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dark and lovely protective styles

Source: Courtesy of Dark & Lovely / Dark & Lovely

As we all know, protective styles are a great way to be versatile with your look while also avoiding lots of manipulation or damage being done to your own hair. Whether your preference is braids, twists, weaves, wigs, or even a simple bun, protective styles can only be “protective” if your real hair underneath stays moisturized and healthy. That being said, Dark & Lovely’s Protective Styles Collection aims to help you do just that.

The line includes a Tension Tamer leave-in, to add some relief to your scalp if your installs often feel too tight, a Cleansing Water and Hair Refresher spray, to keep your scalp and styles clean, plus a Detangling Cream, to help you melt away any build-up your style might accumulate over time. Basically, no matter what phase of a protective style you’re in — after installation, during the maintenance of the style, or the takedown — the collection has a product to help you along the way. Key ingredients include peppermint oils for stimulation, a strengthening Rice Water Complex, aloe vera for soothing, and avocado oil for moisture — all while avoiding parabens, mineral oils, and dyes.

The line’s newest addition — the Hair Hydrator ($6.99) — is said to be a moisturizing leave-in “cream mist,” that provides “24-hour hydration and hair that is 2x stronger, with 58% less breakage.” As per their press release, Dark & Lovely claims the product is “perfect from the roots to the tips of your protective styles to care for and strengthen your hair.”

Overall, what shines most in the line is the Detangling Cream, the Tension Tamer, and the Cleansing Water. As someone who is constantly between having my hair in flat twists (so that it can lay flat underneath wigs), or buns (so that my natural hair isn’t constantly “out” and more susceptible to becoming damaged), those three products worked well for catering towards my lifestyle. Since I try to workout every day, parting my hair and massaging in the Cleansing Water definitely helped give my scalp a refreshed and clean feeling. Since I love products that stimulate my scalp, the peppermint in the Tension Tamer was a good follow-up, and it felt soothing on my edges — especially after rocking a tight bun or ponytail for a few days. As far as the Detangling Cream, it mostly served as a decent moisturizer when my hair was feeling super dry, but I don’t think it was particularly strong in making my hair easier to comb through.

In a surprising twist for me, the Hair Refresher was a fantastic way to spruce up two different wavy textured units I’ve been rocking on and off. I’ve never been huge on dry shampoos, but I can honestly say this product from Dark & Lovely is different. It didn’t leave a residue, or leave either one of my units looking and/or feeling weighed down. When applied on my scalp, I found it to be a nice alternative to the Cleansing Water in terms of giving me a clean feeling on those days when I was too lazy to massage through my scalp with the latter.

Unfortunately, the Hair Hydrator seemed to be the line’s biggest letdown. After using it on my scalp and roots every morning for some daily hydration, I actually found my scalp to be abnormally flaky after a few uses. Not wanting to rule it out completely, I opted to use it on the ends of my flat twists as a quick way to spray on moisture. Despite that being a good way to use the product, I still wouldn’t recommend it overall and would suggest purchasing the Detangling Cream instead if you’re looking to lock in some hydration.

Overall, protective styling is great because it gives your hair the time to focus on what you want it to do most, which is retain length and be healthy. To check out any of the products mentioned, try looking for them at your local drugstores, or shop the products online on Amazon.

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