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Curly Nikki

Protective Styles: Extensions and Weaves

By January 27th, 202128 Comments

Protective Styles: Extensions and Weaves
Nicole C. writes:

I’m currently wearing a protective style- twists with extensions. This is my first time, and as the time draws closer for me to remove them, I find myself wondering if there is a method I should follow to minimize damage to my hair. I realize that there will be a lot of strands falling due to it being up for so long. But I want to avoid breakage if possible. Also I’m not sure on what I should do first after taking them down… do I deep condition, and then cleanse? Or should I just go about my regular routine with an added deep treatment? Any suggestions?

Have you ever worn weaves, wigs, or extensions as a protective style?

For those of you that do, what tips and suggestions on maintenance, styling, and care, do you have for the curious?


  • Dorian @ Big Apple Style says:

    I know I'm super late to the party, but I would say if your twist came right off, it may have been put in too tight. I've worn everything from micros to sew ins and full lace wigs (with tape). The only time I had any kind of thinning or actual damage to my hair was when I was religiously wearing micros. If the tension is too much, it can end up making you lose a bit of hair. Micros definitely thinned my edges – even to the point that even today, the very front of my center part is STILL a bit thin even though I haven't worn micros since 2006. It's one of the reasons I stopped wearing them. I'd rather have cornrows as a base for a full lace wig or a sew-in than a head full of tiny braids – each creating excessive tension. And I love flw because I could even get away with just wrapping my hair, and putting a stocking cap on – and then applying the wig – even less prep!

    But when taking down anything, I definitely suggest that you detangle as you go. I usually get to work with a rat tail comb (to undo micros) and a big bottle of detangler. I liberally spray my entire head with detangler before I undo even the first cornrow. Then I spray down hair that I just took down and immediately begin detangling.

  • Unknown says:

    I just got twists for the first time as a protective style and i feel like my hair is thinning around the edges. One twist even came off and i freaked out. Not sure what i'm doing wrong. Its only been a week so its a little scary!

  • Nicole C. says:

    To Anonymous 2/15 7:31 pm

    I did my regular wash routine and did a deep treatment before I got my twist put in. These have slid off but only 1, my edges do not look thin, but I will know for sure once I take them out.

    Thank you everyone for giving me advice!

  • Anonymous says:

    Im interested to know how you prepare your hair FOR the braids. I wore braid extensions in the 90's but they always 1. slid off of my hair 2. thinned my hair (not just the edges).
    I havent wone any since like '95 (when I stopped the relaxer madness [for me it was madness]). Lately Ive been interested in trying them again but I am completely baffled as to how I should prep.

  • FunkyStarkitty50 says:

    I wear half wigs some days, but only those that match my natural hair pattern. I wash my hair three times a week,DC once a week and leave it in twists underneath while lightly oiling/massaging with Castor oil, lavender oil, or Shima oil. I also have little tangling with the twist style, but f do, I use Kinky Curly Knot Today(Best Thing that ever happened to me!!!)

  • KindredSmile says:

    The most important step for me after the usual detangling/conditioning that most others have mentioned is to CLARIFY. This was essential to removing buildup and avoiding matting (for me, at least).

  • LegallyNautural says:

    I have been wearing kinky twists for about 6 months now since being natural. I finally found a method that works for me. I take down a section of twists, and once I do that I plait (braid) that section and then repeat the process until I have briads all over my head. I then fill a spray bottle with conditoner or leave in conditioner and some type of oil and spray each section and detangle each section and then braid it back up. After that, I wash my hair with the sectioned braids and deep cpndition and sit under a dryer. I noticed doing this is time consuming but you are bteer able to control breakage and detangle easier. Hope this helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    great tips here! Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    On take down day, remove each twist as gently as possible, no pulling! Don't comb them out, instead when you have taken down a large enough section, you can clip or braid it loosely. When you are done, apply conditioner to each section, and detangle each one. Afterwards, wash while gently rubbing to cleanse the scalp. Do a deep treatment, then proceed to style however you want

    • Renae says:

      I take down sections as well, detangle and then rebraid.. I have more control of my hair and less breakage. A detangler and leave in conditioner is a must. I try to let my hair rest a week before going back into any protective style.

  • Unknown says:

    Be very careful taking them down and moisturize them to the max while wearing the style. Your hair should be in good condition when you take it down.

  • Anonymous says:

    I hope you only keep your hair in a protective style for 6-8 weeks MAX!!!! If I have had my hair braided up for 4 weeks of less then I spray my hair profusely with and inexpensive oil sheen before unbraiding and then unbraid and untangle my hair with my fingers; shampoo; deep condition using a high-quality brand and comb through with widetooth comb. If I've had my hair braided up longer,I spray my hair profusely with and inexpensive oil sheen before unbraiding and then unbraid and untangle my hair with my fingers; apply a generous amount of inexpensive conditioner and comb with widetooth comb; shampoo; deep condition using a high-quality brand and comb through with widetooth comb.

