Caring For Your Hair!
Protective styling is a very important aspect of a hair regimen. It is one of the best ways to minimise breakage because it protects the ends of hair which is where a lot of damage and breakage occurs.
A protective style is a hair style that protects hair ends from everyday exposure to the elements;sun, wind etc. A protective style should not require heat or too much manipulation (combing, brushing, pulling) to create. It should keep hair ends/tips off the shoulders. This basically means that the ends of the hair, which are the oldest and weakest parts of our hair, should be tucked away or hidden to prevent it from getting dry by exposure to the sun and wind, or from getting damaged from rubbing on your shoulders and clothes.
If we leave our hair down, comb and play with it all the time there will be a lot of wear and tear on our hair. It may become excessively dry and this could eventually lead to breakage. Off course our hair can be worn out or down or “enjoyed” from time to time, however wearing it down daily or too often is not advisable.
The conditioning is the important part, you are going to want it to be very moisturized and sealed for install time, so make sure to use one of the best (or a deep conditioner is GREAT!!) conditioners you have on your shelf.
You should avoid alcohols, sulfates, or any chemicals that don’t look great in the ingredient list probably shouldn’t be used. Deep condition your hair under a hooded dryer for 10-15 minutes. Use a plastic cap and a warn towel if necessary.
Even if you moisturize your hair while it is in an install, it will not get the same nutrients that it does when it is not braided, so make sure you’re moisturizing with enough product.
My suggestion would be to use a great leave-in first, and then move on to an oil of your choice (castor, olive, and coconut is a great start).
Wigs are a fantastic option for protective styling. Wigs allow you to keep majority or all of your hair protected but will allow you to care for your hair properly because it can be removed giving you access to your hair. You can have a plethora of hair style options which you can switch up as often as you want without wrecking havoc on your own hair.
When wearing wigs, you should still take care of your hair and have a means of keeping your scalp clean and your hair hydrated. You may not need to spend as much time on your hair as you would if you were wearing you own hair, but you certainly should not neglect your own hair whilst wearing a wig.
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4) Extensions- Weaves and Braids
Weaves and braids can also serve as protective styles but only if they are installed, maintained and removed properly.
Many of us have formed a habit of neglecting our own hair whilst wearing extensions however doing this can lead to extremely dry, damaged and weak tresses which may result in severe breakage. Some aspects of your hair regimen should be continued even whilst wearing hair extensions.
If you are lucky enough to not suffer breakage from wearing braids and weaves then by all means please continue to wear such styles, just don’t completely neglect your own hair whilst wearing them.
Practical Tips for Effective Protective Styling
1) Do not style hair that feels dry and crunchy. If your hair feels this way, moisturise and seal before styling.
2) If you need to detangle before styling, use hands followed by a wide tooth comb if necessary.
3) Avoid unnecessary or harsh combing when creating a protective style
4) Don’t pull hair too tight when creating the style
5) Minimise daily restyling, if possible create styles will last for a few days with minimal daily touch ups.
6) Ensure your tools, e.g. pins, combs, brushes, are in good condition so that it does not snag and rip hair whilst styling
7) Avoid using harsh styling products, hairsprays or gels containing alcohol.
8) Always sleep with your hair covered with a satin scarf. A lose bonnet will allow hair to move around; a scarf tied over the hair however will keep it in place.