Protective Styling Pt.2 – Extensions; Before, During and After

So last week, we talked about maintaining short-term protective styles, which are styles that last no longer than 2 weeks and are mostly done with your own hair. If you haven’t read that, you can check it out right here. On Instagram, I put up lots of styles from some awesome people, I’m sure you guys must have gotten some ideas, I know I did!

This week is about the long term protective styles, when you’re REALLY tired of your hair; don’t worry, happens to the best of us. I know it’s easy to get carried away with braids or weaves, and totally forget about your hair, but remember the whole idea of a ‘protective’ style is to actually protect and not have it screaming for help underneath the extensions. So here’s a breakdown on what to do before, after and during your styles.


  1. Wash – This time you have to do a major cleanse, with a proper shampoo and ensure your scalp is completely free of buildup. You want to minimize the need to wash while you have your extensions on as much as possible, so it has to be totally clean.
  2. Deep Condition – This too must not be skipped. In fact this might be more important than cleansing (ok maybe 50/50). If you’re going to leave your strands covered, and without access to directly moisturize or condition, you have to leave it in an optimum state to stay the time. I’ll advice a protein deep condition so as to keep your hair very strong and reduce that breakage you see when you take it off. For more info on this, check this post.
  3. Moisturize – To avoid the strands getting dry, and make it a lot softer for intalling your extensions. Check this post for everything you need to know on moisturizing your hair.
  4. Stretch – This makes your moisturizer more effective, and prevents shrinkage so you have a neat style. Here’s another post on stretching your hair without heat, right here.


  1. Now when you do have to wash, and this shouldn’t go beyond four weeks, use an applicator or spray bottle, this helps you focus on your scalp only as this is what really matters in cleansing. Check out methods of cleansing here, you can use any of the methods. If you want to use a shampoo, dilute it first so it’s easier to wash off.

    This is what an applicator bottle looks like. Source
  2. Use a spritz – As often as you wish, to keep your hair and style refreshed. For DIY spritz ideas, check here.
  3. Condition – After washing, use a rinse out conditioner, or cowash any time you feel necessary, to keep it moisturized. Be sure to dilute this also.
  4. Still not allowed to skip the satin – Nope. Remember we’re trying to keep your hair moisturized for as long as possible. Use a satin scarf or bonnet or pillowcase. Check out our Instagram page listed at the end of this post, to get your bonnets.
  5. Shea butter to refresh braids and twists extensions – Especially marley hair. I learnt this trick from my sister, and it works just perfectly. Sometimes, use some shea butter on your extensions, to keep them refreshed. Note that this is ONLY for braids and twist extensions, and not for your weaves especially those tagged as ‘human hair’, cause it tends to ruin them.
  6. Oil your scalp – This again cannot be over-emphasized. Keep your scalp moisturized by oiling it regularly. This helps to fight that itch you usually get in weaves.





  1. How long to keep your style? This is totally up to you, but I really think 3 months is more than enough, beyond that is just getting wrong!
  2. While taking it out – Use a spritz with some diluted Apple Cidar Vinegar, or just water if you don’t have that, to moisturize while you take out your extensions, the acv helps to loosen buildup that could cause further breakage and makes washing easier.
  3. Detangling – From my post on detangling (right here), I mentioned that I don’t use a comb immediately after taking out extensions, this is because, the hair tends to be weak, and combing would only add more stress causing breakage.
  4. Wash – It’s been long, time to wash that hair and cleanse the scalp.
  5. Deep Condition – Follow with a proper deep conditioner immediately after. If it’s been over a month, you might want to use a protein deep condition here.
  6. If you still have some tangles, you can use a comb now.
  7. Don’t forget to be very gentle. Take your time, and be careful.

Most importantly, don’t forget to be beautiful!

Follow me @the_afropelo on Instagram and like the Facebook page, ‘Afropelo. African Hair care’

Much love
olufarai of the AfroPelo


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