  • Bobbie says:

    Currently wearing braids extension. I plan on wearing them throughout the year because I want to retain length. Beside this NY winter in brutal.
    I got some points on how to care for my hair while wearing braids/plaits from the crown & glory method ( I still stick with my staple products but I dilute them with water. Wash and deep conditions every 2 wks. (I know sounds scary but your hair will get frizzy) I moisturize every other day with oils
    such Jamaican castor oil, morrocan oil or zuresh rebirh (
    Every 4-6 wks I get a touch-up around the edges to avoid breakage.
    I wear a silk scarf – under my hats, in the house and to bed. It important to protect your hair from dryness and pulling.

    When taking out the braid it is normal to see bunched of knot and dead hair. Remember we did not comb our hair for 2-3 months. Be sure to use a wide tooth comb. comb your hair thorough to avoid tangle and knot when ready to wash.
    Hope this helps.
    Good luck!


  • Anonymous says:

    I love this dicussion! I'm taking notes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I did a wig once: I plated my hair and would moisturized every other day!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just took out my braids and I used water to loosen the dirt then lots of cheapo, but good, conditioner! I like Lustrasilk's cholesterol conditioners (I used the aloe vera one, this is the only thing with mineral oil that I use), it makes my hair feel SOFT!!!!! and it makes it easy to do!! Also I love being natural and I love my kinky curls! But I'm not ready to display my SHORT hair to the world yet and I don't want braids again for a while! So I chose to just keep silk lined hats on while out and about for now. I will probably straighten my bangs (when my bangs get longer) and I'll keep the rest curly!!!

  • aliyakeys says:

    Spray hot water on each braid you take out, then comb once or twice with a detangling comb. Repeat this until all the twists are out. When all of the braids are out, spray your whole head with hot water and apply deep conditioner in 4 sections of hair(I use LeKair Cholesterol because it works so well)Put on a plastic cap and wait for 45 minutes. Then, rinse it out and shampoo and condition as usual.

  • Asha says:

    I've never had weave or braids or any other style using addrd hair. Mainly because the thought of having someone elses hair on my head scares me. So I stick with single plaits, twists and other protective styles.

  • Erika says:

    I tend to go between sew-in's & micro braids. The takedown is key for me since my hair is very fine and extremely prone to mechanical damage. I go very heavy on products in this phase because I need the "slip" they provide.

    Microbraids, twists, etc.:
    1) I saturate my hair in "braid take down" spray. Concentrating on the base of the braid with my fingers to dissolve build up, then repeat working the spray through the braids ( extension ends already cut)

    2) I then saturate my hair with a good "slip" conditioner mixed with a little olive oil, working it through the braids, hop in the shower to steam for about 10-15 minutes then put on a plastic cap and let it all sit for another 30-45 minutes.

    4) When taking down my braids "slip" is key. If a braid feels even a little dry I re-wet it with more spray or Taliah Waajid Mist Bodifier ( be careful if you are protein sensitive)

    I use the end of a "rat tail" comb to take out each braid & use my fingers to detangle. I stretch my hair & clip it out of the way with a duckbill. When a section is done I spray it, lightly detangle with a seamless shower comb & braid or twist it. For me small sections work best..

    I use "baby" scissors to remove the track and net, then saturate my hair with Taliah Waajid Mist Bodifier or a braid take down spray massaging it through. I then apply a good "slip" conditioner mixed with a little OO, sit under a dryer with a plastic cap for 10-15 minutes then I remove the braids, using my fingers as much as possible.

    After the take down ( braids or sew in)
    1) Rinse my hair then apply a good pre-poo, plastic cap & low heat for 20 minutes, then leave on for a few hours or over night. I then detangle with the shower comb while pre-poo is on.

    2) Wash with a good clarifying shampoo (I like Keracare 1st lather), followed by a moisturizing shampoo ( Keracare as well)

    3) Protein treatment, usually aphogee or kercare reconstructor ( FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE BOTTLE) before proceeding

    4) Deep Condition ( with heat for 10-15 minutes & leave on usually for a few hours, or if possible overnight)

    After rinsing the DC I apply my leave in's etc & detangle with the shower comb one last time. However, this next time I'm going to try the "tangle teezer"

    Alot of steps, but it has resulted in healthier hair & retained length for me.

    While in sew-in/braids I wash weekly & apply a light, water based leave in conditioner spiked with rosemary & tea tree oils followed by a light scalp massage.

  • Anonymous says:

    Whenever you are taking down a protective style opt for protein. Just think…your strand have undergone alot of tension due to that added pulling and weight from the weave. After detangling throughly (TO AVOID MATTING) and washing/shampooing use a heavy duty protein treatment. I use the Aphogee 2 step or Kera Care Super Reconstructor THEN follow up with a deep moisturizing conditioner. A good cheapie is Lustrasilk Mango and Shea Butter. Its tried and true and really intensely conditions my hair.

