Yours Truly captured by John Marcus
As I continue to grow my hair out from my pixie cut style, I've been experimenting with protective styles. I'm a low maintenance natural with a combination of 3b/3c hair. I easily get comfortable with rocking my curly fro, but girl let me tell you it's nothing better than a fresh set of braids that make you feel like a melanin goddess. This summer I stepped outside my comfort zone and tried two braided styles so I'm sharing what I've learned about rocking protective styles for beginners, from finding a trustworthy hair stylist, to the best products to use and advice on caring for your scalp.
Girl, Who Did Your Hair?
Start by asking friends (or strangers) where they get their hair done. Ask questions such as "How was your overall experience," "Would you go back," and "Was he/she professional and on time?" Be sure to get as much information as you can from them before you waste your time or money. Also, research their work and be sure they offer the services you're looking for. I use Styleseat to book my stylist, and it's a great tool to check out stylists work, services and reviews. For these two braided styles, I booked with Hair by Tara, who is based in the Austin area and is known for her bomb sew-ins, feed-in braids and blowouts. If you're looking for a stylist in your area who specializes in natural hair, NaturallyCurly's Salon Finder has thousands of reviews from other NC community members.
Clean Hair is Key
Before you get your hair done, be sure to wash your hair the night before to remove any product build up. I used the Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Shampoo and Conditioner. It cleanses my hair it leaves it soft and moisturized.
Care For Your Scalp
It's so important to oil your scalp when you're wearing your hair in protective styles, especially during the summer months when your hair is exposed to the sun. As you know, there will be times your scalp will feel like it's on fire, but you must fight the itch. To soothe my scalp I used the Design Essentials Peppermint & Aloe Soothing Scalp Tonic, which is great because it has a nozzle applicator that can be easily applied to your scalp without a mess. I would apply this twice a day for a nice refresher.
Slick Your Edges
You know it's a must, to keep those edges laid. My go-to for edge control is the Curls Blueberry Bliss Control Paste, it keeps my baby hairs under control while adding some shine. Also, don't forget to tie up your with a scarf at night or even on the way to work to keep your braids fresh.
Deep Condition Your Hair
There is nothing better than the feeling of taking your hair down and running your fingers through your curls. Now that you've done the hard part, it's time to restore and replenish your hair. I used the Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash , massaged well, gently combed then applied the Hair Mask for an intense deep conditioner. Be sure to leave it on for 20 minutes, massage your scalp thoroughly then rinse and detangle.
From One Curly Girl to Another
To my naturalistas who are transitioning or growing their hair out, don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try a new look. Embrace the awkward phases to experiment with a variety of hairstyles and express yourself. There are so many protective styles to try out from braids, twists, faux locs and more. Remember, your only limit is YOU!
How do you care for your protective styles? I'd love to know, comment below!
For more style inspiration, follow Alexandra on Instagram @queensconquer