Just Margie : How to grow Healthy Hair in a Protective Style
Hey dearies 😊😊
This year has been my year of protective styling. My goal was to retain more length through less manipulation. I have done faux locs, natural-looking crochet braids, cornrows, and Fulani braids. It has also been a learning process on how to take care of my hair during protective styling. I have learnt from the experience and I am excited to share it with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes! So, how should you take care of your hair in long term braids, weaves and faux locs?
1. The Pre-installation Stage
Taking care of your hair starts from the pre-installation stage. Wash with a sulphate-free shampoo,or a clarifying shampoo, and deep condition since you plan to stay with the protective style(P.S) for a while.
I also advise that you apply a heat protectant e.g. grape seed oil if you plan on applying heat before doing the P.S
Moisturise your hair with a good hydrating butter to lock in moisture. Further, because protective styles foster length retention, it is advisable to trim your ends beforehand so that your hair grows as healthy as possible.
2. Protective Style Installation
Watch out for when having protective styles installed. The process should NOT be unbearably painful. Yes girlie. Pain is not necessary. The first time I had faux locs installed (about six years ago) I was in so much pain that I had to take painkillers for a week!! Not surprisingly, enduring this style ended up costing me my hairline.
Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be tight to be right! Loose plaits and braids can still look neat. You don’t want to loose your hairline or even worse, have painful rashes on your scalp.
3. Protective Style Post-Installation
Now you are all glammed up with your P.S. How do you take care of your hair in the meantime? A few tips have helped me:
- Oil your scalp with oils that penetrate the shaft. Use avocado oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, or coconut oil.These oils generally have good antiseptic and antibacterial values. If you neglect your scalp, you are prone to dandruff which is not good.
- Massage your sensitive areas – By sensitive areas, I mean your hairline or any other area where there might have been tight installation. You don’t want to lose your hair. When I did faux locs for the second time, I was keen on protecting my hairline. I bought Jamaican Black castor oil and Tea tree oil and diligently massaged them along my hairline every night and every morning. (let me just say that it takes a lot of discipline to do it daily) Massaging your scalp also stimulates growth. 😊
- Moisturise: Your hair is still tucked in those braids or cornrows so it’s good to spritz some moisture and leave in conditioner as frequently as possible.
How to keep your Protective Style fresh:
Buy a good braid spray that will revamp your braids, wigs, weave, or faux locs. It helped in polishing them up as well as preserving them from drying out.
Ensure you let your hair loose to air dry and while bask under the sun. When your braids get damp, they can develop a foul smell.
I advise that you prepare a mixture of warm water and Apple Cider Vinegar at a 3:1 ratio and use cotton wool to clean your scalp weekly. This will help remove build up from all the oils you have been applying. You can shampoo the scalp and rinse with warm water focusing on the scalp. It is advisable to dilute your shampoo with water and do the washing in sections using your finger tips. (Conditioners are not advisable as they tend to build up. ) However, beware that washing your entire head makes the braids really heavy thus causing tension at the roots. This loosens the braids and can cause hair breakage.
When sleeping, cover up with a satin bonnet or sleep on a satin pillowcase to avoid unnecessary friction at night. It helps the PS stay intact for a longer time.
Avoid too much manipulation of the braids. This can eventually lead to breakage at the roots especially if the braids are freshly installed. It good to let them relax. Buns are known to damage the hairline so be sure to have them loose and for shorter periods.
How long is too long?
I recommend 3-4 weeks with a PS. I stayed with my faux locs for three months because the longer they stay, the better they look. However, this taught me the downside of overstaying with a PS. While undoing, there was so much build up at the roots but thanks to ACV and warm water spritz I managed to detangle my hair easily.
Further, there was lots of shedding at once which was not interesting. I realized that my hair missed out on the benefits of a monthly deep condition. However, I am alive to the fact that many ladies with natural hair live abroad where repairing and redoing is a challenge. I believe the above tips will help you but ensure you deep condition immediately you undo and before installing so that your hair does not miss out on all the good nutrients it needs to flourish.
I hope that you find the above tips helpful. What else do you do to take care of your hair whilst in a PS? Would love To hear from you so feel free to comment below 😊😊
Love and light,