#AskApril: How do I care for my hair while protective styling?

Your stylist should confirm that your hair is healthy enough for the desired style prior to the initial service. If you are unsure, schedule a consultation to check on the condition of your hair.

Prior to any protective style, you should prepare your hair. First you need to shampoo your hair. Starting with a clean foundation is important since your style will be in for a longer length of time. Be sure that your shampoo removes any product build-up as well as dirt from your hair and scalp.

Depending on your individual hair care needs, follow up with either a deep conditioner, or treatment. It can be a simple deep conditioner, a bentonite clay treatment, steam treatment, or a hair mask. If you have dry, flaky, or itchy scalp a hot oil treatment is recommended.

Properly moisturize your hair. Your stylist can also do this step. As long as you hair is moisturized. Some stylists feel as though “dry hair” is easier to “grip”, but dry hair becomes brittle and brittle hair breaks. Also, weaves can be drying, and also absorb the moisture from your hair. That is another reason why it is important to moisturize your hair to ensure that once you remove your desired style, you won’t experience any breakage.

Once your hair is in its desired style, you still need to protect and care for your hair. Whether you have twists, braids, crochets, or a sew-in, your natural hair needs proper care. Some styles allow you the option to shampoo your hair. Be sure that you hair is completely dry afterwards to prevent molding. To minimize a flaky scalp, spray your hair with water and follow up with an oil of your choice. Tea tree oil helps with itching.

Do not leave your styles in longer than 8 weeks. Also, allow your hair to “rest” and your scalp to “breathe” in between styles. Too much manipulation can cause breakage, as well as traction alopecia. Avoid pulling too tightly on styles.  Remember the idea is to protect your hair, not to damage it!

As always, whether you are protective styling or not

TIE YOUR HAIR UP EVERY NIGHT with a bonnet or a silk/satin scarf.

Photos: CreateHerStock

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