Protective styling is one of those life-saving tactics that allows you to be lazy because you don’t have to do your hair every day, all while optimizing hair health and growth by allowing it to rest.
Whether you are getting braids, a sew-in, crochet braids, or faux locs you have to make sure that you adequately prepare your own hair first. Often we think that since we are getting a protective style that that is enough, but if you want to make sure your hair is healthy in that state there are a few measures you should make sure you complete first on your final wash day.
Apple Cider Vinegar(affiliate link) Rinse
First, I like to make sure I start with an ACV rinse to help with fully clarifying my scalp. No matter the protective style, you know that you will not be able to wash your hair really well so starting off with a cleansed scalp helps cuts down on itchiness and flaking.
You can easily do this rinse by mixing 1 part ACV and 1 part water along with about a tablespoon of olive oil(affiliate link). Apply to your scalp and lightly massage prior to washing.
I am definitely still an advocate of a good shampooing at least once every one to two weeks. With that said, I will definitely recommend shampooing with a sulfate-free shampoo prior to getting a protective style installed. As I stated earlier, knowing that you’re not going to have direct access to your scalp should motivate you to get it as clean as possible prior to styling.
I am also always intentional about making sure my hair has enough protein to uphold the styling process that is about to take place. Protein treatments are great for strengthening your strands by filling in the gaps where keratin may be lacking.
You can do this by doing a homemade concoction typically consisting of an egg, mayonnaise, conditioner, olive oil(affiliate link) and honey(affiliate link). If you do a homemade mask I recommend applying it prior to shampooing, leaving on for 30 minutes, followed by washing out.
Another alternative is to purchase a protein based product. One of my favorites is Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Reconstructing Butter that can be applied for about 15 minutes after shampooing. It smells amazing and makes my hair feel great.