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I began a protective style challenge with wigs in January. I decided to go this route because I wanted to try a different look without damaging my hair and I also wanted to give my hair a rest. I conducted a lot of research prior to choosing wigs as keeping my real hair in tip-top shape while protective styling was my priority.
It has been over a month since I started the challenge and below are the 6 tips I’ve narrowed down for successful protective styling without damaging your hair or edges:
Get the Right Wig
This was the most important thing to me and I didn’t mind the financial investment it would involve because I knew I planned to protective style for most of 2016. In order to get the right wig, you should have it custom-made for your head. You should measure your head from different angles and send the sizes to your wig maker.
You will end up with a wig that isn’t too tight or too big and it won’t cause unnecessary friction around your head. It costs a little more but the investment is worth it in the long run.
Make Your Own Wig Cap
One of the reasons why I gave up on wigs was because the only time I tried it, the wig cap was too tight and gave me headaches. I tried to stretch it in various ways but it remained tight. I didn’t like the friction on my edges either so I gave up on wigs altogether.
This time, I made a wig cap out of stockings. That might sound ridiculous but it works well. It’s not tight at all and it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a wig cap. I made one out of stockings the same shade as my scalp. View a simple tutorial for this HERE.
Take Out the Combs
Wig combs is another thing that gives me headaches no matter how much I try to fit it properly. I also feel it contributes to unnecessary hair loss. I removed all the combs on my wig and pin the wig to my head securely with several pins. It stays on very well without any issues.
The combs have a tendency to cause split ends and lead to unnecessary tangling as well. Overall, it’s better to take them out for the sake of better hair preservation. Below is a simple video on how to take out wig combs:-
Moisturize Your Braids Everyday
I wear my hair in individual plaits twisted together and pinned down under my wig. I use the same braid spray I recommend from this earlier article. It’s excellent for keeping the hair moisturized under the wig cap. Concentrate on your edges and hair-line and massage it in before you slip your wig cap on. Your hair will thank you when you take down the braids for a shampoo and condition.
Minimize Wash Days
The purpose of a protective style is to leave your hair alone. Don’t go taking out your braids/plaits every 3 days. You’re defeating the purpose of wearing the wig. I would say every 10 – 14 days is a good rule of thumb.
I usually take down the plaits and detangle with this detangling oil mix, then wash with diluted castile soap and deep condition for about 30 – 45 minutes with Trader Joe’s Tea Tea Tingle Conditioner. I apply a leave in like Kinky Curly Knot Today, seal with almond oil or castor oil and put my hair back in plaits while still damp. Takes about 2 hours and I’m done till the next wash day.
Don’t Ignore Your Hair
Don’t wear a wig in perpetuity to the disadvantage of your hair. Just because it’s in hiding doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any care. You still need to moisturize, oil, wash and condition accordingly. If you do none of these things, your scalp will become dry and irritated, and itch something awful. It might lead to hair loss or annoying scalp conditions like dandruff.
Practicing the 6 tips above has made my protective style journey a breeze so far. I moisturize every morning, put on the wig cap, slap on the wig and pin down, brush and I’m good to go.
If you’re thinking of protective styling but feel you can’t with a wig because of the usual suspects, keep the above tips in mind. You can join the protective style challenge and/or ask questions HERE.
Happy Hair Growing! 🙂