Using a deep treatment prior to getting box braids, weaves, and other protective styles installed is imperative for women with naturally curly and textured hair.
Before my obsession with box braids, I was an avid Bantu Knot wearer. I love the way they look. They also kept my head cool in the summertime. During that time of knotty wear, I would not apply a deep treatment to my Type 4 coils unless they were super dry. A leave-in conditioner would be enough.
With a quickness, I learned that this hands-off method is not sufficient for box braids. In fact, I had to take down my purple braids earlier than I wanted to. This was because I did not apply a deep treatment to my detangle and prime my curls the night before I got the braids installed... among other things (ahem satin pillowcases are worth going to the store for).
Alright... well, lesson learned!
If you have been wearing protective styles but skimping on the deep treatment before installation, take heed the words I say! And since we are all curl friends here, please tell me how you prime your curls prior to getting protective styles in the comments below or @gerilynhayes.
As listed below, the following are my deep treatment product recommendations for coily hair prior to getting protective styles. The products I have chosen prime my coily hair for styling and long-lasting box braid wear:
Water is a curl's best friend: Curly Hair Solutions H2O Water Bottle - If you have not gotten a hold of this spray bottle already, stop what you're doing and put it in your online cart right now. This is hands down the best misting spray bottle on the market. To dampen my curls, I simply pump the water roughly 6 times in a sweeping motion. Then, I move to the next step:
Cleanse those curls: Femme Noire Dirty Curl Cleansing & Conditioning Clay - Who can resist the scent of chocolate? Who can resist a chocolatey cleaning and conditioning clay for curly hair? I didn't think so! If you are a fan of thick, rich clays that hydrate curls, you are in for quite a treat! Gently squeezing this clay into my hair, from ends to root, I was able to rid my scalp of debris while moisturizing my curls at the same time. I even left the clay on my curls for about 3 minutes before rinsing out.
Let's get deep: SheaMoisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque - Now for the recommendation you have been waiting for! You may well know that I am a fan of this particular masque, as I have written about it in the past. Although it is not formulated like your typical deep treatment, its powerful ingredients are why I use it as such. Hemp seed oil is nature's hair softener and strengthener. Sounds contradictory, but it is true! I love how soft my hair feels after its 30 minute treatment. Of course, when covered with a shower cap your curls will reap the most benefit.
Seal in moisture with oil: Kurlee Belle Kurlee Tropical Oils Blend - There are a handful of oils and blends that I consider irreplaceable. Kurlee Belle's unique formulation is one of them. In addition to it smelling like a fresh bouquet of flowers, it does not feel heavy on my curls. Since curls need slip for styling, I like to apply this oil in sections so that the person braiding my hair the next day will have primed curls to work with.
Keep your hair cuticles happy with a neutralizing leave-in: Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Detangling Leave-In Conditioner - You should just know that I will be using this leave-in for any given reason. It further enhances the softness of curls that have had a deep treatment applied to them. It also helps to keep the hair cuticle flat to retain hydration.
The pre-installation deep treatment regimen that I created addresses my concerns with keeping my curls moisturized while in a protective style. It also helps me manage product build up that can result in an itchy scalp.