I recently took down my protective style - box braids - which I had on for about five weeks. As usual, it was getting really frizzy and I realized that it was time to take it down. Of course, the heat wasn't helping matters either.
During take down, I made up my mind that I was going to do it properly. Yes, there's a proper way to take down protective styles. In fact, the manner in which you do it determines how much length you would be able to retain. That's why a lot of people complain that their hair isn't growing meanwhile they are not retaining enough length. But that's another discussion for another day.
Say you have a weekly regimen like me that requires you to wash your hair every week. A five - week long protective style means that you haven't washed your hair in FIVE WEEKS!. There's no way you're going to retain length if you don't take your time to patiently take down your protective style and treat your hair afterward. You'll just be experiencing breakage and excessive shedding which you won't be able to control if yu are not careful.
So, how to do treat your natural hair after a protective style such that you reap its full benefits?
Depending on the style you did, you will need to detangle. This can be minimal in the case of crochet braids for instance or extensive, for box braids. Whatever you do, make sure you are detangling along to reduce breakage. Plus, you also saving time.
- Pre-poo/Hot oil treatment
As much as I'm not so much of a fan of pre-poo, it is very necessary to nurse your hair back to health after a protective style. Whatever you use for pre-poo, make sure you leave for an extensive time. Usually, overnight.
After pre-poo, you will need to clarify your hair of the weeks of junk and product buildup that has settled in your scalp.
I previously used to underrate the importance of protein treatments but recently I've begun to have a change of heart. Protein treatments strengthen your hair and repair any damage the protective style might have done to your hair.
- Do a protein treatment
After a protein treatment, it's only right to finish up with a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment to balance things out. Heat - direct with steaming cap or indirect with shower cap and body heat - is necessary to improve penetration of the deep conditioner into your strands.
- Finish up with a moisture - intensive deep conditioner with heat.
Moisturize with your leave-in conditioner, lock in the moisture with your favorite oil and seal with a heavy butter.
- Moisturize, Lock and Seal
With these steps, your natural hair should be back to normal in no time.