Protective Styling = Powerful Progress! A Relaxed Hair Health Feature


I'm really excited about sharing this post today.  From the moment LHCF member, "pre_medicalrulz," shared pics of her progress in our email communications, I just knew she had to be featured on the blog.  Not too long ago, I wrote a post about caring for the hair while protective styling under weaves/wigs.  That entry was inspired by several emails I'd received from readers who struggled to retain length with protective styling with extensions.  I'm happy to say that miss "pre_med" was doing just fine with her length retaining strategy.  Her only concern was regarding her ends which seemed to struggle more than the rest of her hair.  We talked about doing a blunt cut trim before her next install as a possible solution to her concern.  By the time she shared her next update with me I was elated!  Then she contacted me to share her most recent update and I knew for sure that I had to share her story with the world. 

1.  What is your hair type? I am a 4 something, possibly a B.

 How would you describe your hair? When I was young I use to think my hair was coarse because that's what people told me but as I learned to handle it, it's simply thick, lush and strong. 

2. How often do you touch up/relax? I make it a point to touch up every 16 weeks. No less than 14 weeks at the minimum. 

3.  What is your current length? Somewhere between MBL and WL air driedI haven't straighten since Dec so I don't know the true length. Only air dried.

Tell us more about your air drying process.  If successful air drying is trying to get a straight look then I'm not the one to ask. LOL. I simply air dry. No scarf method or any other tricks that other ladies do, just simply let it hang out. It doesn't bother me much only because it's about to be put under a wig or in a bun once it's dry. 

4.  Please share your regimen. What do you do daily, and weekly, to care for your hair?

Daily: Moisturize with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter. Seal with any oils. I recently started using Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum as a sealant. Nightly: it's under a bonnet in a loose bun or several plaits. I'm either under wigs or a lose bun throughout the day. 

Weekly: I deep condition every week. Sometimes I use shampoo weekly as well but mostly wash with conditioner only. I deep condition no less than an hour and a half. My wash/conditioner/protein products are all Nexxus products. I also do weekly protein treatments. My hair can stand it. 

How often do you wear your hair out vs. protective styling?    I rarely, rarely wear my hair out. I will wear it out all day on the day I wash or all day on a fresh relaxer but that's about it. Even on special occasions it's in a high bun

5. You've made some huge progress with your hair journey. What do you attribute most to your success? 
Protective styles has given me great length retention. If I never protective styled I believe my hair would not have shown fast progress in 4 month spans as it did. But I can only speak for myself. I also believe protein and moisture balance was 2nd in command. Without this balance, I would have had so many set backs. 

6.  Have you had any setbacks/trouble along the way?
 I use to have set backs with the front of my hair and end up needing to take off 2 inches or so.

7 How did you overcome your setbacks?
I stopped wearing stocking caps solely under my wigs and started using satin durags as a base. I also laid off the half wigs and started wearing full coverage wigs. That way all my hair is tucked away safely. 

8.  How are you able to maintain such thickness overall? 
Honestly, I haven't been doing anything special on purpose for the thickness. However I have noticed if you lay off the heat (curling irons, flat irons), air dry all the time, and stretch your relaxers at LEAST longer than 12 weeks; thickness happen on its own. For some people at least. 

9.  Looking back at your journey so far, is there anything you would do differently? or wish you would have done sooner
Absolutely. I started my journey a little over a year ago and I wish when I first started that I was confident enough to start off with a fresh cut. I tried to start my progress on weak ends and 8 months within my journey I showed no signs of retention until I chopped 2 inches of the weak ends off. After that, it was retention after retention after retention. 

(March 2012)

10 Someone is reading this right now who's about to start her hair journey. What advice would you give her? 
You have to try things out for yourself and then stick to what works. Simply pay attention to the way your hair responds to certain products. It will tell you what works and does not work. In the beginning keep it simple and basic; daily moisturizer, moisture shampoo, moisture deep conditioner, protein conditioner/treatment and oils. And please do as much research before you start your journey. You want progress not set backs. Ask questions and reach out to people who are also on a hair journey for support and advice. 

11. Do you do anything additionally to support your hair? (nutrition, vitamins, exercise)?
 I do not take hair vitamins nor exercise excessively. However, I still believe for many people these things play an important part in overall hair growth and health. I recommend people use what they need. If hair vitamins give a person a boost in overall health, then I think that person should continue to consume hair vitamins. 

12. Is there anything else would you like to share that I haven't asked you about?
 Don't quit. In the beginning you'll expect fast results but just be patient. Just don't quit. It's so worth it. 

