How Protective Is Your Protective Style?

box braids in the breeze
Photo Credit: Getty

You can’t keep braids forever

Please, please, please do not leave any install in your hair longer than six to eight weeks. We’ve seen the nasty drama, including growths, scaly scalps, matted messes. Just don’t.

Clean your scalp

Yes, you can (and should) wash your hair while it’s in a protective state. If you’re worried about frizzy, fuzzy braids, reach for a q-tip and cotton swab your scalp with some Sea Breeze or a less harsh astringent. Got weave? Try Girl+Hair’s Under Haircare collection. (Be sure to moisture with a light scalp oil afterward.)

Keep it dry

Moisture may be a must for your tresses, but damp hair and scalp are a no-no with an install. If you’ve been out sweating, swimming or even post-wash, make sure to dry your scalp and hair thoroughly. Sit under a hooded dryer on low to medium heat or grab your blow dryer and get to work.

Say no to tension

It’s not just about cleanliness, either. Stop getting your braids done so tight that you have a temporary facelift. Seriously. That’s why so many folks are out here looking for their edges. Too tight braids pull your hair from the roots, often causing permanent hair loss and scarring.

If you’re getting cornrows, hold the start of the braid with your index finger to help prevent pulling. And, don’t be afraid to talk to your stylist. Wrinkled skin between braids is not cute.

Don’t go too heavy

Also, don’t get looks that weigh your natural tresses down. Jumbo braids should come with jumbo parts. Don’t add more hair to a loose braid than is the thickness of your hair. That extra weight can actually slowly pull your hairs out of the follicles. Yes, we shed about 100 strands of hair a day, but shedding all of your edges after a braid takedown are a definite no-no.

So, here’s to living your best hair life and keeping your tresses stress-free this summer!

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About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon is founder/Black beauty directory for Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the premier directory Black-owned beauty brands, and former digital media director for Hype Hair.