Any parent that is dealing with a young child with naturally curly hair knows (or should know the importance of a consistent hair regimen). Side note: Why is it that people of color– African-Americans, Afro-Latinas, etc.– feel the need to call their hair “natural”? I have never once heard a white girl with super curly hair say that her hair is “natural”. It grows out of her head like that and that’s it. End of story. I do not want to harp on black empowerment issues because that is not what my blog is about (although I have many, many strong opinions on the matter) but the focus of my blog doesn’t change the fact that I am an Afro-Latina with two young children who will inherit all of the pre-conceived notions of their race.

Anyways–back to the topic at hand: Protective Styling!

One of the huge tricks to maintaining length in our hair is through minimal manipulation. The obvious example is dreadlocks. There is no magic voodoo in dreads that make them grow down someone’s back. It is that dreads require minimal manipulation. There is no combing, no heat, and in that environment, our hair grows.

I’m not dreading Makenzie’s hair but I do try to keep a comb out of her head at all times except for once a week (look here to see her weekly routine). In order for me to avoid combing her hair, I usually keep it braided and since her hair is braided so much, I try to keep it interesting and fresh by trying out new designs and styles.

Here is one of my favorites because it’s quick and easy (about 30 mins in comparison to some of the styles that take up to 3 hours). Cornrows into two “puffs”.

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I find that it is much easier to get clean looking braids if the hair is towel dried (but still wet) and saturated with your choice of moisturizer & oil. This time around I used Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Styling Lotion which is very heavy and great on hair that is very dry and is naturally in need of a heavy moisturizer. I also used Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Hair Oil which comes in a spray bottle and is great to seal in moisture after braiding without having to actually touch the hair and scalp. These two products work great together and can be found at any beauty supply store, Walgreens, or Target.

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