Texture Talk: Caring For Your Scalp While in a Protective Style

Welcome to Texture Talk, a column that celebrates and deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls that are free flowing to strands that are tucked away in a protective style.

Kenisha Alexander

Date November 11, 2021

Winter is coming, which means the season for protective hairstyles is also upon us. The best part? These styles are set-it-and-forget-it. However, while its relatively easy to maintain these looks, its important to stay on top of daily dirt and build up, especially as you look to remove your style and get your hair back into shape. Here, we show you how to care for your scalp while sporting your favourite protective hairstyle — and ditch dirt for good on the other side.

Daily maintenance is key 
When polishing up your protective hairstyle on the daily, try to refrain from using gel or other products on the baby hairs around your hairline more than twice a week, and for the days that a little extra care is a must, use a water-based formula whenever possible. The steam from your shower allows it to evaporate easily, which will leave you with less build-up in the long run.  For the days you can’t help but feel a little less than fresh, try a little “lift-and-shake.” Use your favourite metal hair pick to get to the root of your style, and move the comb in and out to help lift some of the dirt and dead skin cells. Set that stuff free by tipping your head upside down and using your hands to shake it away.

Soften and detangle your natural hair
Immediately after removing your braids, weave or any other protective style, the first thing you’ll likely notice is an unfortunate ring of dust that has accumulated near your scalp. If you’ve been rocking braids with extensions, it’ll likely be most visible where the extension meets your natural hair. Immediately after taking out your extensions, begin the clean-up process by softening. A great DIY method is an apple cider vinegar solution. Simply mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the areas in question.

Prepare for wash day

You’re probably itching to wash your hair at this point, but first you’re going to want to detangle your strands to remove the knots that have undoubtedly accumulated whilst in a protective style. Using a pre-shampoo treatment, such as this prebiotic one, will not only make the detangling process a breeze, but also work to start cleansing away dirt. After detangling, a little extra TLC for your scalp will go a long way. Try an exfoliating treatment to help further remove build-up and balance your scalp environment, which are key to healthy hair growth.

Time to lather up
Finally, it’s your shampoo’s time to shine. Hit the shower with a cleansing and hydrating shampoo that will not only help to free your hair of any remaining dirt and oil, but also keep it soft and manageable with hydrating ingredients such as shea butter, aloe vera, glycerin and jojoba oil.