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My haircare routine, regardless of how short or extensive it is, has never been enjoyable. I don’t have a specific reason for this, except to say that I think face masks and the occasional lipstick are so much more fun to play with. For this reason, protective styles are non-negotiable. Whether it’s waist-length braids, extensions that match my natural curl pattern or straight-back cornrows, being able to tuck my natural strands away for weeks at a time is not only a time-saver but the easiest way to switch up my look with little effort. The only downside is dealing with breakage afterward, which always requires a fleet of anti-shedding products.
First, know that it’s completely normal for your hair to shed. In fact, we lose a couple hundred hairs per day, even when we’re not manipulating them into a style. However, when your real hair is braided or tucked away underneath a sewn-in weave, that daily shedding process is delayed for however long you choose to keep the style in place. So when your natural hair comes out of hiding, the amount of shedding can be especially overwhelming combined with the other effects of protective styling, such as build-up and breakage. In those days after removing a protective style, your hair is in need of extra TLC as it regains strength for whatever you plan to do next.
Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment
If your hair’s been severely affected by chemical processes or extensive manipulation, this hair mask is fortified with quinoa protein to strengthen brittle strands.
$38.41 at Amazon
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
A weekly treatment, infused with B vitamins and various oils, to nourish the hair outside of your cleansing routine.
$36 at Sephora
Bumble and bumble Bb. Full Potential Hair Preserving Shampoo
If braids have left your natural hair strands broken and brittle, this powerhouse cleanser exfoliates the scalp and helps protect against future breakage.
$31 at Sephora
Cantu Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner
When you want to detangle without pulling out more hair than necessary, this silky-smooth conditioner helps pull apart knots to speed up the shedding process.
$4.99 at Sally Beauty
Kiehl’s Magic Elixir Hair Restructuring Concentrate
A potent mix of avocado oil and rosemary leaves to use before shampooing and ease the overall manageability of your hair over time.
$20 at Nordstrom
Klorane Shampoo With Quinine and B Vitamins
B vitamins deliver hydration while quinine bark extract makes it easier for your strands to absorb nutrients for stronger, healthier hair.
$22 at Sephora
Not Your Mother’s Way to Grow Long & Strong Shampoo
If you don’t want a tight protective style to affect the growth of your natural strands, be sure to use this anti-breakage shampoo on a weekly basis.
$5.99 at Ulta
SheaMoisture Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment
For dry hair covered in buildup, this luxurious, ultra-thick hair mask will deliver a next-level dose of moisture and shine.
$11.49 at Ulta
TGIN Miracle Repairx Deep Hydrating Hair Masque
Coconut oil and black honey are the standout ingredients in this hair treatment for reducing shedding and improved moisture.
$17.99 at Sally Beauty
The Mane Choice Anti-Shedding & Intense Volume Therapy Shampoo
A lightweight gentle cleanser that’ll do wonders for fine hair without weighing it down.
$11.19 at Sally Beauty
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density
A trio of peptides in this post-cleansing serum increase blood flow to the scalp for longer, stronger strands.
$17.90 at Sephora
Rossano Ferretti Prodigio Regenerating Treatment
This luxe pre-shampoo treatment utilizes natural oils and botanicals to deliver an extra boost of skincare-like benefits to hair in need of repair.
$98 at Sephora
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