You choose your stylist based on a variety of factors. Even if you’ve been with the same braider or weaver for years, there are a few things to consider when gearing up for an entire year of healthy hair in 2015. I’ve answered any general questions that you may have about protective styling here.
Now that you’ve entrusted a stylist with your mane, this is what she (we’ll assume that all braiders are female for the sake of this post) should be doing for you. FREE of charge.
1. Conditioning Your Hair– It is a certified fact that most of you are not taking care of your hair at all, or doing it all wrong. In addition, protective styles don’t do their job on their own. While the braiding/weaving of your hair does protect it from free radicals and debris in the atmosphere; your hair (not just your scalp) longs for healthy hydration while encased in kanekalon. I prefer all natural products. Shea butter is one of my favorites. Believe me, you’ll notice a difference when taking your hair down!
2. Moisturizing Your Scalp– Contrary to popular belief, the skin from whence your hair grows requires just as much attention as your hair does. If you have neglected to do this, please ask your stylist to moisturize for you with a natural, nourishing oil like olive.
3. Tapering Properly– Everyone has seen a horrible sew-in, or braids that look like Bonquiqui’s little sister did them under duress. There’s a lot more to braiding than the one aspect of tapering, but getting it right can make an ugly braid do a 360.
4. Taming Flyaways– One of the easiest ways to avoid a braiding disaster is for your stylist to use effective, preferably all-natural, products to tame flyways BEFORE installation is complete. If you don’t trust this lady completely, don’t allow her near your head with a pair of scissors.
5. Explaining Maintenance– You’ll wreck a car and kill everybody on 75 if no one teaches you to drive before you get behind the wheel. Similarly, all of your hair will fall out if you don’t know how to maintain your protective style. Ask your stylist. If she doesn’t know, leave immediately.
6. Offering Healthy Hair Tips- This one is just a test. Ask your stylist for tips on healthier hair in general. If she’s worth her salt, she’ll be attentive to the state of your hair and able to offer suggestions on how to achieve a healthier scalp.
7. Asking Questions-Maybe it’s just me, but I want the person that is responsible for my first impression to actually care about me. I’m a Pisces. Maybe I’m just needy. I ask my clients if they are afraid of their hair, or what their greatest challenge is when learning to nurture their relaxed-free hair.
8. Practicing A Gentle Touch- Both an African and an Atlantan should understand the importance of not ripping your scalp out. First, it isn’t necessary. Second, it leads to damage-which is the exact opposite of the reason I came to yo ass in the first place!!! Forgive me, I was in my feelings for a moment. If you have a sensitive scalp (tender-headed ), be honest with yourself. It may feel like Keisha is trying to kill you. She’s not.
9. Emailing You– Let’s face it, there’s only one @SuperDopeKarmen. I am blessed to have an array of intelligent, gorgeous, and understanding clients. Because I care for all of them collectively, and individually, I’ve developed an email newsletter filled with exclusive content to help ease the transition process. If your stylist doesn’t love you, click here.
10. Boosting Hair and Scalp Health- We’ve established that scalp care, and hair care are two very different processes. When I finish installation of any protective style – after dipping (if it’s required) but before getting those edges together– my clients receive a SuperDope scalp treatment. It consists of
- Tea tree oil and keratin spray to condition the hair follicle and control flaking
- ORS softening Shea butter formula to introduce new hair to a well nourished environment
- Argan Oil sheen to penetrate and fortify the skin of the scalp.
This is a collection of practices that I use with each of my clients. I am in no way indicating that your stylist is horrible because she doesn’t incorporate these things. Like I always say, I thank God that I have an amazing group of women that are counting on me to keep their hair healthy and productive. I take my job very seriously!! Smooches!