Quick and Simple Guide to Cleaning Your Hair In a Protective Style

Hair Braids Type 4

Many of our naturalistas love rocking protective styles for their low-maintenance upkeep and versatility. It's true that braids, locs, cornrows, and more creative natural hair trends are a great way to keep your hair healthy while saving time on your morning hair care routine. Types 3 & 4 hair are best suited for a protective style as these bold, dynamic looks allow your curls to flourish. That means less battling your curls in the morning and more loving your glowing locks. 

However, stunning style is only as incredible as the home haircare routine behind the look. Don't write off haircare completely when it comes to rocking braids. Protective styles require their own unique upkeep and care. 

Protective hairstyles can still be simple and easy with a healthy hair schedule for washing, clarifying, conditioning, and dazzling! Learn more about caring for hair in a protective style and get inspired to design a home haircare routine that works for you.

Healthy Scalp = Healthy Hair

Fabulous hair starts at the scalp.

Protective hairstyles may look amazing, but heavy braids and locs can weigh you down without a proper scalp care routine. The tension and pressure from your faux hair pulling on your scalp can cause irritation and itchiness and even damage your hair at the root - making it harder to grow your hair out to a healthy length. Lack of regular shampooing leads to build-up and can add to itchiness. Without a solid clarifying regimen, problems can develop that range from dandruff and oily hair to eczema and psoriasis. All that stress can cause breakage of your natural hair underneath the faux fashion.

Take a deep breath. Relax and revive your scalp by nourishing the hair you love. 

Start by modifying your routine for cleaning your scalp in a protective style. Exfoliation is key for maintaining a healthy scalp. After all, we wouldn't neglect our skincare routine, so why ignore our scalp?

Implement a DIY scalp scrub no more than 1-2 times per week. Avoid overdoing your cleansing routine and keep it simple with hair healthy products. You may be surprised to learn many of the best ingredients for scalp health are already in your cupboard. Tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, avocado and jojoba oil, soothing oatmeal, and more are the perfect ingredients for a scalp cleanse. On off days, give your scalp a gentle massage to get the blood circulation flowing.

Opt for lukewarm or cold water over hot. Hot water strips away your skin's moisture, just like a hot bath leaving your fingers and toes prune and dry. Don't let your hair suffer the same fate! Finish your shower routine by letting your hair dry naturally in its protective style. Most beauty gurus don't have time to let their curls air dry. In fact, waiting for Type 4 hair to dry can feel a lot like watching wallpaper peel. Opt for a low-heat alternative like our RevAir reverse air hair dryerThe gentle, heat and chemical-free technology dries hair three times faster than a traditional hairdryer without unwanted scalp irritation, and the mouth of the Wand is large enough to use on braids, twists and locs. 

Learn more about mastering the RevAir technique for a healthy scalp and flourishing natural hair.

Time Your Wash Days to Suit Your Schedule

The debate over whether or not to wash your hair while it's in a protective style, how often to wash it, and what products to use is a hot topic in the natural hair community. We believe the only thing hot and sizzling on the natural hair scene should be your hair. Everyone has their own unique curly hair routine that works best for their lifestyle and hair goals.

This low-maintenance guide to washing hair in protective styles can fit any schedule. There's no wrong way to work this great cleansing ritual into your week! Remember; consistency is key when it comes to maintaining healthy hair. Enjoy vibrant curls with these nourishing, budget-friendly, and simple ingredients. Find the routine that works for you - standard advice is to wash your hair in a protective style about every other week, but you may find that your hair responds best when washed more frequently or less frequently. Listen to your scalp! In between washes, use a leave-in mist to refresh your scalp and keep it moisturized.

The Shampoo

The most important ingredient to look for in a good shampoo is what your formula doesn't have. Steer clear of sulfates, parabens, and alcohol. These ingredients can dry out your locks fast. It's best to opt for an all-natural shampoo designed with curly hair in mind. Once you've found your perfect shampoo match, blend together equal parts shampoo, warm water, and oil (coconut, jojoba, argan, or avocado works great!). The final product might look a bit like your morning smoothie, but we promise it's great for your hair.

The Conditioner

Conditioner is the cherry on top of the perfect beauty routine. Opt for a conditioner that's rich in proteins such as collagen and extra hydrating for curly hair. Next, repeat the product + warm water + oil process in a spray bottle for a lightweight, soothing spray-on formula that you can use between washes.

The Extra

It's okay to be extra sometimes. Design your own DIY leave-in conditioner for protective hairstyles by combining water, leave-in conditioner, oil, and scented essential oil of choice in a spray bottle. This blend is perfect for a post-gym refresh or a thrice-weekly bedtime conditioning treatment for your hair.

When it comes to the technique, dividing and conquering are best. Section your braids before washing. Next, dip your hair in warm water up to the cuticles and spray the shampoo cocktail directly onto your roots and scalp. Massage the mixture gently through and squeeze the shampoo down your braid. Rinse and get ready to condition.

The easiest way to condition hair in a protective style is to apply the conditioner liberally, then tie your hair up and cover it with a shower cap or plastic bag. Let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes under a towel or wool hat to keep your curls warm and nourished. Rinse with cool water, preferably bottled to avoid hard, mineral-dense water damage, and dry lightly with a microfiber towel (or your RevAir reverse air hairdryer!).

Add leave-in conditioner at the end of your routine, wrap in a silk or satin scarf (pro tip: this reduces the rate at which water evaporates from the hair and makes your curls smoother!), and apply extra oil to your scalp to reduce dryness. 

The frequency of your wash days will depend on your activity levels, hair type, and schedule. As a rule of thumb, most experts recommend washing your hair biweekly while rocking a protective style. Mark your hair days on your calendar so you never miss a selfie!


Hydration Means Perfection for Protective Styles

The power of a consistent moisturizing routine cannot be undervalued. We've already addressed how to best utilize conditioner and moisturizing hair oil for your braids, cornrows, or locs, however, protecting your hair after styling is just as important in the natural hair journey. 

To preserve your hair's moisture, you'll want to be extra careful when out and about. Always apply sun protectant spray to your hair during the summer months. Exposure to harsh UV rays is one of the quickest ways to strip moisture from your curls, creating frizz and breakage. You can still rock your protective style at the pool, but try to avoid chlorine and harsh chemicals as much as possible.

As you might have guessed, dry air and low humidity is the second most notorious enemy of flawless hair. Protective hairstyles are a great way to keep your natural curls in great shape over the winter months. However, shielding your hair with a scarf, wrap, or hat adds an extra layer of protection from the elements. After all, we layer up to keep warm, so why not give our hair a little extra security during the chilly days ahead? Your curls deserve to feel cozy too when the weather turns dry.

Taking the extra time to keep your hair well-hydrated is a fantastic way to save time when it comes to cleaning your hair in a protective style. In fact, you may find that your hair is less compromised during wash days, softer and more flexible, and stays frizz-free longer for those awkward in-between washes moments. Add in a good clarifying routine to reduce build-up and your curls will thrive.

Looking for more curly hairstyle inspo? Find out what the hottest trends for protective hairstyles have to offer with these dazzling 10 Protective Styles to Try This Summer. Remember; protective styles are versatile! Don't be afraid to switch it up and try new, bold trends. Our team at RevAir is here to support you in every step of your natural hair journey. Contact our team of Advisors to learn more about home hair care tips and how the RevAir can improve your routine!