Protective hairstyles like braids, twists and even faux locs are a great option to give your hair a break from styling (which can sometimes lead to over-manipulation). Plus, while your hair chillaxes in a long-term style, it has the opportunity to grow without interruption. For most natural products, a month or two of protective styling results in a few extra inches in length, but also (unfortunately) breakage. But, and this is a big one, you need to be extra careful to prevent damage with protective hairstyles.
The key to maintaining healthy hair during and after a protective style is moisture. Fractures come from dehydration. As long as you keep your strands coated in rich and nourishing moisturizer, your mane will survive. Follow the tips below to prevent breakage while wearing protective hairstyles!
This article originally appeared on maneaddicts.com
Prepare your hair for protective styling
Before installing that kanekalon, make sure your real hair is in top shape. Give your mane a full spa day: pre-poo, shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner or warm oil treatment and a deeply moisturizing LOC. You never want to install a protective style on old, dirty hair. Start fresh, start moist.
Don’t go too tight
This tip is super important, especially if you get your hair done at a salon. Tell your stylist not to braid your edges. Too much pull and tension (especially on delicate edges) will lead to disaster.
Cultivate your protective style
Just because you don’t need to style every day doesn’t mean hair care goes out the window. Care for your hair as you would any other time. Of course, washboard braids and twists can turn your nice smooth style into fuzz and frizz. You can avoid ruining your look by simply focusing on your scalp and gently brushing your real strands (in case you added hair to your protective style). Here is our advice:
Clean your scalp using shampoo wipes, baby wipes, or by spraying and massaging your scalp with diluted apple cider vinegar and rinsing gently in the shower. If your hair is not covered by any extra hair, you only need to perform this step.
Cleanse your real hair by smoothing conditioner into your braids (or twists) and rinsing gently in the shower. If your protective style is loose hair, wash your hair very gently to avoid shedding.
Moisturize your real hair and scalp by spraying a conditioning mist at regular intervals.
Sleep in a satin hood to prevent frizz and hair damage.
as long as your scalp and real hair stay moisturized, you’ll avoid flakes, dryness, and of course, breakage.
Take it down carefully.
Your hair is really delicate, so be gentle when taking down your protective style. Use your fingers, scissors and comb to develop and undo your look. Do not use water or moisturizer in this step or you will have some serious knots that are impossible to untie. Once your hair is free of tangled lines, dead hair (which is normal for styles that include extensions because your hair has been locked in for so long with no chance of shedding), and protective styling, give it the spa treatment we talked about earlier.