This is the perfect season to rock protective styles. The weather is cold in many places which signals dryness for a lot of people with natural hair. But just because your hair is tucked away in braids or twists, doesn’t mean you can slack off with taking care of your hair. It does more harm than good if you forget about your hair for weeks and then expect to see the benefits of low maintenance styles in the end. Here’s some way to get the most out of protective styling while also making sure your hair is still cared for.
Cleanse your scalp
Have you ever had a style that still looked cute but your scalp itched so bad you’d rather take it down instead? Getting a couple of scalp cleanses in the duration of the style can help it last longer and not lead to the uncomfortable itchiness that makes you want to take your hair down as fast as possible. It may seem like an impossible task to wash your hair when in styles like braids or twists, but you can still cleanse your scalp and you’ll probably be more comfortable because of it. You don’t want to deprive your scalp of a good cleanse for several weeks, which leads to build up of product and dirt. Washing your hair while in braids or twists won’t take nearly as long as when your hair is out and free. I cleanse my scalp every 2 weeks when in braids, crochet, twists or any protective style. I’ve managed to do this without getting all of my braids wet and it taking days to dry. Since the focus is on your scalp you’ll need:
- a spray bottle
- hair bands
Wash Day method
- Mix 1/3 cup of shampoo into 2/3 cup of water into spray bottle
- Section hair into fourths
- Start with one section and left the ends of your hair up and spray directly onto your scalp
- Massage the mixture gently onto your scalp
- Repeat until each section is complete
- To rinse, fill the spray bottle with water and in the same fashion lift one section of hair up so that the water only runs onto your scalp
- Rinse each section
I use more water than shampoo for wash day in this case so that I am not disrupting the neatness of my hair with all of the lather that comes with shampoo. Lifting the ends of my hair up and out of the way helps for long hairstyles and to avoid the trouble of trying to go to sleep with wet braids. You can always blow dry you hair if it does get wet, but I like to avoid this all together. After shampooing, I condition in the exact same manner. I dilute the conditioner and complete the process just as with the shampoo.
Tools needed for conditioning:
- Spray bottle
The point of a protective style is to have your hair protected for an extended period of time. Your hair is mostly protected which is good, however applying a moisturizer to your scalp and to the exposed pieces of your hair will aid in healthy scalp maintenance and preventing dryness to exposed strands. After wearing twists for several weeks, there are pieces of my natural hair that I can see sticking out. My natural hair and the extensions are the same color but I can obviously tell where my hair is showing by the texture. Since this part of my hair is now exposed to the environmental elements that can cause dryness, I apply a leave-in conditioner and coconut oil to the twists I know have pieces of my hair showing. It’s easier to tuck those pieces in especially once moisturized.
Even lightly spritzing your style can add some life and longevity to your look. I fill my spray bottle with water, vitamin E oil, almond oil, and castor oil to quickly moisturize my scalp and freshen up my twists every few days. This adds extra some shine and sheen to my hair.
Redo your edges or the front of your hair bi-weekly
For braids, twists, faux locs, or other styles that are installed individually, you can revamp a style that’s getting fuzzy in the front by simply redoing the first row or two every couple of weeks. My goal was to keep my twists in for six weeks and I was able to do this while keeping them looking almost brand new by redoing the front rows. There were also a few pieces here and there that bothered me throughout my hair, so when I had time I just redid them so that I could get the most out of my hairstyle.
Don’t keep your style in too long
All good things do come to an end. While you can keep a style in and looking great for a while, you don’t want to leave the style in forever and risk your hair matting up with build up. The recommended time to wearing a protective style is around 4-8 weeks. For me I wear my styles for about 6 weeks. It’s important to give your hair a full wash and deep condition after having your hair tucked away for a while, and also give your hair some time to be free.