I have found that I do need to thoroughly comb my hair before putting it in a protective style. I typically put it into sections-only when its wet and use a wide tooth comb. I then leave my protective style in for a couple of days before repeating.

I have found that if you use a good hot oil treatment once a week, you will strengthen your hair and see less breakage. You should not neglect to do this. Leave in conditioners are awesome for styling and manipulating curls, but the hot oil treatment will quickly begin to strengthen your hair,