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If you’re working with natural hair, then you’ve likely dabbled in the world of protective styles. Protective styles help you protect your strands from the elements without sacrificing a stylish ‘do, and are a great way to give your natural hair a break. From box braids to lace front wigs to crochet braids and more, the possibilities are truly endless.
However, just because your strands are stylishly tucked away doesn’t mean that your hair care routine stops. It’s essential to shower your strands with TLC to keep your protective style and your natural hair in tip-top shape. Not quite sure how to wash box braids or care for protective styles in general? No need to fret. Below, we’re sharing tips on caring for your mane, starting with keeping your hair clean.
Just as you would wash your hair without a protective style, you’ll need to do the same when your style is in place. You certainly won’t need to wash braids or other protective hairstyles every day, but it is necessary. Since it’s super easy for dirt, oils, and other impurities to build up on your scalp over time, you’ll want to make sure you give your style a good ole cleansing session once every two weeks. If not, your hair could pay the ultimate price. From dry and dull-looking hair to frizz, skipping out on the wash process is never a good thing.
Grab the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Conditioner to get the job done. This sulfate-free system works to deeply nourish hair while providing a luminous shine for a healthy-looking finish.
For box braids, be generous with applying your shampoo to your scalp. Make sure to move the braids around and really get in there. Be gentle when massaging the shampoo over your scalp—you don’t want to disturb your braids. Rinse out the shampoo, making sure you get every last sud. Then it’s time for conditioner. Instead of coating just your ends, like you may have heard of doing with conditioner in the past, apply it all over your braids. Rinse once more and allow your hair to air dry.
What about washing other protective hairstyles? If you’re wearing a lace wig, you’ll have to take your cleansing routine a bit further. Not only should you wash your wig, but you also need to wash your hair underneath to ensure that your natural hair gets the TLC that it needs.
There’s a lot more to caring for your hair—protective hairstyle or not—than keeping it clean. Once you know how to wash your braids (or any other protective hairdo), brush up on the following hair care tips.
Caring for your protective hairstyle isn’t something that starts a few weeks after installation when your hair looks worse for wear. It’s important from the get-go, including during the installation process. To ensure your style looks amazing and make care easier, in the long run, it’s a good idea to go to a hairstylist who is experienced with protective styles for your install. If you’re interested in DIY styling, make sure you do your research.
While you may think that washing your strands every two weeks is enough to keep your style in order, your strands need additional moisture to look and feel their very best. Use your go-to hair oil to oil your mane once a week to keep your moisture levels up and your hair in shape.
Editor’s note: Working with a lace front wig? You can totally skip this step!
We can all agree that there is almost nothing better than getting your strands out of your face when they’ve been bothering you. But if you’re working with box braids, knotless box braids, or other braided looks, consistently styling your hair in ponytails and other updos can take a toll on your baby hairs and your hairline. Not to mention, it can also cause your style to loosen at the roots, which can age your style over time. Limit wearing your hair up to one or two times a week.
The same rules apply to constant pulling and tugging at your style during the styling process. Keep things light and style your hair gently to avoid any damage.
As much as you may take good care of your protective style, over time, your hair will come to sport a lived-in look. To help combat this issue, it’s best to retouch your hair every four weeks to help your style maintain a fresh look. If you’re working with braids or twists, ask your stylist to re-do the style around the perimeter of your hairline.
On the other hand, if you’re wearing a lace front wig, over time, your lace front will need to be replaced due to hair shedding. Ask your stylist to remove the existing lace front portion of your wig and replace it with a new frontal. It’s a budget-friendly way to refresh your style instead of starting over with a new wig.
We understand that sometimes you just want to hop into bed and get a good night’s sleep, but you need to protect your hair before doing so. Wrapping your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet can help to keep your style in mint condition and is one of the easiest ways to care for your protective style. Not to mention, silk works wonders to protect your hair from frizz, keep your protective style intact, and keep your hair moisturized.
With time, box braids and other protective hairstyles are prone to becoming dry. What can you use in the way of hair moisturizer for braids? A light, leave-in conditioner can be a lifesaver for restoring moisture and keeping your style looking its best.
Even with the proper care, your protective style will eventually run its course. To keep your hair from sporting a matted appearance, you’ll need to remove your style after six to eight weeks.
And that’s a wrap on how to care for box braids and other protective hairstyles! Need a little styling inspo next? Here are 25 Cornrow Hairstyles for 2020.
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