Rocking Protective Hairstyles for long

Ways to Make Protective Hairstyles Last Longer.

We all want our protective hairstyles to last long while keeping our hair healthy, growing and retaining as much length as possible. If you have thick 4C natural hair like yours truly, sometimes you just want to take a break from styling and caring for it. That’s where protective hairstyles come in.

Feel like your hair has been the same length forever, I’ve an Ebook that will help you grow your hair healthier, longer and thicker. Grab your copy here… Also, check out all the Ebooks,guides and journals that will go a long way in your hair care journey here. Check out my downloadable store for conversation/ question cards here.

Protective hairstyles will not only give you the break you so much deserve but will help retain length by protecting your hair from the daily wear and tear. Natural hair needs a little more TLC and failure to which you may end up with stagnated length, crazy breakage and severe damage.

“Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.”

How to keep Protective Hairstyles longer

How to Keep your Protective Hairstyles Thriving for longer.

What are protective styles.

Protective hairstyles are simply styles that keep your hair protected from the daily manipulation and keep your ends tucked. One of the major reasons why protective hairstyles are important in your hair care journey is that they help retain length from your growth.

You can install protective hairstyles on your hair with or without extensions. Protective styles range from mini twists, flat twists, box braids, cornrows, faux Locs, natural hair braids, knotleds braids, natural hair twists, the list goes on and on.

As much as protective hairstyles give you a break from the daily manipulation, it doesn’t mean you neglect your hair altogether. Your hair still needs to be cared for even when in a protective hairstyle.

Long lasting Protective Hairstyles

How to prep your hair for protective hairstyles.

When installing a long term protective hairstyle, always start with clean hair. Don’t install a long term protective hairstyle on dirty hair with product build up unless you don’t mind an itchy, irritating scalp spiced up with flakes and dandruff.

Pre-poo and detangle.

Pre-poo is an optional step. Lately, I don’t Pre-poo because by the time I wash my hair it’s filled up with dirt, products and applying more products doesn’t make sense. I used to Pre-poo when I would wash my hair every two weeks (there was less product and dirt build up), now I cleanse monthly. For hair that feels super squeaky clean and dry after cleansing, consider using a pre- shampoo treatment .

Use pre- shampoo treatment that have a good slip to detangle, so you don’t have to use a detangler or a detangling conditioner. Get yourself either of these Pre-poo products that are also good detanglers.

To learn more about pre-pooing natural, check out this post.

If you choose to skip the prepoo part, use a detangling product with a good slip to detangle. Cleansing tangled and knotted hair isn’t a wise idea. Also, detangle from the ends and work up to the roots, the ends tangle and knot more and need extra attention and product for smooth detangling. Start off by using your fingers to separate the knots and comb through the hair then follow up with a wide tooth or detangling brush.

Related posts;

Keeping Natural Hair twists protective Hairstyles long lasting


The next step is to give your hair and scalp a deep and refreshing cleanse. The type of shampoo you use depends on the dirt and product accumulated on your hair and scalp. If you’ve had a long term style or it’s been a long minute since you washed your hair, consider a clarifying shampoo to break down all that build up leaving your hair and scalp clean. For less build up and high porosity hair, use a gentle cleanser or a moisturizing shampoo.

To get rid of all the build up, be sure to massage your scalp after the shampoo has lathered. Use the pads of your fingers or a scalp massager to breakdown the dirt and product build up. Also, don’t forget to shampoo your hair too, the oil and greasy feel got to go too.

Which clarifying and gentle cleansing/ sulphate shampoos, should you use?

Deep Conditioning

For me, learning about deep conditioning was a game changer. I noticed my curl pattern got more defined, the hair felt softer, there was less breakage and split ends. My hair always feel different when I skip the deep conditioning part of my wash day regimen. What I’m trying to say is, deep conditioning is one step you don’t want to skip especially if you’re planning to wear a protective hairstyle for a long period.

Deep conditioning restores elasticity, repairs damage, strengthens the hair and deep moisturizes the hair. There are two types of deep conditioners; moisture based deep conditioner (moisturizing deep conditioners) and protein based deep conditioner (protein treatments.) Lastly, there is a balanced deep conditioner that has both protein and moisturizing properties.

After cleansing, apply a moisturizing deep conditioner and if your hair needs a protein treatment, start with that then finish up with a moisturizing deep conditioners. You can also choose to use a balanced deep conditioner to be on the safe side. Always use heat when deep conditioning to infuse the good stuff into your strands and shaft.

Use these moisturizing deep conditioners for deep moisturized and soft hair

For protein treatments, these will help repair damage and strengthen your hair minimizing breakage

Keeping your protective styles looking fresh for long

Moisturizing and stretching

Dry hair is not acceptable when there are thousands of moisturizing products. Keep your hair moisturized always and never manipulate or style dry hair. By moisturized, I don’t mean wet hair. Your hair can be wet but not moisturized and moisturized by not wet. Catch up on a post on how to go from dry to moisturized hair in just minutes here.

Moisturize with your favorite leave-in conditioner, keep the moisture locked in by applying a butter or an oil. Lately, I rarely use sealants especially if the moisturizing product am using is creamy and thick. Have been loving African pride moisture miracle coconut oil and baobab oil leave-in cream, I don’t use any sealant and my hair stays moisturized for days. Catch a review of the leave-in cream on this post.

Some of the best moisturizing leave-in conditioners that will keep your hair moisturized, soft and define those coils and curls;

You may want to install protective hairstyles on stretched hair, gives more length to your style and minimizers the tangles. Stretch using heat tools or heatless methods like braids, banding and African threading. When using heat, a heat protectant will go a long way in minimizing chances of heat damage.

Related post; best heat protectants to keep heat damage away.

How to Keep your Protective Hairstyles Fresh Longer

The first step to keeping your protective hairstyles looking fresh for longer is by preping your hair for the style. Follow the steps above to prepare your hair for protective style.

Make sure your styles are held not too tight during installation. Tight hairstyles cause tension on your scalp and thinning edges. I know we all want neat hairstyles that will last long but neat doesn’t mean tightly held styles that give a headache and one can’t sleep.

When it comes to daily care routine, moisturize your protective style as you would moisturize your natural hair. Use moisturizing hair mists to refresh and moisturize your styles and use light oils to avoid product build-up.

Moisturizing hair mists for your Protective styles;

Best oil blends to use on your protective styles and scalp. Some promise growth stimulation

When sleeping, protect your style by wearing a silk or satin bonnet. Yes, even when wearing styles like knotless braids, faux, box braids, wear a satin. I know most bonnets are medium sized, made for just your hair but there are bigger and longer bonnets that can accommodate your box braids too.

Some of the bigger and longer bonnets that can accommodate those long and thick protective styles

I’m not a fan of washing protective style, I prefer taking them down than doing the whole wash day. I once had mini twists for about 6 weeks, had to wash them at some point. I shared all about it on this post, have a look at it. I would love to know if washing and conditioning your protective styles is part of your routine when rocking a protective hairstyle.

I would love to know how you keep your protective styles juicy and fresh for long.

Valerie Kinoti

Valerie Kinoti has loved all things hair since she was 8 and always dreamt of having long hair. Decades later she is living the long hair dream and sharing all tips, tricks she has learned over the years.