Protective Styling is a hot topic in the natural hair world. You've probably done research on the topic or read an article here and another one there. You know the basic information like "wear a satin scarf or bonnet", "be sure to moisturize your own hair", "avoid tension" and "start on clean, healthy hair". Those are excellent tips and you really should follow them!
Protective styles have been a major part of my hair regimen and along the way I've picked up some useful information. Below are a few pointers that, in addition to the usual tips and tricks, will make your next protective styling experience a great one.
1. Choose the right style.
That seems simple enough but there are a few things that should be considered. Ensure that the style you choose is one that you'll actually enjoy wearing! It should work well with your lifestyle and remember that your hair and scalp may absolutely hate a certain protective style. That's okay, you've got many more to choose from!
2. Select the right type of extension.
The hair extension selected should be appropriate for the look that you're going for. You've got lots of options to choose from. When it comes to extensions, shop around and do your research. Some types of extensions require lots of upkeep while others can take beating and still look fabulous.
3. Decide what length of time is right for you
Most articles suggest that you rock a protective style for 3-6 weeks. Determine how long your hair can go without proper washing, deep-conditioning and detangling. You know your hair best so it's up to you to decide what length of time is best for the health of your hair
4. Clean your scalp regularly
There's nothing worse than a dirty, itchy scalp! It's even worse when the itch is buried under a protective style. It's important to clear away build up every week or every other week. You can do a full wash but you've also got the option of using baby wipes or a cloth and some warm water to gently remove any build up.
5. Detangle in sections
Most persons get a massive headache when it comes to removing a protective style. Take a breath and take your time. Remove the braids or twists in small to medium sized sections, mist with water and gently finger detangle. Yes, it's a little time consuming but trust me it's way less frustrating than dealing with a head full of tangled, matted hair.
If you're installing the protective style yourself start preparing the extensions a few days in advance. That way you don't have to spend 3 hours cutting yarn or curling crochet braids before siting on your butt for a few more hours installing them. Do yourself a favor, spread the work out.
If you've got any tips or tricks please share them with us in the comments. Spread the knowledge!
If you've got questions feel free to ask!