By definition, protective for natural hair such as braids, wigs, cornrows and twists are intended to prevent against breakage and, in turn, promote length retention. These two factors working in tandem is what can appear to "make your hair grow" when wearing these styles.
However, one of the factors that has the biggest impact overall on the success of protective styles for natural hair is: how well your maintain them. So, here are 3 ways you can improve how you maintain your protective styles at any time of year.
1. Keep your scalp hydrated
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. As important as it is to hydrate curly, coily and kinky hair strands and keep them moisturised, it is equally important for your scalp too, if not more so – but how do we keep our scalp hydrated when wearing protective styles?
When wearing protective hairstyles, our hair is often in more partings than usual to create small sections for braids or twists. This leaves our scalp exposed and more susceptible to dryness and irritation, including sun burn in hotter climates.
It also means that our scalp is often more accessible than usual and can be hydrated more easily. Misting your scalp liberally with a water-based product such as our Loc-It-In Moisture Spray is a great way to moisturise and soothe your scalp before it dries out and as often as you need to.
You can also try misting it on a microfibre towel, and wiping the dampened fabric between your partings for older styles or if your scalp is more sensitive to itchiness. It was one of the most popular tips shared in our Ditch the Itch event, so catch the replay here.
2. Touch up your style
Some of the most effective protective styles for natural hair are those that can be worn during a period of 2 weeks or more. This prolongs the amount of time between styling sessions where our fragile curly, coily hair strands are being manipulated.
Therefore promoting length retention as it reduces the frequency of breakage experienced from styling – but only if you can adequately maintain your style as it ages. You don't necessarily have to abandon a protective hairstyle before you are ready.
You can give braids, locs and twists a new lease of life by tightening areas of new growth, re-twisting or braiding looser areas or stray strands with our Curl Crush Flaxseed & Marshmallow Gel.
It is especially effective for the ends of your hair when twisting your natural hair on its own.
3. Seal your strands
The beauty of protective styles for natural hair lies in their versatility. You can achieve braids with or without the addition of a whole world of colourful and unique braiding hair types or wig styles. These additions make it all the more important to lock moisture into you natural strands.
Once they are hydrated with Loc-It-In, or even Curl Crush, you can follow up with our Hair Too Balm. It's a potent buttery blend and so you can enjoy enhanced shine with even a light layer on your strands.
The three of these products can either work on their own to help you get the most out of your protective styles and how you maintain them. Or they can work together as our Braid & Loc Maintenance Trio, which comes highly recommended by loctitians.