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Prepping Your Hair for Protective Styles 101

woman-with-protective-styles-while-walking-at-the-city

Protective styles are your secret to amazing hair, all day, every day. These unique looks protect your natural locks from harm while allowing you to express your creativity. Add length and volume with luxurious extensions, weave in vibrant fashion colors, and try different style palettes without the commitment of a permanent change. The RevAir community has all the inspiration you need to get started!

Of course, before you dive into the world of protective styles for natural hair, it's important to spend a little time discussing how to prep your hair. Think of protective style prep like applying primer before your makeup routine. To make the look pop, a solid base layer is key. This is especially vital for type 4c hair as 4c coily locks tend to require additional prep before installing a protective style.

While protective styles are a fantastic low-maintenance option for curly hair, doing a bit of prep can make your new style even more hassle-free and flawless. Learn how with RevAir.

Introducing Protective Styles for Natural Hair: What Are They and Why Do We Need to Prep?

Have you heard the term protective style tossed around in the natural hair community, but aren't quite sure what we mean when we talk about faux locks? That's okay! All of us were new to protective styles at one point. Once you discover the versatility and ease of maintaining your hair, we're sure you'll be a protective styling pro.

To get started, let's define what we mean by protective hairstyles. A protective style is when the ends of your natural hair are tucked away to keep them safe from exposure. Elements like UV rays from the sun, high-heat styling devices, constant manipulation, and seasonal changes in humidity can all negatively impact your hair's health. The weakest part of your hair is the end where the strands are oldest and most fragile. This is the part your protective style shields the most to promote natural hair growth.

Protective styles can be worn on natural or relaxed hair. Curl types 3 and 4 will especially enjoy the benefits of protective styles as a way to support edge control, fight frizz, and grow out natural curls. Many install protective styles just before the start of summer for low-maintenance hair care that will last all season long. Protective styles typically last between 6-8 weeks with proper care. 

Some of the most loved protective styles include:

  • Wigs
  • Cornrows
  • Twists
  • Pigtails
  • Buns
  • Updos
  • Bantu knots
  • Crochet braids
  • Weaves

In addition, low-tension hairstyles are a great option for supporting natural hair growth in type 4c hair. The pineapple protective style is a simple go-to look for combatting frizz and split ends while you continue to add length to your locks. Many of these styles can be paired with vibrant colors and accessories to take your look to the next level.

However, before you begin planning out your summer hair colors, understanding the benefits of prepping your hair is essential. Prepping for a protective style allows for an easy installation as well as healthy hair throughout the life of the style. Boost natural hair growth, restore shine and volume to your curls, and prep your locks to keep your curls at their best.

The Wash Day Routine: Everything You Need to Know for Protective Styling Prep

So you've selected the best protective style for your hair. Now it's time to learn how to properly wash and condition your hair before protective styling. Whether you're ready for a long-term protective style or a short-term protective style, the proper foundation will help you achieve your desired hair goals.

Start by working a clarifying routine into your natural hair care schedule. The purpose of incorporating cleansing shampoo before installing a protective style is to work through any leftover build-up or product residue. A good clarifying shampoo should be cleansing, but not drying. Focus on natural ingredients that are free of sulfates, parabens, and harsh additives. The best-clarifying shampoo ingredients include aloe, charcoal, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda. Work through your hair and scalp to refresh your locks and promote healthy circulation for your hair follicles.

4c Coily Hair

Protective style prep for 4c coily hair should include a robust deep conditioning regimen following cleansing. You'll want to use a conditioner that's rich, dense, and hydrating. We recommend sticking to natural-based products designed to penetrate the hair shaft for high-porosity curls. If you're working with wavy or less dense coils, you can opt for a more lightweight formula. While the deep conditioner treatment is working its magic, multitask by gently detangling your hair with a wet brush. The "slip" provided by the product will make it easier to glide through your soft tresses. This step minimizes breakage and hair loss while priming your curls for a protective style.

With refreshed and luxuriously soft hair, you can now seal the ends to lock in moisture. You'll do this by using a lightweight oil or butter such as coconut, jojoba, or argan. Apply the sealant from mid-length to ends, scrunch gently, and let your hair soak up the nourishment.

We recommend putting your curls into a pineapple protective style for bedtime. This style can be done on natural hair by gathering your hair into a high pony with a scrunchie at the base. With your hair neatly out of the way, you can toss and turn without fearing the frizz. Start prepping for a protective style now by treating your hair with extra love and gentleness throughout your daily routine.

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Tips and Tricks for Prepping Your Hair Before Installing a Protective Style

Learning a few extra healthy hair hacks can help prepare your curls for a protective style. Implementing these techniques boosts the benefits of a protective style and allows you to spend less time keeping up on your hair once installed. Check out these top tips from the experts at RevAir.

Trim Your Ends

Your hair should be at its best before installing a protective style. If you've been putting off getting that trim or trimming your ends yourself, now is the time to get rid of some of that extra weight. Your hair's old growth is at the end of the strand. This part of the hair is the first to split and fray, stalling new hair growth and creating dead weight. We recommend taking half an inch to an inch off your curls before putting them into a protective style.

Cleanse Your Scalp

Seasonal dryness can have a lasting impact on your scalp's health. Be sure you're starting with a fresh canvas before installing a protective hairstyle. Cleanse your scalp thoroughly using essential oils and a scalp brush to clear aware build-up and product residue. Build-up often clogs the hair follicle, leading to a pause in new hair growth. If your scalp has been feeling itchy, irritated, and inflamed, this is a sign that it's time to cleanse away toxins. A soothing moisturizer such as coconut butter can support moisture retention once you've finished clarifying. End the routine with a steam treatment to soften for a fresh, healthy scalp.

Go Low Tension

Has your hair recently been through frequent heat styling, chemical treatments, bleach, or colors? If your lovely locks aren't at their healthiest, it's a good idea to avoid heavy styles such as locs and box braids. One way to prep for a protective style is by researching low-tension styles in advance. Knotless braids and crochet locs are popular alternatives that are more gentle on the root. Consider your lifestyle when deciding on the style for your hair. If you're frequently active during the summer months, a low-tension protective style like a chignon twist will keep your curls out of the way and protected from the elements while you enjoy the most of each sunny day.

Stretch Your Hair

Are you looking to boost hair growth while rocking a protective style? Stretching your hair will make your natural curls more flexible during the installation process. The added elasticity allows your hair to be styled without as much pulling and tugging. The goal is to detangle, smooth, and lengthen in one step for optimal results. While many resort to using a blow dryer and comb to stretch their hair, our amazing RevAir device offers an efficient, low-heat alternative that won't fry your ends. Learn how to use your RevAir to prep your locks for a protective style. You can stretch, style, and prep in one simple, damage-free step.

Protective styles are a great way to enhance your natural hair. Faux locks can boost hair growth when installed correctly and -- with a little prep -- bring out the healthiest, most radiant version of your curls. 

So are you ready to get your summer style on? Reach out to our team for more tips and tricks on prepping your hair for a protective style with our amazing RevAir community.

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