Wagman Hair

Ways To Clean Your Scalp While Protective Styling

clean your scalp while protective styling My last few posts have focused on prepping for protective styling natural hair and hairstyle inspiration for the winter months. I am happy to say my protective (box braids) style is STILL going strong seven weeks after installation. I was planning to take them out this past weekend but they look great and I still receive compliments.  I have cleansed my scalp while they were in so I haven’t had any irritation and my scalp is in good condition.

When it comes to hair growth the state of your scalp is one of the most important factors. We say “wash hair” but when washing your hair the main focus should be cleansing your scalp not your hair – which can actually dry it out. While a protective style is installed it’s important to remember to maintain a healthy scalp.

Here are some ways to clean your scalp while protective styling – focusing specifically on long term styles like braids, twists, cornrows, and weaves.  Buns and updos are great but do not require any special washing techniques.

Dry Shampoo – Dry shampoo usually comes in a can and resembles baby powder. This is one alternative I have heard works really well to absorb oil from the scalp and extend the life your style. I think many African American women dismiss dry shampoos as not being suited for “our hair” and although I have not personally tried it, I know black women who loved using them for braids.  You can find higher end dry shampoos in stores like Ulta and Sephora but there are even a few drugstore options these days from Suave and Tresemme.   Be careful not to use too much to avoid a white, powdery residue or appearance though – not cute!

Shampoo Bar – Shampoo bars are one of my new favorites! If you are unfamiliar, they are exactly what they sound like – shampoo in a bar form. They are convenient, easy to use and last forever! My current favorite is the Coconut Shampoo Bar from Obia Naturals. You can easily control how much you use and where the shampoo is applied which is what I like the most.

Liquid Shampoo – Good old-fashioned shampoo is great but can be hard to manage especially if you’re washing your hair in the shower. But, of course it’s convenient because you can find liquid shampoo at anywhere and probably already have a staple in your stash.  Make it easier to reach your scalp and rinse by diluting it with water in an applicator bottle.

Ways to Clean Your Scalp While Protective Styling

How do you ladies maintain your protective styles and installs?

What do you do to keep your scalp clean, healthy and happy?

Please tell me below!

Monet About Monet

Monet is a natural hair contributor to L4L and is also the Head-Curly-In-Charge at curlsandmo.com. Her main goals are to educate other naturalistas so that they don't make the same mistakes she did during her 14 month transition and to discuss new products, techniques and styles that work for her type 4 natural hair.

  • mandy

    some brands now make dry shampoo in a brunette formulation so it eliminates the white/dullness of its orginal formula. some people make their own too! nice post! i want to install braids and these can help!

  • guyanesesista

    One thing I do is a mix of witch hazel and tea tree oil which I apply to my scalp with q-tips or cotton balls. After using that ALL of my scalp itching goes away.

    • Theodora Onyinyechi Joannis

      I’ve tried that too and it works great!

  • Lisa

    There are dry shampoo in Brown colour as well. I ve used it, sometimes when i have flat ironed my hair and been to the gym to get the sweaty feeling out of my scalp. But i dont like it, it leaves a matte finsih and i like shiny finish more.
    I am not sure it will work on braids as it has to be brushed out of the hair. How do you do that with corn rows or box braids?

  • Breanna Ransburg

    It took me a long time to figure out the best way for me to wash my scalp while in a protective style. I tried applying shampoo to a wash cloth and scrubbing my scalp that way. That would loosen my braids tremendously. So I stopped doing that. I would wash my hair in the shower, but my hair is so thick, it would take FOREVER for it to dry. Now I dilute my shampoo in an applicator bottle and massage my scalp. This seems to work very well! Thanks for your post!

    • Theodora Onyinyechi Joannis

      Do you rinse after massaging it in? How?

      • Breanna Ransburg

        Yes. I use a spray bottle and spray my scalp ONLY with water until I feel all the shampoo has been rinsed out. I sit under a hooded dryer for maybe 10 mins and then go on with conditioning and moisturizing.

        • Theodora Onyinyechi Joannis

          I’ve tried it and it works really well! Thanks!