Guide to Healthy Summer Protective Styling:
Guide to Healthy Summer Protective Styling:
When school is out, the heat sets in, and everyone is headed out of town for their vacations, some clients opt for protective styling to get them through June and July. Unfortunately, each summer I tend to have clients that come back to their normal regimen, when it cools off, with badly damaged hair and split ends. Protective styles are supposed to be healthy though right?
But only when you pair your hair with the right style, it is executed properly, maintained properly, and taken out properly. Don’t allow your hair to go steps backwards this summer.
Here are some of my tips for successful summer styles.
Choosing your protective style:
Let’s be real… every style is not for everybody. If is too hard to detangle when you take it out, it ultimately results in hair loss. For majority of my clients with fine hair or tight textures I recommend styles that involve few or larger sections. This could be styles with their own hair (such has rod sets and updos), cornrow/feed in braid styles, wigs, or crochet styles.
When opting for weaves I recommend having the braids as large as possible, without being bulky, and in less complicated braiding patterns. All of the small intricate braids look nice for the stylist’s camera but can cause matting when it’s time to remove the style.
When doing braids and twists with extensions, cornrow styles are the gentlest on the hair, but when getting singles it’s better to get medium to large sized braids as micro and small braids can be harder to remove.
Ultimately, with each style you want to choose a style that is easy to maintain and not keep it for too long.
The longer you keep the style, more shed hairs accumulate and entangle with your real hair. Most styles with added hair I recommend keeping 4-6 weeks max.
Entering protective styling:
Before entering protective styles, it is very important to trim excessive split ends. Remember that the hair will shed while the style is in, so the shed hairs will easily tangle with thinner “straggly” ends during the removal process.
If you’re one who goes from one style to the next without taking care of your natural hair, your hair will continue to grow, but the ends will be thin and eventually you will not continue to retain length.
Signs that your hair is overdue for trimming in between styles are with hair that is hard to detangle when wet and has a lot of hair loss when wet and/or dry.
You also want to do an effective deep conditioning before entering your protective style. Remember, the hair will be braided up and harder to moisturize and will dry out over the days and weeks. The higher level of moisture you start with, the more moisture you will have at take down. Hair that is dry upon removal pops more, resulting in less length retention.
I also recommend the hair be smooth before braiding via a light blow out. Hair that is braided from wet or from a tight state is harder to take down later. We have our clients come in for our “Protective Style Preparation” service which involves a Micro Mist Hydration treatment to build moisture, a light blow out, and we focus on the health of the ends.
During protective styling:
With finer and tighter natural textures, it is unfortunately best to try not to get the style wet. Braids that get wet are more likely to entangle. For those who are working out and swimming, of course it is inevitable. Opt for dry shampoos to remove build up and try not to submerge the hair completely in water. If you do swim, it is best to clarify the hair to removed harsh chemicals and beach salts from the hair. You definitely do not want to keep styles that get wet for longer than 3 weeks so that you can avoid matting.
Every few days apply light oil blends such as grapeseed, sweet almond, and argan with essential oils for your scalp and stimulation such as rosemary, tea tree, and peppermint. Think of these oils as the “fertilizer for your plant”. Don’t simply neglect the hair when it’s up, but keep it nourished, soft, and protected. If the hair is starting to dry out, it’s time to take it down, cleanse, treat, and start over. Hair that is kept up for too long will not always grow better… it may grow, but weaker.
I completely understand wanting to keep styles in longer when you have invested money, but it’s for this reason that I honestly recommend styles that allow hair that can be reused or cost effective styles with your real hair or corn rows for those shorter trips.
After protective styling:
Lastly, if you have chosen the correct style, maintained it properly, and not kept it in for too long, the take down should be easy. Hair that is soft and trimmed should be easy to unravel from braids and twists. I never recommend taking all the hair out and then combing or wetting. You want to take your time and gently detangle your hair with fingers and a wide tooth comb in small sections from your ends up to your scalp as you take it down. Be mindful to remove shed hairs that gather at the roots before wetting your hair. Shampooing in sections avoids any tangles from any shed hairs that you may have missed.
I promise you that taking these extra steps will result in protective styles that maintain health and length during the summer months! AS always, you can come in for a regimen and advice that is completely unique to you.
Happy growing and happy summer!