Some may say that long-term protective styling is the reason why their hair has grown as much as it has in the past year. Others may swear that keeping a protective style–like weaves and box braids– in for more than two months is the reason why they experienced hair loss in the first place. And you know what? Both of those sentiments would be correct!
Protective styling is a great way to protect (obviously) your hair and promote growth and length retention. However, when you don’t take care of your hair before, during, and after protective styling, you are in for a major disaster. Not properly caring for your hair before going into protective styling for months will leave you with breakage, hair loss, dry and itchy scalp, and many other things.
So how exactly should you care for your hair before you go into a long term protective style? Below are a few tips to help you get it together!
Check overall hair health
From personal experiences, I know that if your hair isn’t healthy beforehand, things can go awfully wrong. For example, if your hair is too weak and brittle, it may not be able to hold the weight of box braids for more than a few weeks. Or perhaps you are getting a straight hair weave, but you’re going to leave some hair out. The braided portion of your hair will be fine, but your leave out may not be able to withstand all of that manipulation.
Check in on your hair health before you decide on a style and begin prepping for it. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Create a complete regimen
Creating a pre-protective style regimen won’t be hard at all since you’ll only be adding three new components to the routine you already have in place. Wash, moisturize, and seal as usual, but you also need to deep condition, do a protein treatment, and massage your scalp daily.
Protein treatments will strengthen your hair, deep conditioning* will intensively moisturize, and scalp massages will keep the blood circulating through your scalp.
Start prepping your hair two weeks in advance
Once you decide on your protective style, give yourself a two week window to prep your hair before styling. This way, you won’t have to manipulate or put too much stress on your hair right before you style it. This would be the best time to start your protein treatment and scalp massages.
Explore all your options! Crochet braids, cornrow extensions*, weaves, wigs*, box braids, Senegalese twists, and many more are great for you to try! If your hair isn’t read for one, there’s always another long-term protective style that’ll keep your hair healthy and growing.