Since I’ve been experimenting with protective styles these days, I thought I would walk you through my removal process. Do I have a method to this maddening task? Not really lol, I just make sure I have plenty of time in the day and watch a good series to keep me distracted from how tedious it is.
First, I set up all my supplies; clips, spray (water) bottle, coconut oil, a couple combs, scissors, a couple towels, mirror, and drinking water (with a straw- very important for when my hands are full of hair and oil). I swear it looks like I’m about to perform surgery with how orderly I lay everything out. Lastly, I press play on Game of Thrones and off we go!
The first thing I do is take my scissors and cut the braid off where I know for certain my natural hair isn’t. There’s definitely been a time or two (or few) when my estimate was very wrong and I accidently cut my natural hair off. Ooops! Depending how many times I do this, I’ll end up just booking a hair cut to even it all out. There, problem solved!
Once my braid is cut, I’ll unravel and throw away the synthetic hair. I like to spritz my hair with water, comb it with a fine tooth comb and remove as much loose hair as I can before getting in the shower. I find it oddly satisfying to see how much gets combed out. This is because the hair that would have normally shed, has been trapped in a braid for 6 weeks. So seeing more hair than usual on your comb is totally normal- don’t freak out!
After combing through, I’ll apply some coconut oil to prep my hair for washing (aka pre-poo). Coating the hair with oil before shampooing helps to add extra moisture. This may seem like an extra step, but your hair will thank you for it. Especially if you have thirsty hair like mine. I pre-poo faithfully before every wash day, not just after I take out a protective style.
Another thing I like to do (once all the braids are out and before washing) is use a dry scalp treatment. I’ve been using this one by Moroccanoil and my scalp reaally appreciates it. This oil is filled with antioxidants, lavender, and geranium essential oil to help rebalance and soothe dryness and irritation. I leave the treatment in for 10 minutes and head to the shower.
Hallelujah for the first shower where you can actually scrub your scalp without all those braids in the way. Ohhh myyyy godddd! I section my hair off and get to work. I focus heavily on my scalp to remove product and oil build up. I love using my Denman brush for this and dig those bristles into my head- scrub, scrub, scrub!
Next, I’ll apply a deep conditioner, wrap my hair in a cap and let it do it’s thing for about 30 ish minutes. Lately, I’ve been using treatments by DevaCurl, Ouidad and Moroccanoil. After I rinse it out and get out of the shower, I’ll section my hair into quarters and apply a leave-in spray. I’ve been making my way through Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey & Yogurt Leave-In. This helps the detangling process and adds moisture.
I’ll go back through my hair and add a bit of coconut oil for more moisture and lastly apply some type of moisture cream. It’s all about moisture, moisture, moisture! I don’t really style my hair much the same day that I remove my protective style, because a girl is tired. This is quite the process and takes me a few hours for sure. I’ll pull it back in a low bun and voila- feeling fresh!
For extra TLC, I like to book a professional hair treatment and trim about a week after removal. This just helps me get my natural hair back on track, eliminate the dead/split ends and feed it the moisture and protein it craves.
So there you have it, my entire removal process and I would have probably watched about 4 episodes of Game of Thrones while doing so. Maybe 5 if I’m really taking my time. Not a bad way to spend a day =).