8 Mistakes You Didn't Know You Were Making With Your Protective Style

It's okay, though — just follow these tips and tricks.

Ahh, the beauty of Black hair.

Whether it's head-turning twist-outs or sexy silk presses, there is so much we can do with our hair. However, after lots of manipulation or exposure to heat, it's always a good idea to give your hair a break.

"A protective style [is installed] so you don't have to heat style your natural hair daily or weekly. [Your hair will] grow at its best potential while switching up hairstyles that are either wigs, weaves, twists or box braids," shares Alan Fretias stylist at Warren Tricomi.

Dark skinned person with their natural hair braided, wearing colorful earrings and holding flowers
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However, when you have a protective style, it's important that you still care for your natural hair too, since there are mistakes we make that can actually combat the benefits of having a protective hairstyle.

Here, Fretias shares the top right mistakes you didn't know you were making with your protective style.

Skipping Wash Days

This is probably the number one rule when it comes to protective styling. So let's go ahead and disband the rumor that states you don't need to care for your natural hair when you have in a weave.

"Your shampoo, condition, and deep conditioning treatments are crucial weekly," says Fretias. "A healthy clean scalp equals a healthy hair follicle leading to healthy hair growth and longer hair." If you are worried about your braids frizzing or need to access in between your parts, try African Pride Braid & Scalp Cleansing Rinse — it cleanses and removes build-up while soothing your scalp and preventing frizz.

Back-to-Back Styles

Back-to-back box braids? Girl, let your hair breathe.

"Every two to three months you should break from your protective hairstyle," the stylist shares. "[Preform] a proper cleanse and deep conditioning treatments for at least a month [before attempting a new style]."

When removing your protective style try Curls Hair Under There Detox Tea Cleanser. It will give your scalp a refresh and a deep cleanse, which is needed after weeks of protective styling. Also, try Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Hair Mask to help restore moisture to your curls and coils.

Putting Too Much Tension on Your Natural Hair

"You should leave your natural hair as is if it's too fine or fragile for braids," states Fretias. Otherwise, protective styles and tension of any kind can actually tug at your hair and cause more hair loss and thinning.

"Stick to more natural hair ingredients full of moisture like avocados, olive oils, honey, and eggs," says Fretias. "The best stuff for hair has an expiration!"

Forgetting Your Nighttime Routine

No baby girl, don't just pass out after a long day at work or a night of partying. You have to make sure you have all the right nighttime essentials to ensure your hair stays moisturized and frizz-free.

"Nighttime routine is super important and cotton pillowcases are not for hair — instead, use silk pillowcases and bonnets," Fretias recommends. If you can't afford silk, satin is a great substitute and has the same properties as silk. They are both good for your hair, having breathable fabrics that are less absorbent, which allows the moisture to stay on your strands, not the pillowcase.

Ignoring Your Scalp

"Protective styles get itchy and dry when not moisturized daily. The best way to combat this is by using a natural oil daily to alleviate the scalp from itchiness and dryness," shares Fretias. Inject your hair with some hydration with Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum.

Foregoing Regular Trims

In the quest for hair length, a big mistake people make with protective styles is neglecting regular trims. "You should be getting a trim every six to 10 weeks," says Fretias.

Leaving Your Protective Style in Too Long

Fresh braids are cute. Super old braids are not. Leaving braids in for longer than they are supposed to be is a major no-no, and common mistake curly girls make with their protective styles.

"Leaving your braids in for too long can cause build-up and tangles, which leads to hair becoming or getting damaged when being taken out," explains Fretias. If you do misstep. then try Dark & Lovely Detangling Cream — with peppermint and avocado oil, it loosens product build-up and helps the takedown process.

Not Using the Right Products

When you have a protective hairstyle, you must focus on hydration and scalp health. Pay attention to what's in the products you are using, knowing that the products that are first are the most concentrated in the formula. "Stay away from silicones," warns Fretias. "Silicones create a great slip, protective barrier from heat styling, but over time it leads hair to become brittle, broken, and dry. It suffocates the follicle from not allowing moisture into [the hair follicle and strands.]" Fretias highly recommends hyaluronic acids as it's "wonderful for moisture." Give Monat Advanced Hydrating Haircare a try. One of the first hair care brands to experiment with hyaluronic acid for hair, this shampoo and conditioner set will saturate your strands with hydration, leaving it moisturized, soft, and healthy.

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.

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