As we head into the cooler months, you may be thinking about tucking your hair away into a long-term protective style — box braids, kinky twists, or maybe crochet braids. No matter your choice, there are a few things to keep in mind to get the most out of your protective styles and maintain the health of your hair.
But before we dive in, let’s talk about what a protective style is!
What’s a Protective Style?
In short, protective styles are styles that require little to no daily manipulation. The reason they are considered “protective” is because the less you touch and manipulate your hair, the lower your chances are of experiencing breakage. You greatly reduce split ends and possible breakage by tucking away your ends, which are the oldest parts of your hair and more prone to damage.
While the hair care tips below apply more to long-term protective styles, you can also benefit and give your hair a short break by rocking a bun or “roll, tuck, and pin” style.
1. Ease the Tension
The benefits of a protective style start at the installation. When braiding your own hair or having braids installed by a pro, make sure your hair is not being pulled too tight. Don't be afraid to speak up if your stylist is using too much tension, especially around your fragile edges.
Also, be careful that you don’t tug on the hair too much when styling your braids and twists. What good is a protective style if it’s pulling out your edges?
2. Cleanse Your Scalp
There are a number of methods for cleansing your hair while rocking a protective style, but here’s one suggestion: dilute your shampoo with a bit of water in an applicator bottle, apply it directly to the scalp, then gently massage and rinse with warm water. Our Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo does a great job of removing buildup without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
3. Keep Hair Moisturized
Protective styles help cut down on your morning routine because you don’t have to fiddle with your hair as much. However, it is important to regularly moisturize your hair and scalp if you want your protective style to do its job. A few mists of our White Peony Leave-In Conditioner used either alone or followed by our Mint Almond Oil a few times a week will help keep your scalp healthy and your hair soft. Taking your hair down will be that much easier if your hair is well-moisturized!
4. Protect Your Hair at Bedtime
Unless you sleep on a satin pillowcase, wrapping your hair in a satin or silk scarf or bonnet will help prevent unnecessary loss of moisture. Make sure you avoid cotton, though, which will suck the moisture out of your hair.
5. Be Gentle When Taking the Style Down
You may be so ready to take your style down that you speed through the process. But, please, take your time to prevent breakage! Mielle’s Mongongo Oil Pre-Shampoo Treatment will add just the right amount of moisture to pre-condition your cuticles, making them ready for manipulation. Start by gently detangling your hair with your fingers and follow up with a detangling brush or comb to remove any remaining shed hair if needed.
BONUS NOTE: After the Protective Style
We lose, on average, around 100 to 150 individual strands of hair per day. So, if you’ve had a protective style in for a month or two, you’ll likely see a good amount of shed hair when you detangle. This is natural, so don’t be alarmed!
Be sure to remove as much as you can before moving on to cleansing so you don’t end up with a matted mess. This is also a great time to give your hair and scalp a nice deep conditioning treatment. Our Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner is the perfect follow-up for a protective style to help soothe the scalp while moisturizing and strengthen the hair.
What protective styles are you planning to do in the upcoming season?
If you’re seeing or experiencing signs of a sensitive scalp you’ve come to the right place. Whether your situation is feeling pretty serious, or you’re just starting to notice symptoms here and there, your Mielle family is always here to help.
Now that summer has officially come to a close, it’s time to talk about sun-damaged hair and how to restore it. After all, your hair has helped you look fly all summer, despite all of the poolside relaxation, vacations, and outdoor activities.
Heat styling can alter the structure of the proteins in the hair, which results in loss of curl integrity and cuticle damage. To restore those proteins in the hair, you will likely need a reconstructing treatment.