A super useful post from one of our wonderful interns.
I played rugby during my last two years at university and prior to being a sports woman I would be at the gym at least 4 times a week. Using protective styling made it very easy to stay active and keep on top of my studies.
I hated always having to think about whether it was worth taking my twists out or not having calculated how long I'd be able to wear them out before my hair shrunk minutes after doing any form of physical activity. It didn't help that i would sweat really easily either.
The aim of a protective hair style is to stretch afro hair to prevent single strand knots and tangles and to maintain moisture. When done properly, these protective styles will keep you hair healthy as you work on keeping the rest of your body healthy.
My favourite protective hair style
After being fed up with having to worry about what I would do with my hair, my love for mini twist blossomed. I would wash my hair and then spend hours parting and twisting it. I would then style my mini twists and re-style them when it got messy. Juggling university workload while staying active soon became every easy. Mini twists were usually my go-to. What I liked about them most was that I could rinse the sweat out of my hair regularly so I wouldn't mind getting my twists wet because they would never unravel.
Winter, summer, autumn, spring, it doesn't matter. Head scarfs save lives! When you're having a bad hair day and just want a run to realise those endorphins, wrap a scarf around your head and voila, you're good to go! I tend to use black scarfs when gyming or training because your sweat is less visible on a black scarf. Ideally you want to your hair braided or twisted and free to move into place so that your head shape isn't too bumpy but regardless you'll look amazing and you'll soon start feeling it once those exercise hormones kick in.
Two canerows/ flat twists
On wash-days or when I don't have much time, I tend to braid two canerows onto my head and keep those in during the week, occasionally tidying up the front when needed. The plaits at the end never stay down so I tent to twist the braids into two buns.
This protective hair style is one of my favourites, your hair is out of the way and it's super cute. I create this style by tying my hair into a very high pony tail so it lays like a pineapple. I then find a starting point and curl my ends inwards around the hair tie. Sometimes I tie a small silk or stain scarf around my edges to keep them laid and to catch sweat beads trickling from my scalp.
Keep the moisture in
The L.O.C. method is KEY
When doing any protective hairstyle in your afro hair, it is very important that the hair is still well looked after. Since being introduced to Afrocenchix, every week and a half I now wash my hair with Swish, after pre-pooing with coconut oil and then deep condition. I then towel dry it to remove any calcium and other unwanted minerals found in tap water, re-hydrate it with a few spritz of Sheen, lock in the moisture with Seal and then close my hair cuticles using a cream, Smooth. Some of you may know this as the LOC method. On old hair I do the exact same thing, minus the washing process.
Carrying travel size natural hair products really helps too!
How do you keep your hair in top condition when working out?