  • Eboni Morgan says:

    I'm no stranger to braids, and to minimize breakage, I:
    – Do a short deep condition (1-5 mins)
    – follow up with a hot oil treatment WITHOUT washing out.
    – Usually my braids will slip out easily without much breakage, but if I realise that the braids isn't slipping out, I start from the bottom and unbraid/untwist.

    Hope this helps!!! 🙂

  • socialitedreams says:

    it is very important to do things right when you take down braids! otherwise you can end up with a dreaded/matted mess that needs to be cut off (yikes!) i wrote a post explaining how i take down my extensions with minimal breakage and then cleanse:

    Minimizing Matting after braids

  • Anonymous says:

    I think the main thing to understand is your hair texture. If your hair is prone to tangles and knots then remove slowly and detangle as you go. If you have dry hair you should deep condition after you shampoo. Like Anon 1:06pm said you should wash and condition while your twists are installed. This helps reduce the amount of product and dirt buildup you have in your twists. That way when you take them down it will make detangling a lighter chore.

    I wear weaves and extensions A LOT as my protective style. When taking down my hair I first section my hair. I then take a cheapy conditioner and water mixture and saturate the section I am taking down. I take them down in small groups and finger detangle as I go. Once the entire section is out I apply more of the conditioner and water mixture (for slip) and detange with a large tooth comb and then put my hair in large loose twists. I do this until my entire head is out of the extensions.

    I then shampoo each section and then apply a warm oil and deep conditioner and cover with a conditioning cap. I let it sit on my hair for about an hour (no reason other than I generally workout or clean the house while I have the conditioner in and its covered). After that I rinse and then I apply a pH balanced leave in and oil or butter to seal in moisture. Lastly I put my hair in loose twists while my hair dries. I try not to manipulate my hair for a few days after that so I generally take out my hair on a Friday and leave it in the loose twists til Sunday evening when I will restyle for a twist out and wear it out for about a week or two before putting it back into a protective style.

    If you have not been washing and conditioning while your hair has been in extensions clarify shampoo instead of a regular shampoo. But the key to taking care of your hair is listening to your hair. Give it what it asks for and you will be ok.

  • Anonymous says:

    When takein out my clients braids I use sulfur8 medicated anti-dandruff treatment for braids (spray) Before taking out the braids I use this spray on the hole head, mostly focusing on the roots to dissolve the lint and dander build up that accumulates at the root. That build up if not taken out properly then it will take out your hair. let spray sit for a while and then gentle from tip to root remove the twist. you can add conditioner for slip if you like. after taken out the twist the lint mass that is at the root should be soften so use a wide tooth comb to remove it. Hope this help.

  • Nelly says:

    For about half of my natural hair journey my hair was in braided extensions. I was actually just talking about how much I missed them.Typically when I take down my hair after having it in extensions I detangle first with my fingers as I remove each braid. Afterwards I put my entire hair in about six to eight large twist and gently comb through each section with a wide tooth comb. Following that I would pre-poo my hair with Grapeseed oil overnight and wash and deep condition my hair the following morning. Hope this helps.

  • Tara Shenéa says:

    I wear braid extensions 3-6 months out of the year, every year, and I have very full edges, and healthy long hair. When in braids I treat my scalp with herbal oil and Taliah Waajid’s Protective Mist Bodifier using one or the other every 3 days or so. Once a week I treat my braids with my homemade spritz which includes water, Infusium 23, oils, and other beneficial ingredients. I scalp cleanse with a Black Tea Rinse every two weeks to reduce shedding. My hair grows fast so at the end of 6 weeks, I return to the shop to get the perimeter of my hair rebraided. I do this to minimize loose braids twisting which causes breakage around the hairline. The style usually lasts another 3-4 weeks after the retouch.

    When it is time to remove the braids, I cut them below the ends of my hair and saturate my hair with water and Taliah Waajid’s Protective Mist Bodier (awesome slip) or with a spritz bottle filled with water and Suave Professionals Almond & Shea Butter conditioner. I remove all braids, section my hair, and then finger comb/detangle through each area removing shed hairs. I then go through each section gently with a wide tooth comb , place each in large twists, and then shampoo and deep condition my hair using a hooded dryer. If my hair is due for a protein treatment, I may do that in place of the deep condition. I usually let my hair breathe for 2 weeks to a month before rebraiding with my next protective style.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is a good idea to wash and condition your hair while the twists are installed if you are keeping them in for more than a month. Strongly suggest that you detangle each section as you take each twist out. You can have product build up and shed hairs that become matted at the root. So, definitely think it is crucial that you un-matt each section before you let any water touch your head. Using an oil (coconut is probably a good choice) would probably help with the detangling process and serve as a pre-poo. And you absolutely should apply a deep treatment after washing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Detangle with leave in conditioner, shampoo, Apple cider vinegar rinse, deep conditon with plastic cap under dryer for 30-60 minutes, rinse, put leave in conditioner in, oil my scalp and hair then put my hair in twists.

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