Sometimes we want a different look, or we just don’t want to have to deal with our hair on a daily basis, or both, and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is neglecting our hair just because it’s tucked away for a while. There are certain things you ought to do so as to care for your hair under a long-term protective style. Good examples of long term protective styles are box braids, twists, and locs. Methods mentioned here can be applied to other styles but for the purpose of the rest of this article, we will reference those previously mentioned.
- Avoid stressful styling
When getting your hair done make sure you do not let your stylist grip your hair too tight. Also when trying new looks by arranging your braids into different styles, it’s unnecessary to bind the individual strands together so tight that it makes your scalp hurt. Constant and excessive stress on your scalp can cause swelling, headaches, and in dire cases, hair loss. So it’s always a good idea to be gentle with your scalp.
- Tend to your edges
It’s always a horror to take down a style and find yourself with no edges. When in protective styles, it’s normal to lay your edges to give your hair a bit more snazz. While this is great, it is also important to oil and moisturize your edges at least three times a week to keep them strong and (more important) present.
- Care for your scalp
Obviously, all new hair growth originates from the scalp, so it is a necessity to give it care and attention. Apply your favorite oil or blend of oils to your scalp and massage it in. This aids blood circulation in the scalp which promotes hair growth. It also prevents your scalp from drying out and flaking (an introduction to dandruff), and helps keep your hair from drying out. If you’re unsure of what oil to use, a good blend is ½ a cup of coconut or castor oil, 5 drops of peppermint oil, and 5 drops of rosemary oil. It is good practice to do this twice a week. You can also create an oil mix using oils that go well with your hair.
- Don’t forget to moisturize
It’s good practice to quench your hair’s thirst by spritzing with a very liquid conditioner twice a week. Using a thick creamy conditioner isn’t advisable when your hair is in a protective style. It can lead to excessive product buildup around your roots which tangles them and results in excessive shedding when you take down your style. After spritzing, apply a small amount of an oil-based cream (like Shea butter), this seals in the moisture and adds sheen to your protective style. It’s a win-win.
- Clean your hair
Cleaning your hair is important to prevent buildup which causes itching and smell. It is also important if you’re one to style your edges with gels and edge controls on a regular basis. Some people do wash their braids, but others prefer to just clean them. A good mix is 30ml of apple cider vinegar and a cup of water. If your hair is itchy or starting to smell, add a few drops of peppermint, or tea tree oil. Using a cotton ball, soak up the mixture, squeeze out the excess liquid, and wipe the tracks between your braids and the exposed roots.
These are really effective ways to care for your hair when it’s in a protective style, if you have any more, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.
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