Monday 11 March 2013

Protective/low manipulation styling

If I had to pick the two things that helped me achieve my goal, I would say:
- Proper combing and
- Protective styling

Before talking about the benefits of protective styling, let's look at some of the reasons we struggle with growing our hair long:

- Frequent combing:
Almost every time  you comb your hair, you cause damage. When you look at the teeth of your comb after combing your hair what do you see?  Hair. Some of the strands are from normal healthy shedding which is okay but more often than not majority of the strands caught in the teeth of your comb are broken strands. Broken strands are bad for more than one reason. First is the obvious fact that your once long strand is now shorter. Second is the fact that the hair strands left behind after breakage have ripped/jagged ends which causes them to eventually split. These split strands then wrap around other strands causing knots and tangles. Guess what happens the next time you comb your hair? Well, because of the knots and tangles, you break more strands, cause more split ends, more tangles... and the cycle continues.

- The elements
Wind, heat, cold weather, dry air etc affect the moisture levels of our hair. The number one requirement for preventing breakage in naturally curly/kinky/coily hair is MOISTURE. So keeping your hair from "blowing in the wind" on a dry day is a step in the right direction.

- Friction:
For those of us who have shoulder length hair or longer. Friction between our hair and our skin/shoulders/clothes causes wear on the ends of our hair (remember that the ends of our hair are the oldest part of our hair and more susceptible to damage). Excessive exposure of your ends will cause them to dry out and break.

The easiest way to address all of these is to wear your hair in a protective/low manipulation style. This would be any style where your ends are hidden and protected from the elements and where you are not required to comb your hair everyday.

For inspiration, here are some pictures of protective styles you can rock as we begin this challenge:



Box braids

Senegalese twists


Be careful that you are not taking down, combing your hair and redoing your updo daily. Even though your ends are tucked in and protected, combing your hair daily would be too much manipulation.

Weaves (Sew in):

Sew in weaves are a great way to protect your hair but be sure to care for your own hair underneath the weave.

Wigs (Full wigs, half wigs, glueless lace wigs):

Anyone who knows me knows that this is my thang! Lol. I just like the fact that it takes away my dependency on hairdressers (too many bad salon experiences...I can't shout!) . It takes 5mins to apply and I just wear it and go.

This is not by any means an exhaustive list of protective styles. There are lots of options out there. Take your pick.

Remember to take care of your own hair while protective styling. Neglecting your hair while protective styling defeats the whole purpose:
- Keep your braids or cornrows (worn out or under your weave/wig) for 6 to 8 weeks at a time.
- Moisturize at least 3 times a week. More if necessary
- Shampoo your hair once every week or two
- Deep  condition your hair after shampooing

When you eventually take down your protective style remember to comb and detangle gently. The less hair you have in the comb the better.



  1. How do i moisturize my hair under a weave on.

    1. You can get a spray moisturizer or water based leave in conditioner. Lift the weave and spray it on your cornrows. You can even make your own moisturizer, use a mix of water and glycerin, put it in a spray bottle and spray on your hair.

  2. Great article!! Really need this since i tend to braid alot!! Plus i presently have box braids on and moisturize like everyday, hope this is ok? I just started following your blog about 2 weeks ago. I use water and extra virgin olive oil and use oleum Ricini (castor oil) around the egdes of my hair line evryday!! Plus i used a leave in conditioner this past weekend,hope am on point?! Or any corrections?

  3. Your blog brings hope to me especially because I can see that your efforts at caring for your hair paid off.

    I need to clarify your recommendations for our regimen:

    In your post for your personal regimen, you co-wash once a week, shampoo wash and deep condition once a month. However,on this post you advised we shampoo every week. Kindly clarify.

    In some salons in Nigeria, the "Ori" (shea butter cream) is used. And from my findings, it helps prevent dandruff, rejuvenates damaged hair and prevents hair breakage. Can shea butter be used with castor oil?

    Thank you

    1. i know the question isn’t directed at myself but just thought to share

      you can use ori with any oil of your choice. It works great!
      and that’s her personal regimen, if she chooses to shampoo once per month however she is recommending Shampoo your hair once every week or two
      personally preference i guess for Bassey ( pls correct me if I am wrong)

      on another note Bassey........when i take my wig off and even before i start to finger comb during moisturising my ends I often get both hair shedding and breakage just form the tucked hair under the wig maybe hmm 6-10 strands of hair .......any suggestions how to reduce this?

