Okay so lets talk about protective styling. If you are a natural, then you know that this is one of the go-tos that saves a lot of time, money and effort. There are those within the movement who wear their hair in protective styles all year round and more power to them. But even in the midst of doing what you believe to be a good thing for your hair, you can run the risk of still causing major damage. Let me explain.

Sometimes, when wearing a protective style, you can forget that you still have to perform maintenance, meaning you have to watch your hair to see how it reacts. You also have to make sure you are giving it the proper love and care because growth and the need for moisture, etc. doesn’t stop just because you have some Marley twists in your hair. There are a lot of mistakes you can make with protective styling that can end up doing more harm than good. But just like other things, it doesn’t have to be that way.

So here are some ways to maximize your protective styling efforts and prevent hair loss during and after protect styling.

During: Pay Attention

This is so important because ignoring what’s going on with your hair will cost you. Just because you have braids or weave doesn’t mean you can forget about your hair underneath. Pay attention to how the style is treating your hair. Are your edges protected, is it braided too tightly in the back, is the thread from your installment cutting into your hair? I know that it’s tempting to just let things be, but don’t forget to stay on top of what’s going on.

During: Moisturize

What is the point of giving your hair a break if you’re still not taking care of it? You are giving it a break not you. Please remain aware of the fact that you have to continue moisturizing and oiling your hair. The idea of protective styling is to give your hair the chance to be still without much tussle but it still needs the TLC to keep it happy and healthy.

After: Detangle

If you don’t usually detangle your hair, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Regardless of the type of protective style you had (some may cause more knots/kinks than others) you really need to carefully detangle your hair. After taking down your style, you don’t want to just wash and go. You need to take the time to use either your fingers or a large toothed comb to detangle. Make sure to also use a creamy/thick conditioner. That way, you will have good lubrication, which is essential in the detangling process.

After: Deep Condition

Remember that taking care of your hair is a process that calls for different steps at different times. One of the most important things you can do, period, is apply a deep conditioning treatment. This can be a product formulated for deep conditioning or a DIY mixture that you concoct yourself with the right ingredients at home. Regardless, you should set time aside after your protective style to give your hair the treatment it needs, which can include sitting under a dryer to really penetrate your hair shaft. This is especially true if you plan to style soon after. Give your hair a fighting chance at remaining strong before you start stressing it again.

Protective styling is a staple in the natural hair community. If you are going to have them, create a protective styling regimen that’s going to enhance your efforts and continue to strengthen your hair.