What are protective styles?
As a part of the transitioning process or just to protect your luscious curls from the harsh weather and over manipulation, protective styles such as braids, twists, buns, bantu knots, up-do’s, etc. can be very beneficial. But, if not maintained properly can cause extreme breakage. Since most transitioning and natural beauties seek these styles because they are low maintenance and are considered to be a “break” from daily handling, you may fall into the temptation of not caring for your hair, which will later result in breakage.
How do you avoid breakage?
In order to avoid breakage when maintaining a protective style, moisture is the key. Allow me to take all of your worries away of having a dry scalp while trying to protect your hair with a very affordable quick fix—spray bottle or applicator bottle. A spray bottle or applicator bottle filled with water, nutrients, and oils, is just enough to maintain moisture and avoid breakage in the process. There are a lot of recipes on what to include in your spray bottle but below is my favorite:
- 3/4 of the bottle filled with water to dilute the products
- Any type of virgin oil (i.e. Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Almond Oil, etc.)
When mixing these products, remember that there really isn’t a correct mixture or amount to use of each product because it’s based off individual preferences. How often you should apply the product to your scalp will vary as well and can be anywhere from daily to weekly depending on how much moisture your hair needs. One thing to remember is to allow your hair to completely dry before pinning or styling. You don’t want your scalp to mildew or mold due to not receiving enough air in order to dry. Also, remember that vital tip when washing your protective styles. Yes ladies, it is perfectly fine to wash your protective style in order to keep your hair clean. You would wash your hair as you would normally if you didn’t have the protective style. The one thing I would recommend is to make sure to dilute any shampoo or conditioner being used for an easier rinse out. If you’re not so sure about using shampoo, try the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse method. You should still dilute the Apple Cider Vinegar before applying it to your hair. The vinegar will only smell while in your hair and will later disappear after the rinse so no worries about smelling like a pickle for the rest of the day.
The last tip that I want to give would be the last thing you do for the day. Try sleeping with a satin scarf or bonnet to avoid the moisture that you’ve just achieved being rubbed into your pillow at night. Cotton fabric tends to soak up moisture and causes frizz. So to save yourself the heartache in the morning, wrap your hair in a protective scarf before bed.