits, flat twist, African threading or curl formers.
Find a good Stylist
This is an important step if you don’t plan on styling your hair yourself. Not every stylist knows how to handle natural hair. For styles like weaves, box braids, and Senegalese twists make sure your stylist can properly braid or twist without causing you pain or ripping out your hair. If they can’t manage this find another stylist.
Take a break
Protective styles are great. They are low manipulation and low maintenance but your hair does need time to breath. You shouldn’t leave any style in longer than 1-2 months so give yourself 2 weeks to a month in between styles to give your hair a little TLC.