Since cold weather has hit, many of you are probably thinking about protective styling! I’m a wash and go girl to my core, BUT it’s nice to change it up. Especially in the colder months. Below are some of my general tips for installing your own protective hair dos!
You-Tube is your best friend! So many how-to videos, so little time. You can get so many tutorials on youtube! It’s actually overwhelming.
Wash/Co-wash your hair before installing and after you take it out! Always have clean hair before you start. I actually like to install my protective styles while my hair is still wet because it helps gather my hair better. Many naturals like to do blow outs or comb/brush out in sections as they go. And of course, give your hair a great deep conditioning after you take the style out.
Try to match hair types The blue kanakelon hair i put it for my last twists was probably the worst hair I have ever used. It was bone straight and very cheap so it tangled a lot while installing. It also got frizzy and loose very quickly. The first tip, if you’re planning to install protective styles yourself, is to use hair that is close to your hair type so that it blends well with your hair. Obviously, if you’re doing styles that don’t necessarily involve your hair (ie wigs, crochet braids/twists) then you don’t have to worry about this. Also, don’t get the most expensive ass hair you find, but don’t get the real cheap stuff, either. The semi premium hair works just fine and will keep money in your pockets.
Holding creme is key. You will need a creme or butter that has enough hold to pull up hair and manipulate it into the protective style. I love using either the TGIN Twist and Define Creme or the Olive Oil & Mango QP Elasta Moisturizer. But there are some other really amazing twist and holding creams out there!
Not too tight I’ve heard of ladies who have gotten braids installed that were so tight that they had to take them out. It’s normally to feel a little tenderness on the first and second day. But if you are in so much pain that you are popping Tylenol, getting headaches and trying to sleep sitting up – you need to loosen up the hair. Not only that, but styles that pull too tightly on your follicles can actually cause balding and breakage.
Keep it moisturized Some people think that putting in a protective style means you can just leave it. Wrong! While protective styles do protect your ends and give your follicles a break from being manipulated everyday, they still need tender loving care. The fake hair I use actually sucks all of the moisture out of my hair. My hair is SO dry when I take out my protective hairstyles, even while moisturizing everyday.You still need to wash, moisturize and keep your scalp “greased”.
Don’t keep it in for too long I hear that 2-3 months is the most amount of time you should leave a protective style in. I can’t keep a style in for more than two weeks or I get bored so I’ve never had to worry about that. Protective styles are meant to protect, but they can have the opposite effect if you keep them in too long. Also, try to give your hair a break between protective styles if you can.
Re-use it Fake hair is totally safe to reuse if you can salvage it. I usually gently wash my hair after I’m done with my protective style and then let it hang dry before storing it until I am ready to use it again.
Tip: Many naturals are allergic to fake hair! The chemicals used in this hair can cause blisters, profuse itching, bumps and even prophylactic shock! To get around this. Soak the hair in half warm water and apple cider vinegar for at least 15 minutes to neutralize the chemicals. You will actually see a film of nastiness in the water when you retrieve your hair.
There’s so much mayhem on campus with all the Welcome-To-College activities. I see all the students, some looking happy, some looking miserable and over it, and I wish I could go back and do it all again, knowing everything I know now.
Dress & earrings: H&M; Sandals: Target; Bracelet: New York & Co.; Sunglasses: Venture.
Photos by Buster at Charlie Dorr Park in Berkeley, 8/17/15.