    2. Hi Uyi,
      Feyi is right. Shea butter is a really good sealant to use after washing/moisturizing your hair. You can use it with castor oil. Use the castor oil on your scalp to stimulate growth especially around your edges and shea butter on your hair. Just note that shea butter is quite heavy so if your hair is relaxed or fine, it can make the strands stick together which will make your hair appear thinner. However, this is purely aesthetic. It may make your hair appear thinner because the strands stick together but it is not in anyway damaging to your hair. If your hair is thick, natural or if you are protective styling, this is not an issue.

      Regarding the frequency of washes. Building your regimen is very personal. Some people shampoo every week. Some every month. Some people don't even shampoo at all! They just wash with conditioner. So it all depends. I co wash every week and shampoo only once a month because I feel like shampoo strips my hair. A lot of people can shampoo once a week without feeling like their hair is being striped. So yeah, it depends on your hair. You can shampoo once a week and if you feel that your hair is dry, reduce the frequency of your shampooing and co wash instead. HTH.

    3. Many thanks for your response.

  4. Hi Feyi,

    It's difficult to say what is causing the breakage. It could be a host of things but the most common reasons are:
    - Your hair is not well moisturized under your wig
    - Your hair is damaged from chemical processing (relaxers, coloring)
    - Breakage occurred from something you did before you wore the wig, perhaps while combing, cornrowing or otherwise prepping your hair for the wig.
    - You are not manipulating your hair carefully enough. Yes, you are probably being careful but it could be that you need to be even more careful.

    Are you wearing a wig cap under your wig? If not consider wearing one to protect your hair from friction against the base of the wig.

    1. i figured out what the issue was........i started doing a 2 part twist before buning my hair under the wig thats when i noticed the heavy breakage and knots

      yesterday i decided to just do a low bun without the twist and I had only 1 strand breakage & no knots at all


  5. thanks for sharing these great information. however, please how so i moisturise my hair at least 3 times a week when i have braids on. and ow do i shampoo regularly with braids? thanks

  6. Hey Lushstrands, you are doing a great job. I've almost the same question as NerolineZeal. I wear sew in weaves a lot, at least a weave hair do per 6 weeks and sometimes to change my look I wear cornrows with attachment. And I've been wondering how I'm going to be able to condition my own hair underneath for at least 3 times a week and shampoo once every month with the weave or cornrows with attachment on. Then lastly, I plan to make my own moisturizer comprising of water, olive oil and glycerin as you suggested. But I really don't know where to get glycerin. Are they sold in pharmaceutical stores?

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hi ,your blog has been really helpful.i Am having trouble knowing which Glycerin is the right one. Could u please paste/post of picture of the right one. All the glycerin I have seen so far is glycerin and rosewater.thanks.

    1. Glycerine & rosewater is the toner/moisturizer for the face. U need the ordinary glycerine for body.

  9. One thing I've picked up from you is the importance of combing our hair properly. Thanks for that tip dear!

  10. Kelly's hair in that pic is doing naughty things to me. Lol. So pretty. Anyhoos, I second you on properly combing your hair. People sleep on how important this is to retaining HEALTHY hair. #gottatakeyourtime

  11. Where can you find Glycerin?

  12. Box braids have helped me achieve quite a lot of hair growth but my problem with it is that they tend to chop my front hair off, I would really appreciate your suggestions on how to avoid this :)

    1. Make sure that the braids are not too heavy for the front of hair. Make sure you deep condtion the hair with a mild protein treatment before doing the braids. Wash and condition the hair every twoo weeks and mositurize the hair 2-3 times a wek with a water based moisturizer. Dry hair will break.

  13. Hi lushstrands. Wonderful job your doing. May the good Lord richly reward you . Please I wanted to know. I loosened my weave about a week ago and I conditioned and washed with shampoo then moisturised with extra virgin olive oil. When is the shortest time between weaves or braids because I wonder if one week is too short before a braid,conrow or wear a weave.Second I wanted to know if you or anyone could recommend where I can buy glueless lace wigs in Lagos. I have searched the internet without success. Thanks once again and love you. Please I await your response. I am a subscriber to your blog (just thot I should add that, lol)

  14. This post is really wonderful for hair fashion products its all information is really great and hair styles is really awesome and attractive.

    Virgin Brazilian Hair

  15. These handheld devices, also known as split end cutters and split end removers, quickly get rid of broken strands and split ends, leaving your hair looking much healthier. (BLACKWOOD)



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