Protective Hairstyles and Scalp Care 101

A young frustrated woman with long curly hair scratching on her scalp.

Considering a protective hairstyle, but not sure about the maintenance and upkeep? Love your braids, but hate the dryness, itching, and buildup? If you're like most natural beauty gurus, chances are you've run into these nagging worries. Your friends at RevAir are here to help women everywhere stress less and shine more. Skip the headache -- or shall we say scalp ache? -- and get back to loving your hair.

Explore the beautiful world of natural hair care and discover how to care for your scalp while wearing a protective hairstyle. Our simple, easy routines, tips, and tricks are suited to every lifestyle. Whether you're rushing from the gym to the office or enjoying a relaxing evening at home, these amazing holistic hair care trends will save your scalp and your style.

Braid, twist, clip, and curl with confidence! There's never a dull moment for you or your scalp with these healthy hair remedies.

What are Protective Hairstyles and How Can They Affect Your Scalp?

Growing out natural hair can be a test of patience as well as the best hair decision you've ever made. From coils to curls, achieving a full, lush head of beautiful tresses may sometimes seem like a never-ending goal.

Protective hairstyles are here to make the journey a little easier. Awkward growth spurts are best left for our middle school memories. With a myriad of stunning looks, there's no limit on inspiration. Get inspired, enjoy the flexibility of instant glamour, and change up your routine with a new style each month. Some of the most popular protective hairstyles for Type 3 and Type 4 hair include box braids, Senegalese twists, Fulani braids, plaited updos, curly cornrows, and goddess locks. Best of all, you can add a pop of bright, bold fashion color to any of these styles without compromising your natural hair. Think of protective hairstyles as color without commitment and your free pass to be as creative as you like.

Natural curls, particularly Type 4 coils, tend to be drier and more prone to breakage throughout the growth process. Protective hairstyles allow your natural hair to retain moisture and prevent tugging and pulling throughout the day. Frequent gym-goers and those who generally prefer a low maintenance natural hair routine will especially benefit from a protective hairstyle.

However, this also means the pressure is now on your scalp to carry the look. Without a reliable scalp care routine, many natural beauties might find themselves battling scalp soreness, itchiness, headaches, and traction alopecia.

Don't let scalp pain put a kink in your look. Take control instead with gentle, nourishing wellness tips for every hair type, texture, and goal.

Start Your Natural Hair Journey on the Right Foot

A phenomenal foundation is key when it comes to rocking any new style. Before you commit to a protective hairstyle, take a moment to assess where your natural hair is at in its growth journey. If you're working with damaged, compromised hair, chances are your new look won't be off to a great start.

The first step in getting a protective hairstyle is getting a little help from the experts. Stop by your local hair salon for a consultation. Getting a trim prior to installing extensions and braids is the best way to ensure scalp tension is minimized and your healthy hair is protected. A luxury stylist who's experienced in working with natural hair should also ensure that the foundation isn't too tight as this will lead to breakage as well as scalp irritation. Too many women have become accustomed to painful experiences when having braids or extensions put in. The truth is, pain isn't a default when it comes to protective hairstyles. In fact, this is often an indicator that the tracks have been placed too tightly.

Stick with a stylist who knows their way around braids. If you really want to indulge your lovely locks, get a deep conditioning treatment prior to installing your new style. Not only will this nourish and hydrate your hair, but deep conditioning is the best way to clear away buildup prior to styling.

Don't Neglect Daily Hair Care

Protective hairstyles are great for keeping your natural hair growing and glowing, but that doesn't mean we can neglect our daily hair care routine completely. Extensions do offer a low maintenance approach to styling, however, it's important not to skimp on taking care of our own beautiful locks. A mindful shampoo and conditioning routine is essential for ensuring a protective hairstyle serves its function by allowing your own hair to stay super soft, healthy, and damage-free.

Consider adapting your at-home natural hair care routine to suit your specific needs. This means prioritizing scalp care during shampooing and conditioning treatments. Type 3 hair and Type 4 hair are generally more prone to dandruff. If you find that your skin type also falls on the more oily end of the spectrum, chances are your scalp is producing extra sebum too. Braids, twists, and updos can cause added stress on the skin leading to an overproduction of sebum in response.

Combat buildup by opting for shampoos that are clarifying rather than simply marketed as dandruff free. Most commercial formulas are not tailored to natural hair types and contain ketoconazole and zinc pyrithione. Opt for sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner instead. Avoid harsh additives like parabens known to stress out the scalp. Replace these nasties with soothing botanicals like glycolic and salicylic acid. You might be familiar with these natural exfoliants in many popular skincare formulas. Plant-derived ingredients are also great for hair, possessing natural antifungal properties for optimal scalp health and wellness. Try filling a spray bottle with a mix of tea tree and coconut oil for a quick spritz after a long workout.

An easy at-home natural hair care routine to stick by is the 1-2-3 system. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion. On days when your hair and scalp need a little extra love, throw in some deep moisturizing serums and leave-in conditioner specifically formulated to be gentle on protective hairstyles.

Focus on Targeted Scalp Care

In addition to your standard beauty routine, focus on scalp specific skincare for maintaining a protective hairstyle. Our scalps regularly shed and replace healthy skin cells. Just like maintaining a glowing complexion, achieving clear skin takes intentional care. Many holistic skincare lovers opt for products like tea tree oil to use alongside a once-weekly shampoo and conditioning routine. The all-natural astringent properties in tea tree oil scrub away dead skin cells and promote the renewal of healthy skin and hair follicles, ultimately allowing your natural mane to grow.

On off days where you're allowing your scalp to rest in between shampooing and conditioning, invest in a high-quality dry shampoo. Products infused with argan and coconut oil are best for maintaining a sleek, shiny style without over-processing your scalp. If you're planning to spend a lot of time in the sun, grab an SPF enriched hair protectant to avoid the after sun effects of harsh UV rays.
With a little extra TLC, your scalp will hold any style imaginable with flexibility and grace.

Dry, Don't Fry

One of the biggest rules of a mindful beauty routine is mastering the art of simplicity. This means doing as little to your hair as possible while still enjoying the styles you love. Excessive heat treating, chemical straightening, and harsh curling techniques that pull and tug on the hair shaft can quickly become a literal headache.

Sensitive scalps do best with a gentle, holistic hair care routine that works with your natural hair type and texture rather than against it. RevAir's reverse-air hairdryer is changing the way we style, sculpt, and shape our lovely locks. The classic hairdryer and straightener routine isn't tailored to all hair types. In fact, most beauty gurus find that straighteners and curling irons only work for a select few.

With a beauty community as diverse and colorful as the myriad of styles that inspire us, it's time we discovered a sleeker way to do hair. The power and flexibility of RevAir's quick, easy technology allow you to create amazing looks without frying your scalp. Excessive heat causes flaking and breakage, while reverse-air gently shapes and smooths hair as you style. Most traditional hairdryers apply high heat directly to the scalp. This gives us that after styling itch and discomfort that many of us have come to dread. Low heat styling is quick and effective, without unwanted irritation. Best of all, RevAir saves time with innovative root to end drying technology.

Wear it up, wear it down, and love every minute of your hairstyle journey.

It's time to leave the headache behind and start enjoying your beautiful hair. A healthy scalp routine makes a world of difference when it comes to maintaining protective hairstyles without compromising natural hair health. Join the healthy hair family today and get more news and updates from our glam fam at RevAir.

Looking for more fabulously natural hair tips? Check out 6 Awesome DIY Edge Control Recipes for Curly Hair.