I’m a lover of the world and far off places who is so excited that you’re here. Looking forward to sharing more of my world with you and all the things I love. I hope this site really does feel like a wellness oasis right here on the internet.
As a girl with an active lifestyle, maintaining hairstyles was always a challenge. But once I found a protective style that worked for me, I was presented with another challenge: maintaining the health of my natural hair. Like most things that involve your hair, it’s all about trial and error but once you find a style that fits your lifestyle, it’s important that you put as much energy into taking care of your natural hair as well. Over the years, I’ve racked up a few tips that have not only kept my hairstyle looking on point, but have also taken care of my hair underneath.
Starting with a solid foundation is key before you even decide to install your protective style. The point of a protective style is to do just that — protect your hair. The best way to start is to essentially put your best head of hair forward and that involves clipping dead ends. I’m sure I’m not the first person to stress how important haircuts are to maintaining and growing healthy hair but when you plan to install a long-term protective style, it makes sense to start on a freshly washed and cut head of hair. It’s also imperative when selecting a protective style to make sure that your ends are hidden and tucked away. Styles like braids, full sew-ins, and wigs are great options that provide full coverage when it comes to your ends. This ensures that your healthy ends will stay protected from friction and the elements and will ultimately continue to grow.
Another thing to consider when choosing your next protective style is how much tension it will put on your natural hair. Generally, most protective styles involve some tension in order to make them last but it’s best to avoid styles that are going to put unhealthy amounts of tension on your scalp. The reason this is so important is that tension can lead to hair loss and in some cases, permanently. There’s nothing worse than paying money for a style that ends up being uncomfortable and harming your hair.
Medium-sized knotless box braids have recently become my go-to style. They give the classic look of box braids without the bulky knot at the top of the braid that usually results in pulling. If box braids aren’t your thing, try loose two-strand twists (on your natural hair) or wigs that you can easily remove at night. I would avoid styles like super-small cornrows or tight sew-ins.
Although your hair may be tucked away, this doesn’t mean you should forgo your washday routine. While washday may look different while you’re wearing a protective style, it should still be happening. With protective styles, there are often products used and your scalp accumulates build-up as it normally would. Cleansing your scalp on a regular basis is the best way to avoid itching, irritation and flaking. The kind of protective style you’re wearing will determine how you go about washing your hair. If you have a style like braids that allows access to your scalp, try using an at-home apple cider vinegar mixture or Sunday II Sunday’s Root Refresh Micellar Rinse. If you have a style like a full sew-in that might not allow as much access to your scalp, still wash your hair in the way you normally would, just make sure you’re getting in between the tracks.
I thought about lumping this tip in with the one above but I felt like it needed its own section. Hydrated hair is almost as important as clean hair. Adding moisture to your hair and scalp after shampooing and on a regular basis is integral to top-tier hair health. Brittle, dry strands tend to break and split. The way to avoid this is to make sure you’re supplying your scalp and hair with enough moisture while it’s in the style. Oils or scalp serums are great for braids. I usually take the excess oil I have left on my hands and bring it down the shaft of my braids. When it comes to weaves and sew-ins, getting the product up under them is best. Make sure to remove your wig to best access your scalp and hair.
I’m sure this advice dates back to when we were young girls and we first started learning how to take care of our hair. Wrapping your hair will not only preserve your hairstyle but will help protect your own hair. Even though the majority of your hair may be tucked away in a style, wrapping your hair at night will protect any leave-out or edges that are exposed from friction. I like to use a silk or satin scarf. If scarves don’t work for you, try switching your cotton pillowcase out for a silk one.
Using products like gels and hairsprays may refresh your hairstyle but the ingredients can sometimes have an adverse effect on your natural hair. When reaching for hair products, try to find those with nourishing ingredients and pass on ones that include large amounts of alcohol. Alcohol can cause flaking, irritation and can be extremely drying to your natural hair. Find ways to substitute products by utilizing other tools. For example, if you’re wearing a wig or a weave and want to refresh the curls, try using Flexi rods overnight instead of using product on it. Instead of completely relying on edge control to lay those edges, use a little and follow with a scarf to lay them for the day.
Last but not least, never leave a style in for too long. When assessing protective styles, it’s important to know which ones are more long-term. I feel like a general rule of thumb for most long-term styles is around four to five weeks. Anything beyond that can be damaging and can actually work against your hair. This is definitely something to consider when planning your protective style. If you have the time to redo your hair after a couple of weeks, opt for a simpler style like two-strand twists. If you need something that’s going to last a little longer, go for something like box braids.