A protective hairstyle is one that shields the hair, especially the ends, and guards against over-manipulation, chemical and environmental damage.

The ends are usually the most fragile because they endure the most mechanical action, such as combing, brushing, blow-drying and heat-styling.

Protective styling is imperative during winter because the cold weather can be very drying on hair, leading to breakage. They also advisable if you’re trying to grow your relaxed hair because they allow you to stretch your relaxer time. This means you accumulate more regrowth, so there’s less chance of overlapping relaxers (relaxing previously relaxed hair) because there’s a distinct line between the regrowth and relaxed part of the hair.

READ MORE: Natural hairstyles for an interview

Before installing braids or any protective style…

Whether relaxed or natural, before installing any style, you need to make sure that your hair and scalp are in the best possible condition so that it can handle the styling processes. If the hair is weak or damaged, rather focus on strengthening and replenishing your natural hair by doing treatments that will address your specific hair needs before.

For best results, try to deal with any issues at least two weeks before you installing your style. This includes trimming your hair if necessary to remove unhealthy split ends and to give your hair a break from any sort of pulling or manipulation.

We love the Ruutos Restorative hair mask as it deeply moisturises, strengthens and repairs hair with cocoa butter, coconut, avocado and jamaican black castor oil, macadamia nut oil, aloe vera and jasmine extract.

READ MORE: Wash day after protective styling


  • A water based product like the Earthy Moisture Mist is ideal when wearing a protective style. Mist the roots and length of the hair and seal with an oil.
  • The Native Child Whipped Shea Butter Cream is infused with 100% avocado oil & aloe vera gel, guaranteeing  moisture and growth. Remember to not only moisturise the scalp but also the length of the hair.
  • Head & Shoulders Instant Relief Spray. This relief spray is the ultimate lifesaver – for real! It immediately freshens the scalp the menthol formula, relieving it from the constant urge to scrach and pat.
  • Black Pearl Oil blend. I really love the fact that this oil is in a spray container – whether you’re in cornrows or a weave, it easily penetrates ensuring the scalp is moisturised. It also locks in moisture, absorbs easily and isn’t heavy on hair.