Protective styles are a great way to keep your natural hair safe and out of the way for an extended period of time. One of the biggest problems with protective styles though, is that they can take a while to install and uninstall.
I don’t know about you, but after not manipulating my hair for a few weeks, my scalp may be a little tender, and it used to take me hours on end to fully uninstall my protective styles by myself.
Fortunately, through trial and error, I found a few tricks that helped ease the pain of taking down a protective style and made my time go by a little quicker. If you haven’t already tried any of these tips for your protective style, definitely do and see your time get cut almost in half!
Cut Excess Hair
Some protective styles require synthetic extension hair that is longer than your natural hair. If you decide to do a style like box braids, which can be relatively long, use a pair of scissors to cut a few inches below where you know your real hair ends.
That way, you don’t have to spend hours detangling and unbraiding hair that you’re going to take out anyway. Just try not to cut your own hair out!
A great oil can always make the difference in detangling. Our hair can become a little matted and dry from protective styling, and getting through the tangles can be an issue.
Olive oil* is a good oil to use because it’s not too thick and it glides through the hair to make detangling easier. It’s also good to use oil as a pre-poo; apply it to your scalp and roots while you’re uninstalling the extension hair, then detangle your hair at one time using the oil. You’ll notice that your hair is much easier to wash, and you’ll restore vital nutrients to your strands.
As I said above, detangling can be a little rough when taking down a protective style, so you want to be as gentle as possible to prevent excess breakage and damage.
There will be shed hair from not detangling for an extended period of time, and you don’t want to lose more hair than necessary.
It’s also good for taking down cornrows that may be underneath a weave. DON’T use the rattail comb* to detangle your natural hair. Just use it to take out your extension hair, and try finger detangling everything else.
You can spend less time taking down a protective style, and you can avoid unnecessary pain and lost hair. After the protective style is taken down, you can focus more on treating your natural hair and giving it a break.
This will make you feel more comfortable with protective styling, instead of thinking that they’re more harm than they’re worth!