Natural Hair Uganda Blog

Resource for natural hair care, maintenance and growth in Uganda



February 2015



How to Safely take down a Protective Style

Written by , Posted in Protective Style, Regimen, Tutorials

We’ve all been there… You rocked a lovely head of braids as your protective style but they have reached their sell by date… Your roots are beginning to tangle and knot up but you are still holding on tenaciously because you are afraid to take down the protective style.

Only time and patience will get you successfully through the process. But first things first…. if you’d like to safely take down a protective style, you’ve got some work to do while your hair is still braided.

Moisturizing Hair in a Protective Style

Neglecting your hair will lead to dry under moisturized hair and build-up, the combination of the two will lead to matting and tangled roots. Avoid this by regularly moisturizing your hair with a basic mix of water and oils, or could add essential oils, aloe vera juice to boost growth and to condition the hair.

Combat Buildup

Build up can be avoided by regularly cleaning the scalp. Most people find that shampooing hair in braids leaves their hair more tangled but there is a simpler more effective method to strip dirt and build up from your scalp and roots.

  1. I present Apple Cider Vinegar, the gentle clarifier.
    • Simply add 2 cups of warm water to 1 cup of apple cider vinegar,dip a clean towel in the solution(don’t wring out all the liquid) and gently cleanse the scalp.
    • Not only does the apple cider vinegar remove build-up but it also banishes dandruff, itchy scalps and the odours that come with them.
    • You can also add it to your moisturizing daily spritz for all the mentioned advantages.
  2. Another great build up buster is witch hazel which you can add to your solution to eliminate build-up.
  3. Or you could buy a dry shampoo a common one is the Organic Root Stimulator dry shampoo that is ideal protective styles.

Protective Style Take Down

Once you have picked a day to take down the protective style, gather all the items you will need to make the process go faster.

Through trial and error and lots of tears I have discovered that a detangler is a crucial tool for the take down and for this purpose the DIY variety tends to be more effective than the store bought variety.

Jenell Stewart of KinkyCurlyCoilyMe has had me hooked with her simple but effective mix of conditioner, warm water and oil. Along the way I discovered that adding apple cider vinegar to the mix makes the process even simpler.

  1. Start out by cutting the braids a couple of inches further from the point where your own hair ends.
  2. Then saturate the braided hair with your detangling mix.
  3. Let it seep in and marinate for 20 minutes before you start to take them down.
    • The detangling mix softens while providing slip and you will notice that the braids slide off effortlessly.
  4. As you finish each section, spray more of the detangler and twist it in a loose twist.
  5. When you are done un-braiding the entire head, cover it up with a plastic cap and let it stew for an hour then proceed to gently finger detangle;
    • the process will be a breeze especially if you have a generous dash of Apple cider vinegar in the mix.
  6. For hair that is horribly tangled simply let it do its work overnight. I promise that the results will astonish you!
    • Always remember to first finger detangle before you introduce any tool.
  7. Once the hair has been detangled, you can proceed with the cleansing process. I recommend a good cleansing agent to strip all the accumulated build-up;
    • a sulphate free shampoo or co-washing won’t cut it, you need all that gunk gone!
    • No worries the detangling mix will have acted as your pre-poo.
  8. When your hair is clean you can effectively assess if it needs a strengthening deep conditioner or a moisturizing one.

When I was still relaxed the lady in my salon used to apply the protein deep conditioner and let it steam for 15 minutes before layering on the moisturizing deep conditioner, this made sure that the strands stayed strong and moisturized.

It is recommended that after coming out of a protective style that has lasted 6 weeks and more, you should allow your hair to breathe before embarking on another braiding or weaving session. Nonstop protective styling will wreck your hairline and compromise the tensile strength of your hair.

What are your tips and tricks to safely take down a protective style?

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