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Ways to Prevent an Itchy Scalp During Protective Styles

Anyone who’s ever had a protective style (aka twists, braids or wig) knows that it can get a little, well, itchy under there. We love that protective styles are a sure way to let our locks grow healthily and safe from shedding, but how do you keep your scalp at 100 while snatched? Since an itchy scalp should never stand in between you and dope hair, we reached out to braiding queen, Naeemah LaFond, Global Artistic Director of amika for her tips on keeping your whole head healthy, from root to tip.


Protective Hairstyles

Image via Naeemah LaFond

Start Squeaky Clean

The best way to prevent an itchy scalp when rocking a protective style is to avoid product build-up. “Between installing protective styles, deep cleanse your scalp to ensure that your pores are breathing and staying healthy,” recommends Naeemah. “I love using the amika Reset Exfoliating Jelly Shampoo: $25 for a deep cleaning of the scalp prior to any protective styles.” Think of the exfoliation as a must, it’s the same as cleaning your brushes before doing your make-up—you want to start with a clean slate to get the best results, especially when your hair follicles are at stake.

Protective Hairstyles

Image via Naeemah LaFond

Remove Your Style On Time

Though protective styles alone don’t have any negative impact on the scalp, how you take care of the hair when it’s braided is crucial. “I think that the improper maintenance and installment of protective styles is where it can go wrong,” notes Naeemah. One really easy way to prevent this is by taking your style out when you’re supposed to and not leaving it in for longer—even holding out just a little bit can contribute to unnecessary damage. “If a style is meant to last four weeks, than keeping it in for an additional two or three weeks can compromise the integrity of the scalp. Styles that have too much tension and are tight on the scalp can extend the life of the style but wreak havoc on your scalp and your edges,” she explains.

Image via Naeemah LaFond

Ultimately, the life of a protective style really depends on how it was installed and your type of hair. “Some braids can last four weeks on one client where they only last two weeks on another,” adds Naeemah. There are a ton of factors that contribute to how long a style can last, including hair growth, hair type (oil/dry), lifestyle (your gym routine included) and also the skill level of your stylist. “A stylist can best advise on the duration of a protective style during a consultation,” she says, so pay attention to that end date.

Protective Hairstyles

Image via Naeemah LaFond

Soothe Your Scalp

To prevent an itchy scalp (for a protective style or not) Naeemah reaches for amika Phantom Hydrating Dry Shampoo Foam: $25. “It’s perfect for absorbing oils and buildup,” she says. Again, she makes sure the scalp is tingly fresh using the amika Reset Exfoliating Jelly Shampoo, which she says “is great for purifying, rebalancing and soothing the scalp.”

Of course, washing protective styles is an option, though you have to take into consideration the hours you’re going to be spending under the dryer—in other words, clear your calendar. Skipping out on drying time is seriously not an option. “You never want to leave the natural hair under protective style damp or wet because it can attract bacteria and mold,” Naeemah cautions.

Protective styles offer some of the best options for hair looks out there, just make sure you get your scalp right and never put maintenance on the back burner.


We’re living for the protective style options HERE.


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