Wintertime is quickly approaching, and its effects are already being felt. Temperatures are dropping, the pumpkin spice lattes are flowing, and the Christmas classics are steadily making their way to the airwaves.
Unfortunately, the effects are not all positive. For many naturals, the cold winter air means dry and brittle hair. If not carefully treated, hair left in this state can become damaged. Fortunately, most naturals today use protective hairstyles to combat dryness during the winter months.
Protective styles aren't the end all be all for mitigating damage, however. Proper preparation techniques must be established to avoid damaging the hair. That is why your hair has to be prepared well so you can start with a great base. Here's how to prep your hair for long term protective styling.
Wash Your Hair
This is a no brainer. Of course, you must wash your hair but it's how you do it that is important. Many naturals have opted out of weekly shampooing in favor of co-washing to avoid stripping their hair of its natural oils. This reasoning makes even more sense during the winter.
While some conditioners do have cleansing properties (some of them contain sulfates) when prepping for a protective style, your best bet for clean hair is shampoo. It removes all of the build-up and gives your hair a clean slate. Shampoo is especially important if you do protein treatments before protective styling. Proteins will adhere better to clean strands.
Deep Condition Your Hair
Using a moisturizing conditioner is crucial here. Considering your hair will be up in a style for a while, you'll want to make sure that it is nice and conditioned.
A condition will help to restore the nourishment that was stripped away by the shampoo. Conditioners also add elasticity, which is key when protective styling. It ensures that your hair is flexible enough to withstand the bends and twists of the style.
Thoroughly detangle your hair
This is another no brainer but you must make sure that you rid your hair of all of its tangles and shedding. What you don't get out now will be exacerbated during the take down process.
Detangling is also necessary for smoothing out you hair so that it can better mold itself into your style of choice.
Part your hair before adding extensions
When preparing for box braids and twists, preliminary parting is very convenient. Not only does it cut down on the time spent doing your hair, but it allows you to focus on creating clean lines.
Having crisp parts help the braids to not only look neater and professional, it also minimizes tangles during the takedown process, by preventing strands from one section being picked up by another.
Be generous with hair creams
This is the perfect time to be liberal with styling cremes. Of course, do not apply too much and waste product. You'll want to apply enough so that all your parts are well coated.
Styling creams not only add moisture, but they also deposit conditioning agents that are more potent than those in washout conditioners. Since your hair will be up in a style for a while, you don't have to worry too much about your hair looking weighed down.
What are some ways you prep your hair for protective styling?
Dougherty (DOH-wer-dee) is a beauty enthusiast and writer with a passion for natural hair and skin care. Her other interests include music and literature. When she's not blogging, she is enjoying spending quality time with her friends and family.