How To Recover From Protective Styles

The convenience of minimizing our daily hair routine is one of the many advantages of a protective style.  It gives us the ability to not only protect our natural strands for weeks (or months) at a time, but it also allows us to wear low maintenance styles like braids, faux locs, sew-ins, and twists.

But protective styles also have disadvantages…And no one really discusses what to expect after removing the style or how to recover your hair to optimal health. So, here’s everything you need to know in preparation for coming out of a protective style:


It’s normal to shed between 50 to 100 hairs a day.  So, as you can imagine, when taking down a protective style there will be a large amount of shedding.

Don’t panic, it’s just an accumulation of hair that has shed over the course of time.

Once you remove the protective style from your hair, be sure to detangle immediately to avoid matting.  Using a wide tooth comb or a Denman cushion brush, detangle in small section from ends to roots.



Expect your hair and scalp to be extremely dry after protective styling.  Not only will it be dry, but it’ll be thirsty too!  Which is why it’s very crucial to replenish moisture during the initial cleansing phase to ensure a healthy scalp, and hair that is properly moisturized.

Step 1:  Use a pre-shampoo treatment to detox your scalp of excess oils, dirt, and product buildup.  We suggest Design Essentials Peppermint & Aloe Soothing Tonic.

Step 2:  Rinse. Then simply saturate your hair with lukewarm water for 2-3 minutes until it’s completely wet and the water runs clear.  This allows the hair cuticle to open, so moisture can be absorbed in the next step.

Step 3: First lather with DE Oat Protein & Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo to rid the hair and scalp of all impurities.  Then follow with DE Honey Creme Moisture Retention Shampoo to restore moisture balance while softening the hair and smoothing the cuticle.  Repeat as needed and rinse.



After cleansing, apply your favorite Design Essentials moisturizing conditioner and steam treat your strands for approximately 20 minutes.

The combination of heat and water from steaming lifts the cuticle on the hair shaft, allowing conditioners to deeply penetrate each hair strand from the inside out – you’ll notice instant hydration and softness.



If after cleansing and conditioning you notice any hair breakage, damage, split ends, or overly dry ends (which is common after protective styling) it’s time for a trim!

Getting regular trims every 6-12 weeks (depending on your hair texture) results in hair that looks fuller and healthier while promoting healthy hair growth.

DE PRO TIP: While you may consider a DIY hair trim. We highly recommend you visit a licensed professional to achieve a healthy, even cut.



To avoid scalp irritation and/or traction alopecia, protective styles shouldn’t be worn back-to-back without giving your hair follicles rest.  So, we recommend waiting at least 1-2 weeks in-between styles.

Just be conscious that wearing a protective styles have both its pros and cons, but we we can’t stress enough how important it is to consult a professional hairstylist if you notice any difference in your hairs integrity after removing a protective style.  He/she will be able to properly ‘access the damage’ and get you back on the right track to a healthy hair journey.

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