Pictured: T'Keyah Bennet
Words by: Abi Faniran
Protective styling is one of the go-to parts of a healthy hair care regimen. Protective styles are low maintenance, excellent for promoting hair growth, cuts down your hair styling time thus reducing manipulation and helps switch up your style.
It’s easy to get comfortable with these low maintenance styles thus forgetting about caring for your hair underneath. In some cases, some ladies leave their hair underneath unattended for months at a time.
While there are a variety of ways to care for hair while protective styling, you can create a simple regimen with natural oils. Natural oils are great for sealing, making hair soft and pliable, aiding strength and growth as well as assisting with several scalp ailments while at it. They can be a great tool or a great hindrance while protective styling depending on how you use them. Here are the 8 ways to use them effectively to achieve your hair goals:
- Not every oil type is suitable for hair while protective styling. Remember your hair is locked away for 8 – 12 weeks or longer and you won’t have easy access to it. Avoiding build up is key.
- Go for light, easily absorbed oils that won’t clog your scalp. The best oils for these are grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, avocado oil and apricot kernel oil.
- If you are dealing with hair loss or bald spots, add castor oil, Jamaican black castor oil and Vitamin E oil. However, these oils are too thick for application while protective styling. You need to dilute them heavily with the lighter oils suggested above.
- For weaves and other styles where access to your hair is more restrictive, mix the oils together in an applicator bottle and apply thinly between the tracks directly onto your scalp in the evenings once or twice a week. Do your best to avoid getting the oil on the extensions. Massage with your fingers in-between the tracks.
- For braids, twists and less restrictive styles, mix the oils together in a bottle and apply with your fingertips lightly between the hair. Massage in a rolling motion with your fingers. Concentrate on the problem areas.
- Make a moisturizing spray with rose water, KKNT or Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner, tea tree, peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils. Spray on your scalp and between your tracks two to three times a week. For braids, spray the length but stop where your hair ends.
- Wash your hair every 10 – 14 days with mild diluted shampoo. Afterwards, carry out the oil regimen particular to the protective style.
- Apply the oils lightly! You shouldn’t apply oils the same heavy-handed way you do when your hair is out. Even though the oils recommended above are light in nature, over application will clog your scalp, lead to annoying build up and hair loss from tangled hair when you try to take down the style.
With continuous practice of the above, when you take down your protective style, you will find out your
shedding is minimal, no split ends or breakage and all your growth will be retained. You will also notice your strands feel stronger. Happy hair growing!
About the author: Abi Faniran is the founder and editor for www.naturaloilsforhair.net, a website dedicated to nurturing and growing your hair internally and externally with natural oils, and building a better body through fitness regimens and diets that deliver results. She can be found on Facebook@naturaloilsforhairandhealth, Pinterest@oilshairhealth & Twitter@oilshairhealth.