How I Prepare My Hair for Protective Styles

I’ve been in protective hairstyling mode on my natural hair for the last four or five months, rocking a variety of braids and updos. The decision to put my fro away was first motivated by the fact that I was frantically trying to finish my dissertation in order to defend over the summer. Then as my pregnancy progressed, I lost any and all interest in spending time detangling, washing, and styling my hair (naps sounded like a much better use of my time!).

A few weeks ago in my Instagram stories I mentioned that despite having heat applied on my hair numerous times in the summer months, it was still healthier than it’s ever been before. One of the reasons is because I’ve identified products that do an AMAZING job – no seriously – of moisturizing, protecting, and strengthening highly textured natural hair. Keep on reading to find out how I prepare my hair for protective styles, without compromising on health and moisture.

Start with a Moisturizing Sulfate Based Shampoo

Pantene Gold Series Moisturizing Shampoo

Now you probably think that is a paradox – and until recently so did I – but when transitioning from one protective hairstyle to the next, it is critical to thoroughly cleanse the hair and scalp. No one wants to be that girl walking around the mall constantly scratching her head, so a clean scalp and hair strands is the first step to prepping your hair for a protective style.

Although sulfates have gotten a bad rap in the natural hair community, they actually play a critical role in thoroughly cleansing and clarifying our hair strands. The Gold Series Moisture Boost Shampoo is hands down the most moisturizing shampoo that I’ve used that contains sulfates, and is proof that a shampoo with sulfates doesn’t have to dry out your hair.

Double Up on the Conditioner

Pantene Gold Series Repairing Mask

I remember in one YouTube video a commenter asked why I used both a conditioner and a deep conditioner, rather than just one or the other. Who doesn’t want more moisture?!! Before installing a protective style it’s always a good idea to deep condition your natural hair. I’ve been layering the Gold Series Moisture Boost Conditioner with the Gold Series Repairing Mask for the ultimate moisturizing conditioner combination. Both products, as well as everything else in the Gold Series Collection, are formulated with Argan oil and made to actually penetrate your hair strands rather than sit on top of your hair. The proof is always in the slip and ease of detangling, and my goodness this combo always has my hair smooov! Not smooth, smoov!


Pantene Gold Series Heat Protector

I thought this was common knowledge, but apparently some folks are out here thinking that they only need heat protectant if they’re going to flat iron their hair, not for a quick tension blow out. Sis! If you’re going to stretch your hair prior to a protective style, PLEASE use a heat protectant like the Gold Series Thermal Heat Protector. Heat damaged hair does not need to be your portion or ministry. Be kind to your hair and first use a leave in conditioner like the Gold Series Leave On Detangling Milk – it’s lightweight and won’t smoke under the blow dryer. 

Why the Gold Series Collection is Great for Protective Hairstyles

Ijeoma Kola x Shuku Braids

Although we’re blessed in this day and age to have a wide choice of natural hair products at our fingertips, one challenge I still face is finding products that adequately moisturize and strengthen my super textured hair. The Gold Series Collection was developed by Black scientists, stylists, and dermatologists after ten years worth of research on Black hair. They were researching this line for as long as I’ve been natural (will be 10 years in a few months)! Having spent seven years working on my dissertation, I feel very comfortable saying that anyone who spends 10 YEARS researching anything probably knows what they’re talking about. A bonus is that the line is incredibly affordable (and easy to find at Walmart!), but the quality isn’t cheap – I’ve been asking my stylists about their thoughts and so far they’ve been loving the line as well! If you want to see the line in action on my hair, check out the video below:

How do you prepare your hair for protective styles?

Share your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Hey, I just discovered your blog and habe quickly bwcome kind of addicted. I‘d love to know how long you kept this protective style in. (You’re gorgeous btw).