Protective styles are a way to make your mornings faster and easier or protect hair that is dry or damaged. It’s also a fun way to mix things up! Here are a few do’s and don’ts to ensure protective styles for kids look their best and keep their hair healthy.
Do Prep Their Hair Before You Style
Your child’s hair needs to be cleansed and moisturized before putting it into a protective style, so plan to style accordingly. Shampoo twice with a Curly Kids Shampoo, then deep condition. You can do this by keeping your Curly Kids Conditioner on for up to 15 minutes before rinsing it out. If they are young and too wiggly for deep conditioning, apply a Leave-In Curly Kids Conditioner instead. Make sure their hair is fully detangled before you get started. You may also want to oil their scalp.
Don’t Forget To Make It Fun For Your Little One
If they are old enough, get them as involved in the process as possible. Head online and browse hairstyles together. Point out protective styles you see in magazines, on TV, and while out and about. Let them select the hair accessories they will wear with their protective style, and make sure they have plenty of options to switch things up if switching accessories is possible with the style they’ve selected. Here are some cute protective styles for young children.
Do Use Product While You Style
What kind of product you use and how much will depend on their hair texture and type and their protective style. The most important part is that you select a water-based product designed for curly hair. This will minimize build-up within twists and braids, and it will ensure that the product is gentle and moisture-rich. As always, it must be a product designed for the unique needs of naturally curly hair.
Don’t Style Too Tight
It’s tempting, especially because you want their hairstyle to last at least 4 weeks, but don’t braid or twist their hair too tightly. Not only will this be uncomfortable for your child, likely leaving them with a headache for a day or two, but it can damage their hair follicles leading to breakage. Some breakage may not be noticeable until you take it down. However, some damaged hair strands will start popping out from their braids and will be noticeable quite rapidly.
Do Go To A Salon If It’s Easier
Whether you find protective styling to be a challenge, want to try a style that is more intricate than you can tackle solo, or your schedule is full—don’t be shy about getting help. Ask a friend or head schedule with a salon that specializes in both protective styles and working with children. In fact, going to a salon may be faster and easier even if you are confident styling your child’s hair. Do what is easiest for you and your child.
Don’t Forget To Wrap Their Hair
Wrapping their hair while they sleep will help to keep their hairstyle looking its best for as long as possible. A scarf or head wrap is ideal, but if they are young and won’t keep it on, just use a sleep bonnet. Also, keep a beauty pillowcase on their pillow in case the scarf, wrap, or bonnet falls off. Yes, you must use these even when their hair isn’t in a protective style. But while braided, twisted, or in a specialty style, it will keep frizz and matting to a minimum. Don’t forget to put on a fun shower cap while they are bathing.
Do Shampoo And Condition
Daily care is fast and easy. Just style the edges and smooth out fuzzy areas with cream or gel. Use a leave-in conditioner or the LOC method every other day to keep their hair nourished and moisturized. However, you still need to shampoo and condition most protective styles. Shampoo braids every two weeks to cleanse dirt, sweat, and grime that builds up. Focus heavily on the scalp, pressing the shampoo gently into their braids. It will take a bit longer to rinse the shampoo out. Wrap their hair in a microfiber towel for at least 5 minutes, gently pat dry, and apply a leave-in conditioner. Always shampoo and condition in the morning so that your child’s hair has time to dry before bedtime.
Don’t Leave Their Style In For Too Long
Kids are active and they may not keep their scarf or head wrap on at night. This means their protective style may only last 3 or 4 weeks before it begins to mat. So, keep a close eye on how healthy their hair looks. Sometimes this means you won’t be able to keep their hairstyle in as long as you would like. Just focus on keeping their natural hair healthy.
Do Take Your Time During Takedown
Rushing takedown can damage your child’s hair, so take your time and be gentle. Even though you’ve applied oil and conditioner every other day or so, some of the inner areas of their hairstyle may be dry. While you don’t want their hair to be soaking wet while you take it down, you can use a spray bottle with leave-in conditioner. Mix 3 tablespoons of conditioner with 1 ¼ cup of water. Spray each section at a time or just the sections that are tangled or matted. Shampoo and deep condition once complete.
Don’t Repeat The Same Protective Style Without A Break
Yes, you can go quickly from one protective style to the next, but don’t repeat the same style back to back. For example, you can style their hair in braids, and put it right back in braids a day or two later. However, the second braided style needs to be parted and braided in different areas. This will minimize breakage that can occur from repetitive hairstyles. However, the same is true for daily non-protective styling. Mix up where you part their hair, place their ponytail, and where and how you braid and twist.
As always, Fro Babies Hair has you covered with everything you need to keep your child’s natural hair looking its best!