For those of you who take maintaining healthy hair very seriously (like myself) it is important to take a few extra steps when using any type of heat or styling manipulation. We work so hard to take care of our hair in it’s natural state, so it would truly suck to damage the hair simply because you didn’t simple steps to care for it while applying heat. Heat damage in any amount, believe it or not, can happen in just one use. It differs with hair type but it is better to assume that you don't have the type of hair that can withstand heat completely. I know from experience that my hair can damage easily, so I do my best to prevent that. After trying many different techniques and products, this is the routine that I swear by to prep my hair for protective styling while also preventing heat damage during the blow drying process. This will work well to prep the hair before any protective style that requires the hair to be blown out first including: braids, weaves, twists, havana twists, fake dreads, and the list goes on. I promise you will see a difference in how well your hair bounces back and a significant decrease in excessive shedding post protective style!
1. Clarify the Hair
Before going to get a protective style, it is very important to make sure the hair is completely clean and free from any product build up or scalp dandruff. Assuming that you want to keep your protective style in as long as possible, going in with a clean plate will extend the amount of time you may have to apply any product to the hair or wash it while in the protective style. I love using this Shea Moisture African Water Mint & Ginger Shampoo.
This shampoo optimizes scalp conditions for healthy, manageable hair. It's Shea Moisture so you already know it's enriched with Certified organic Shea Butter. The African Water Mint, Activated Charcoal, Ginger and Opuntia Extract all work together in a revitalizing formula that removes all impurities and buildup while soothing the scalp. It's the perfect first step for this technique.
2. Condition & Detangle The Hair
After using a clarifying shampoo, it is important to replace any moisture you may have lost in the hair with a moisturizing conditioner. The shampoo I mentioned above never leaves my hair feeling super dry, but I still like to follow up with a conditioner to add moisture and to make my detangling process a lot easier. Detangling the hair thoroughly before going in with a blow dryer will significantly decrease the amount of breakage or shedding you may have. It also makes it a lot easier to apply the proceeding products.
My favorite conditioner for detangling the hair is the Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. Not only does it feel extremely invigorating and refreshing on the scalp, it also has a lot of slip and makes the detangling process super easy. I call this conditioner the “detangler for lazy naturals” because it’s so easy to work with and literally cuts detangling time in half. Plus, it will only run you about 4$ at your local Trader Joes.
3. Deep Condition & Oil Treat The Scalp
This is probably the MOST important step. First things first, let's discuss the hot oil treatment. This is a easy DIY mixture of Jamaican black castor oil, virgin coconut oil, olive oil, and peppermint oil. Sometimes I warm this up in the microwave, but because I usually use a plastic cap, this isn’t necessary. I apply this to my scalp in sections massaging it in very well to make sure it deeply penetrates. The reason I do this is to moisturize and neutralize my scalp to prevent it from drying out too quick while in the protective style. I have very dry scalp that can get itchy, so this step really helps to prevent that from happening too early.It also stimulates hair growth which is good for before you seal your hair up into a protective style. You don’t want to apply an oil to your scalp after you’ve blow dried or right before you go in to get your protective style, because most stylist prefer the hair to be dry and not overly coated with an oil. It makes the hair slippery and harder to work with. This technique is a good alternative technique because the oil will be rinsed out along with the deep conditioner, but the scalp will remain extremely hydrated.
With that being said, I simultaneously apply my deep conditioner just to kill two birds with one stone (as shown in video below) This Carol’s Daughter Cupuacu Anti-Frizz Hair Mask IS A MUST before you apply heat to your hair!!! Frizz-resisting Cupuaçu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) is a rare butter—harvested only once a year in the Amazon Rain Forest. Let me be the first to tell you that it instantly does
exactly what it claims on the jar: silkens and perfects dry, unruly, frizz-prone hair- stopping frizz for several days. Not only does it fight frizz, but it also has strand-strengthening Vegetable Proteins which acts as a heat protectant and tames even the coarsest hair for healthy smoothness. I use this product whenever I apply any heat to my hair and, for straight styles, it really makes a difference in how long yours style lasts. For blow drying purposes, it simply makes the blow drying process 10x easier and prevents heat damage.You will see a tremendous difference in your hair if you use this before applying heat I promise!
4. Apply Heat Protectant
This is the last step I take to prep my hair for the heat. I love this Jamaican Black Castor Oil Thermal Protectant by Shea Moisture. Nutrient-rich Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Kertain Protein used in the formulation of this styling spray contains reparative omegas which repair AND protect curls and coils, increases the hair's resistance to breakage and reduces hair shedding. Certified organic Shea Butter (of course) blended into this nourishing hair treatment provides a lot of moisture to transform unmanageable coils into soft, smooth hair. It makes my hair instantly feel stronger after applying it which gives me the confidence to go in the with blow drier with no problems. I usually section my hair off as i apply this to make it easier when I get to the blow drying step (as shown in video below). I ONLY use this when i'm ONLY blow drying my hair; it is very heavy and will weigh my hair down too much if I wanted to straighten it. I use a different heat protectant if I were to straighten my hair.
5. Blow Dry In Sections
To be honest, I do not have a fancy shmancy blow drier. I rarely blow dry my hair so as long as the blow drier gets my hair blown out, I could care less about how high-tech it is. This is a general blow drier that I randomly purchased from Walmart when I realized I left my usual blow drier at home (which is also a generic blow drier.) I believe the brand is "Aila Ali" simply because that's what it says on the front (so don't quote me on the exact name). It gets the job done as you can see in the video below, so that's all that matters. I always blow dry in sections because its pretty impossible to just pull this thing through my hair. Blow drying in sections also unnecessary reduces breakage.
BLOW DRY ROUTINE | Prepping Natural Hair For Protective Styles (Weaves, Braids, Wigs, ect.)