How To Properly Prep Your Natural Hair For A Protective Style

It's important to properly prep your natural hair before protective styling to avoid damaged tresses. Not sure how? Welcome to Protective Style Prep 101!

Protective Style Prep 101

We are going to see an early Spring according to Staten Island Chuck. But Old Man Winter ain’t packing up his bags and leaving tomorrow. So it’s still protective style season. It’s important to properly prep your natural hair before protective styling to avoid damaging your tresses. Not exactly sure how to prep your hair? No worries. Welcome to Protective Style Prep 101!


To start your protective style prep, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove any product build up and thoroughly cleanse your scalp. You want your hair to be squeaky clean. I like to use SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo or their African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo. Both cleanses good without completely stripping hair.

Deep Condition

Next you want to use a good deep conditioning treatment. I highly suggest one that combines both protein and moisture like the ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner. It’s available in convenient, single use packs. The balance of protein and moisture will ensure that your hair is strong and healthy, reducing shedding and breakage.


You want your hair to be well moisturized prior to installing your protective style, especially if you’re using faux hair. Faux hair tends to constantly suck all moisture out of natural hair. After deep conditioning, apply a water based leave-in treatment such as Camille Rose Coconut Water Leave-In, and lock it in with an oil. I use Virgin Coconut Oil.

Blowout & Trim

Your hair should be in the healthiest condition when installing a protective style. So if you’re in need of a trim, do it beforehand. Apply a heat protector such as ORS Black Olive Oil Repair 7 Leave-In Conditioner to the hair, and blow dry on low to medium heat. Blow drying allows you to get a more accurate trim, and it stretches out your hair which makes installing your protective style easier. You kill two birds with one stone.

Now that you’ve taken Protective Style Prep 101, check out my post on 3 Products to Keep Your Hair & Scalp Healthy While Protective Styling. For Protective style ideas, see my Goddess Locs, Marley Twists and Box Braids Tutorials!

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