Protective styles: how to prep hair, how to care for protective styles, Washday routine for long term protective styles
What is a Protective Style?
A protective style is any hairstyle that protects the hair from uneccessary/excessive manipulation and natural elements.
Protective styles can either be worn with or without an extension depending on one’s preference and what actually works for them.
Long Term Protective Style
These are styles that can be worn for a duration of 2 – 8 weeks. Examples; mini braids/twists/cornrows, medium sized braids/twists/cornrows, crotchet styles etc.
Before installing a long term protective style, the following questions should be at the back of your mind:
- How long can you wear a style without damaging your hair and scalp?
- How long can the style look presentable without a retouch?
- How long can you wear the style without manipulating your hair and new growths?
- How well can you properly take care of your hair in that style?
Benefits of Long Term Protective Styles
It helps retain more length
The longer you keep your protective style in, the more you retain more length provided the style doesn’t become destructive. For this reason, there’s more growth from the root of your hair and little to no breakage from the hair tips as a result of less manipulation.
It is encourages longer break of dealing your hair:
Sometimes, having to deal with our hair can be so tiring but long term protective style is a great way to take a long break of dealing with your hair.
It is ideal for a long vacation trip
Before going for that long vacation trip you’ve been dreaming of, putting your hair in a protective style is a great way to enjoy the vacation without having to do your hair every single day during the vacation.
It reduces the stress of post partum care
Your hair becomes less of a concern during post partum care because you tend to give all attention to your new born. And with all the stress, you wouldn’t want your hair to be part of that and that’s where long term protective style comes in because it saves you the stress of manipulating your hair everytime.
It helps retain and maintain more moisture
When you moisturize and seal in moisture in your hair in protective styles, the moisture stays longer and keeps it healthy
How to Prepare your for Long Term Protective Style
Before installing a long term protective style, you need to make sure your hair is ready and fit enough to stay protected for a longer time:
The following steps should be done in prep hair:
Deep Cleanse/Detoxification: you need to make sure your hair is free of dirt or products build up by using a hair detox mask or shampoo that deeply cleanses the scalp to cleanse your scalp and hair.
Products you can use for cleansing:
Protein treatment: doing a protein treatment and will prevent your hair from becoming weak and fragile will it’s still in the protective style and also stay fit to withstand the weight of any added extension. Use a strengthening deep conditioner with hydrolyzed protein.
Products that can be used for this treatment:
Deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner: after doing a protein treatment, you should follow it up with a moisturizing deep conditioner in order to add moisture back to your hair
Products that can be used:
Moisturize with a leave in conditioner this step is very crucial because you need to add extra moisture using a moisturizing leave in conditioner in order to combact dryness.
Product that can be used:
Seal in moisture: the steps above can never be complete without sealing in moisture you’ve acquired. This can be done using a hair cream or butter.
Product that can be used:
Stretch your hair: you might not find this step necessary but it is very necessary. Your hair needs to be well detangled in a stretched form to prevent any form of breakage while installing the long term protective style. Using the heatless method of stretching like african threading, jumbo twists/braids, roller sets etc is quite recommendible.
Extension treatment: if actually you’ll be using an extension for your long term protective style, you might consider treating it first before usage to prevent the extension from reacting with your scalp causing itchiness. Soak the extension in a bowl of hot water with a few drops of apple cider vinegar for about 10-15mins before rinsing off, apply a little leave in conditioner to the extension and blow dry on very low heat.
How to Care for Long Term Protective Style
Putting your hair in a long term protective style doesn’t mean you should also neglect your hair or stop you regular moisture routine, infact that’s when you’re hair needs to be properly cared for.
- Keep your scalp clean because hair grows from a healthy scalp
- Moisturize your protective style using any of the method: LOC/LCO/LB/LO
- Protect your hair at night using a satin/silk bonnet or scarves
- Keep your edges moisturised and avoid excessive edge control gel. Remember, your edges doesn’t have to be laid always
- Use water based leave in conditioner or dilute your creamy leave in for easy penetration
Washdays Routine on Long Term Protective Style
Most people may not like the idea of washing their hair while in protective style but trust me, it’s worth it because your scalp and hair might experience dandruff, itching and build up from products and sweats.
Shampoo cleanse: dilute shampoo with water in an applicator bottle and apply directly to your scalp. Massage the shampoo into your scalp gently to loosen up build ups and allow the lather from the shampoo run through your protective style using the praying hands method, rinse off after 5 mins
Condition: apply your favorite deep conditioner to your hair starting from the new growth down to where your hair stops , allow to steam for 15-30mins before rinsing out
Moisturize and seal: moisturise your protective style with your favorite leave in conditioner and seal in moisture with your hair cream or butter.
Scalp massage: give your scalp a TLC using your growth oil. Massage your scalp with the oil for at least 2mins. Do this gently to avoid loosening your hair from the root or making your hair appear rough