This summer I have been rocking feed-in braids and box braids as I dip my toe into the protective styles pool.
During most of the year a protective style on me is a colorful kente cloth headwrap or Marley twists in the winter, but this time I decided to give my precious curls a break from the sweltering heat. I had an amazing talk with my hair braider, Karyne (@hairbykaryne if you are based in NYC -- tell her I sent you!) who cares more about preserving hair health than the 'aesthetic' of protective style braids, which I truly appreciate. While we like to act like we treat our curly hair with perfect attention 100 percent of the time, I will admit that that was not necessarily true for me until I was reminded of these three important factors from Karyne during our recent session.
I still have to keep my scalp clean.
Some naturals might argue that while wearing braids and twists, we don't have to worry as much about washing our hair. Let me tell you how disgusting that is. Since moving to New York City recently I have been on this constant commute out in the polluting elements; I am sure you can imagine how brown the water is when I decided to finally scrub my scalp clean after neglecting it for so long with my feed-ins. Taliah Waajid has an innovative Dry Gel Shampoo that actually makes it hard to have a reason to skip wash day with braids. The product comes in a nozzle that lets me aim right at my scalp and use the pads of my fingers on damp -- not soaking wet -- hair, making it super easy to wipe up -- not rinse out -- with a wash cloth. It is pure magic for prolonging the look of a protective style, and not to mention, it contains some refreshing ingredients to ensure a deep clean like avocado oil, peppermint oil, and bamboo extract.
I still have to moisturize.
Just like my mom used to part my hair and 'grease' my scalp when I wore it relaxed throughout most of my life, it is important to keep my scalp moisturized as natural and in braids, too. Taliah Waajid Protective Styles Gro Hair Gro Bamboo And Coconut Milk Growth Oil is great for the morning before heading out to refresh and add some natural sheen to my style. In the midday or at night, I moisturize with Healthy Hair Under There Bamboo, Avocado And Peppermint Conditioning & Restoring Serum, which is made for daily use and is oil-free, meaning it won't leave annoying drip stains on my pillow when I lay down to go to sleep.
I still have to get a trim.
Ok, so I have a confession: I missed my regular 6-month trim to maintain my shape and the health of my curls. I know, I preach all the time about how this isn't OK. But I also have mentioned how I am so against cutting my own hair, and since my hairstylist Robin is at Southern Curl in Atlanta, I haven't been able to make it out that way since a recent move. Therefore, I have gone a couple of months too long without a proper trim, and my hair braider Karyne informed me how that could cause my split ends to travel even further up the hair shaft and give me more damage in the long run. Now that the universe has reminded me that a protective style isn't an excuse for going without a trim, I will be my appointment as soon as possible.
Which factor is important to you while rocking braids?
Let me know if you have any advice to add!