One of my 2016 goals (because we’re not about that resolution life around here) was to wear my natural hair in protective styles at least until August. That has been amended to all of 2016, but I digress. Protective styles are meant to do just that, protect. More specifically the goal is to protect the ends of your natural hair as they are the oldest part of hair strands and are more prone to breakage. However it’s very easy to neglect your natural hair while in these protective styles which makes that style not so protective after all.
Here are 6 natural hair essentials for protective styling that have helped me maintain healthy natural hair before, during, and after a protective style.
1. Good Wash Day Regimen
Before you put your hair in a protective style I highly advise you give your hair the most thorough wash day it can get because it’s going to be a while until you it gets one that good again. Think of your wash day before a protective style as all the training that’s done before a big race. Your wash day regimen is the starting point in which you bring your hair into a condition that’s suitable for the longevity of the style. By suitable I mean clean, moisturized, and definitely NOT dry.
2. Heavy Moisturizers
Most often I wear my hair in a protective style for a minimum of 1 month. Heavy moisturizing products like greases, butters, and lotions are perfect for keeping hair soft and moisturized for much longer. In the video above I share three of my favorite heavy moisturizers, but you can use any that you know works well for you. Then again if you don’t have a fave you should check out the video.
3. Cleansing AND Moisturizing Shampoo
Having cleansed and clarified hair is absolutely important, but what’s more important is having cleansed AND moisturized hair (especially when your natural hair is in a protective style).
4. Condiment Bottle
For really, really long lasting protective styles (I’m talking 2 to 3 months here) you should definitely wash your hair with focus on your scalp at some point while your hair is in the protective style. It’s very important to remove the sweat and product build up that accumulates. However, shampoos are usually viscous and difficult to distribute to where it’s needed. Add water to your favorite cleansing AND moisturizing shampoo into a condiment bottle and problem solved.
5. A Bottle of Hydration
Reintroducing moisture to your hair is essential to maintaining soft natural hair that is less prone to breakage while it’s in a protective style. I use a spray bottle of water mixed with light oils to give my hair moisture after cleansing it and throughout each week.
6. Protein Treatment or Deep Conditioner
Even with all the care you give your hair while in a protective style, your hair still may not be exactly how it was when you started. Protein treatments restore moisture and even more important it restores strength to your hair. Deep conditioners also restore moisture and strength. Which one you use depends on the condition your hair is in after you take out your protective style. Assess the condition of your hair and choose which product you’re going to use accordingly.