Before i go ahead, i want to clarify that in order to see the benefits of protective styling, taking care of your hair is not limited to only while these styles are in. You will also have to ensure that you are caring for your hair before you put it in any protective style so this section will be split into 2. Taking care of your hair before installing your protective style and while it is in a protective style!
Before protective styling:
1. The first thing is to look at your hair honestly and assess if braids or weaves are the best protective style at that point in time. I say this because sometimes, people are experiencing serious damage, very thin edges or breakage and they still proceed to put their hair in braids or in weaves to 'tuck' it away but if we are being honest, that's not the best solution for that person and it'll do a lot more damage than protection. So if your hair is all good- no issues, you can then proceed.
2. Always cleanse and deep condition your hair before you get it braided. A clean scalp and well conditioned hair should always be your starting point.
3. Use a light leave in and seal with an oil. Your hair should always be hydrated and moisturised before you braid it or put it in a weave.
4. Thoroughly detangle your hair and if you are blowing it out- use a cooler setting. This prevent snagging and pulling to prevent breakage and using a cooler setting also prevents heat damage.
Now that we understand what needs to be done beforehand, I can now discuss what needs to be done once your braids or weave is in.
While in protective style:
1. As with every other style, your scalp needs to remain clean so you'll still need to cleanse your scalp. This can be done using a diluted shampoo (mixed with water to get it watery in an applicator bottle) and a cotton pad. You can apply the diluted shampoo to a cotton pad and rub gently against your scalp. Afterwards, ensure you rinse your scalp to prevent any shampoo being left over. A clean scalp is necessary for healthy hair growth!
2. You still need to continue hydrating and moisturising your hair while in braids or weaves. I would recommend this at least once a week. A very light spray leave in conditioner is always a great option. You spray this down the length of your braids or on the braided tracks (careful not to apply it on your scalp). Sprays are super convenient. They are also really light and prevent build up. Lastly, they are great for reaching the hair in braids and weaves.
3. Seal seal seal! Use a super light oil to seal in the moisture (after applying your leave in) as you would normally do!
4. Lastly, do not keep your braids or weave in too long. Nothing longer than 6-8 weeks. Keeping them in too long will cause more harm than good!
Mielle Mint Almond Oil
This mint almond oil is super light weight and an amazing sealant. It is infused with mint essential oil. This oils doubles as a great scalp oil if you have a really dry scalp and need some oil. The essential oils also help with blood circulation on the scalp and therefore healthy hair growth.
100% Pure Coconut Oil
Coconut oils is an amazing sealing oil for the higher porosity people- relaxed hair, colored hair, heat users. This oil also helps maintain your protein structure and therefore further maintains moisture.
Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Conditioner
Don't let the lighter/more watery consistency of this leave-in fool you! It leaves the hair super moisturised without weighing down the hair so if you have more fine hair, this is the leave in for you!
Mielle Avocado Moisturising Hair Milk
This moisturiser is thicker and super moisturising. I would recommend it more for thicker and less fine hair textures before installing the protective style