I just love looking at pics of  Pre-med's hair and, the way she's going, she'll be waist length in no time at all.  Here are the takeaways I got from her sharing that I'm reminded of:
  • Deep Condition, Deep Condition, Deep Condition!
  • If you are serious about retention, protective styling and low manipulation is the answer.
  • One of the first steps to a healthy hair journey may just be a proper trimming.  Lately, I've been paying close attention to the women I see, when I'm out at about, who have thick hair. One commonality that I can tell, is that they have blunt, or will trimmed ends, 98% of the time.  That is too much of a coincidence for me to ignore.  

(latest update: Waist Length "Yay!")
I love sharing features and I hope to share many more inspirational hair journeys with you all.  If anyone would like to share their journey and progress on the blog, be sure to contact me so we can make it happen!


  1. This post was very inspiring for me. I long to have hair like this. my questions are: which is a good protein conditioner/treatment just so I can start, does using moisturizer daily wear your hair down? I have the elasta qp also and I seal with coconut hair is thin. Thanks in advance.


    1. Hair Mayonniase is a good protein product. You can also just use eggs. They are high in protein/biotin.

      About the moisturizer question, that depends on your hair type and the products you use. If the product it self is heavy like the Motions Moisturizer, a slight mistake could weigh down your hair, but if your hair type is coarse and fast-absorbing like mine, you would be fine. Since your hair is thin, i would recommend a light moisturizer, or you could just moisturize every other day to reduce that weighed-upon feel on your hair strands.

  2. Great feature! I agree with the post above, this is very inspiring. When she hits WL, her air dried hair is going to look amazing (it already is now!)

  3. This is really inspiring! I started my journey recently after a huge trimming and now I'm wearing my hair in braids. I usually deep condition every 2 weeks but I will seriously consider doing it more often. I usually moisturize daily but now that my hair is braided I'll definitely try to keep them moisturized at the roots. Gonna seal my hair with some coconut oil as well. Thanks for the advice.

  4. This is an amazing post.. Truly inspirational to me! I need to invest in a faux bun to protective style more (my hair doesnot create a full bun. I recently started my hair journey on Dec 31 2011 (thanks to my best friend) I'm currently at shoulder-nape length from ear length.

    Her hair and yours Nadege is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you!

  5. I love how thick her hair is. And it getting so long. This post makes me want to get back into airdrying on a regular basis. Great post.

  6. Hi Joela!

    I currently use Nexxus Polymedic but when I first started out I simply used the eggs & conditioner method. Elasta QP maybe heavy for your hair as you said because your hair is thin. My mom's hair is the same way. A moisturizer she uses is the Olive Oil Root Stimulator Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion.

  7. Thanks to all of you ladies!

  8. Wonderful feature! Very inspiring, I want to find a balance between air drying and roller setting. I'm horrible at roller setting, I fear its going to hurt me in the long run because I have to do sooo much manipulation just to get it done, only for it not to come out right anyways........If only I could get the opportunity to DC my hair at a resonable hour, I could completely air dry my hair.

  9. Ignorance enslaves, knowledge empowers and liberates!!!!!! This is inspiring.

  10. Hi Candice!


    It's probably best to air dry when you know you have absolutely nothing to do on that day. LOL!

  11. Hi Empresskimz1


    I couldn't agree with you more!

  12. I love this post and it certainly is inspiring but my only issue with it is what is the point of having all that beautiful hair and not being able to wear it out. I have noticed that most people who have long hair seem to always hide it under wigs or weaves.... is there hope for someone to have beautiful hair AND wear THEIR hair or does it always have to be tucked under so we can retain.... honest question and not trying to be sarcastic...

  13. I agree. Her hair is fab and beautiful, but I think I'd settle for APL or a lil longer to wear it down more often. What good is it to have beautiful hair when no one hardly sees it??

  14. Thanks all but when I get to my desired length which is WL, I will wear my hair out more. I don't feel the need to show off shoulder length or bra strap length hair because you see it everyday. I think it will be a nice sacrifice. :)

  15. Her hair is beautiful and healthy, no doubt but it's sad that protective styling is taken to such great lengths that she can't even take a moment to enjoy that hair for psychological fear of damage. Life is too short. Enjoy your hair. Why hide it under wigs and such? So funny.

  16. It's nice to know that you still wear wigs or used wigs as a protective style. My hairdresser and I argue all the time about this. She believes that wigs damage your hair.

  17. So inspiring. About to start my hair process and your progress and results is very encouraging

  18. It is a very inspiring piece. I started my hair journey four months ago and I am just about to relax. How long do you have to wait before you do any manipulative styles to your hair?


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