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I’ve been a curly natural hair girl all my life but I did my first big chop back in 2012 and my second in 2016. I know just a little about how my hair grows and so I’m offering up my quick and easy natural hair protective style prep.
When you are prepping for a protective style you’ll need to do a few things first so your hair is ready for braids, twist, wigs or weaves. In this post, I will be focusing on braid prep which can likely be used across the board for other styles as well. In this post I will also be sharing some links to products that I have used in my hair to get ready, this is not a sponsored post and all products that I show I have been using on my hair for last 6 years.
First I start off by washing and cleaning my hair. My favorite shampoo to use for this is the Eden Bodyworks Peppermint Tea Tree Cleanse & Clarify Shampoo. Of all the products or tools I use besides water, this is the one I have been using the longest. I like it because it is free of parabens and it’s also sulfate free. This shampoo lasts me a very long time because I use so little of it. As I mentioned in My 3 Simple Natural Hair Growth Tips I don’t often wash my hair with shampoo because it strips your hair of all the moisture and when you want a big luscious fro washing too much is not the way to go. However for the sake of prepping my hair for 6-8 weeks of braids, I make sure my hair is clean and free of any gunk so this shampoo is a way to go, you can get it here. I do recommend that after using this shampoo you make sure to condition, deep condition or moisture your hair. If you’re looking for a lightweight leave-in I highly recommend the Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner.
My hair is clean, your hair is clean so now what? I’m freshly washed, cleansed and clarified and I want to make sure to protect and for this, I used the tried and true coconut oil in combination with the Giovanni Leave-in. I do not use coconut oil all the time but I do when I am prepping for braids because that’s what works for me and my curls. I section my hair into fours so that products are evenly distributed throughout my hair.
I like to use this oil and conditioner combo on my hair because it leaves it feeling lightweight and soft. When I am ready to get braids or twist done I want to make sure that the hair stays soft with the extensions in. Using coconut oil has been a big topic within the natural hair community for years and many people love it and some don’t but for me, this works.
First, I use a little of the leave in and put throughout my hair, then I use a handful of oil and spread it out from root to tips and twist each section. Sectioning the hair is very important here because I will be using a blow dryer next and I want to do small amounts at a time.
VERY LOW HEAT BLOW DRYING
This might be the one or maybe two times you will read about me saying to use heat. I believe in little to no heat at all on the hair as I find that too much heat causes tons of damage when not done properly or when done too often. However, for the purpose of these braids, I make sure to use my trusty old friend to dry my kinks. My braider combs my hair out before each braid which is much harder to do when my curls are in their “natural” pattern. To avoid the pain of her pulling out my hair I use the blow dryer on the lowest setting and dry each section until they are NEARLY dry. When I say NEARLY I mean 90% of my hair is dry and the other 10% is a little damp. I use a dryer similar to this one here, it is nothing fancy and does the job.
My hair is dried, in the picture above you can see what I mean when I say 90% dried because the ends still have that curl pattern to it. So now that I have my hair washed, protected and dried all I do is throw it up into a puff or bun and be on my way.
Braid it up
It really is all that simple with these steps, my hair is ready to go. I am prepped for braids for a few weeks and I know once I am ready to take them out my hair will have some growth, and still have some moisture to it.
What do you do to get your hair ready for a protective style? Let me know! Subscribe below to stay up to date with curly tips and let’s be friends.