Protective styling is something all naturals do. Good examples of protective styles are box braids, faux locs, cornrows, Ghana weaving, etc. You can wear these hairstyles for 4 weeks or more, depending on your taste. Since these styles are intact for so long, you’ll need to prep your hair for the long road ahead. You need to prep your natural hair for protective styling because of the stressors attached to getting a protective style done. There’s a lot of manipulation involved, not to mention that your hair will be out of your reach for the period you keep the style in. This is why you should feed her really well before sending her off.
There are a few things that are essential and you have to do them before going to a stylist. Some stylists specialize in natural hair and so they know how to handle it without being too rough. There are others, however, who still don’t know how to treat natural hair. If your stylist falls in the second category or you’re unsure of his/her position, do yourself a favor and make sure you do these things before sitting in that chair.
This is non-negotiable. Wash your hair very well. It’s best to leave a day between wash day and styling day (especially if you have a tender scalp). Cleaning your hair thoroughly is a must because you won’t be able to do so for the next few weeks. This helps your style stay cleaner for longer, and helps you avoid the smell braids get when they’re getting old and dirty.
2. Deep condition
This is also non-negotiable. You get protective styles in a bid to protect your hair, yes? But while you carry the style for weeks on end, your actual hair will be unable to get all the nourishment it needs from the outside. Prep your hair before protective styling. Feed your hair with what it needs before you get a new style done.
3. Protein treatment
This is essential especially if you haven’t given your hair a breather of at least one full week between stressful styles, or if you have hair that’s particularly prone to breakage. If you’re not in either category and it isn’t time for your planned protein treatment, you can do without it.
This is the most important part for those who are unsure of their stylist’s status on the natural hair enlightenment spectrum. Section your hair into small parts, and moisturize using this method. After you’re done with this, ensure that you secure your moisture by sleeping with a satin scarf, bonnet, or pillowcase. It’s best if you do this the evening before your appointment at the salon.
Also, it’s a good way to ensure your stylist doesn’t waste your hair products. If your hair is moisturized and ready to go, you don’t need to go to the store with your entire bottle of leave-in conditioner. You can put a reasonable amount in an old cup and take it along with you. Don’t forget to take your hair oil/oil-mix too!
There are other little things you could do too to protect your hair on styling day.
- Take your own hair equipment with you (wide-toothed comb, rat tail comb, crocodile clips). This way you’re sure of the cleanliness of equipment going into your hair.
- Caution your stylist to be gentle with your hair.
- Encourage your stylist to spritz some water or a watered-down leave-in conditioner on parts of your hair that seem hard to handle. This happens mostly when your hair is inadequately moisturized.
- Never keep quiet when the style is gripping your hair too tight, you’ll be sorry when you’re taking down the style.
Protective styling is important for length retention and the styles are really beautiful too, but it’s important not to sacrifice your hair’s health for a few weeks with a glamorous hairstyle. Try as much as possible to prepare your hair adequately for the weeks ahead. It’s also important not to neglect your hair while the protective style is installed, so read this article to find out how easy it is to so.
What do you do to prep your hair for a protective style? You’re welcome to share in the comment section. If you found this article helpful you can share it with your friends too, you never know who might need it.
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