Friday, November 11, 2011

Long Term Protective (LTP) Styling

So how long have you left a style in your child's hair?

For me it really depends on the style. When I was growing up my mother was not a fan of styles with many braids on the head. She'd do them occasionally, but she believed styles of 6 braids or less (her signature style for me was 3 braids) looked more refined. This meant my hair was styled EVERY morning. My mother also did a fantastic job of making sure our hair looked fresh and smooth every day. She worked full time and lacked the time to put in numerous braids/cornrows or twists. Our hair was washed every other Saturday and she meticulously worked out the tangles until her comb slid through. I STILL marvel about this because I have the kind of hair that will mesh right back up unless you lock it in place and keep it far away from water. Grease was the order of the day. While my hair never grew past a certain length I had a lush head of hair under my mother's care. I think if she would have left my hair alone more, she would have enjoyed the lengths I achieved as an adult applying the principles I know now.

I left Hmg and Mg3's hair in twists for a month!!!! I washed their hair and scalp in the twists (which was MUCH easier than managing loose hair). I let them do what they do which meant their hair was liberally doused every day in the shower. Once their hair fuzzed up we managed it with girlish updo styles, headbands and other colorful accessories and set the frizz with a braid out set. I expected the take down to be a nightmare because of meshing. I washed their hair with the twists still in and sat down to take down the style. I planned to work twists by twist--finger detangle, apply shea butter mix and retwist. Their hair was still very damp so the step of spritzing was eliminated (LOVE this!) until I had completed most of the style.

Their twists came down easily! There were some loose hairs trying to hold the 2 sections of twisted hair together but I was able to pull the hair apart without as much effort as I had expected. Finger detangling went so much more quickly than I expected that I managed to process all 4 girls in 3 hours!!!!

As I said, I must repeat this process and see what I did.

I am planning to go another month (Hmg and Mg2) with this new set of twists--washing their hair with shampoo every two weeks and letting them rinsing as needed. I will periodically check back in with you on how we are working with the frizz. At the end of the month I want to see if I have the same experience with take down.

If I am successful, I plan to start a challenge YOU can join me on.

This approach is for Hmg and Mg2. I haven't tried this on Mocha Baby yet because she won't sit still long enough for me to put in a style I could work with for a month. I haven't tried it on Mg3 (my fuzzy wuzzy princess), because I'm not sure her strands will stay twisted through washing for a month.

What do you think? Would you be interested?


  1. Great post. I love how you are such a discoverer even though you are also such a veteran of great haircare!

    My hair must be similar to MG3's because every time you mention her hair I pretty much relate. Forget one month ... just one day in twists and my hair is fuzzy and the strands are wriggling out of the twists.

    I can run water through it daily when it's loose. If it's in twists the water will just wash the twists out.

    I don't have any girls, but yes I'd love for you to do a challenge, even if I'm an observer and not a participant. :-D

  2. I think of Mg3's hair as a great treasure and me as the guardian. I'm just keeping it safe for her until she's ready to handle it. One summer I learned that her hair loves to be loose and to get wet. Wash and go hair. Refresh it every day--hair. I'm not in a position to do that but one day she will be and my goal is to preserve it until she's ready.

  3. Beautiful way of thinking - "preserve it until she's ready"!! Love it! I am struggling with embracing fuzz, even thought I know it's for the health of my daughter's hair!!!

  4. We are on the second week of twists with my 3 year old and they are holding up pretty good, though fuzzy. I think I will need to retwist the top, and most fuzzy ones, this week but they are holding up great. We spritz with water every morning then apply some shea butter with finger hugs.

  5. Yes! I would be interested in a challenge. I would love for you to post pictures too. It is hard for me to picture. My younger two daughters can't go more than 5-8 days w/o it needing to be redone. I can't imagine them lasting a month!

  6. "I think of MG3's hair as a great treasure and me as the guardian." That's beautiful.

  7. How do you successfully shampoo-wash hair with twists (or other styles) in? When I try to scrub the scalp, I end up pulling some hair out of the styles so that we end up with more fuzz? If I don't scrub well, I feel like I'm not cleaning the hair. One reason I take hair down earlier than I'd like is b/c I feel like there is an odor on the scalp b/c I can't get it washed well.

  8. @Wiggins Fuzz is unavoidable. I try to minimize it by concentrating on the scalp. I try to keep my finger tips (not nails) on the scalp and lift my fingers up completely before moving to the next section. I work carefully. I let the suds move down the length of the twists as I rinse. When it's time to dry I gentle squeeze the water out of the twists section by section--I don't rub. I STILL get lots of fuzz but it's not terrible. In the Winter I'm not washing their hair more often then every other week unless we swim or do something unusually sweaty.