With winter right around the corner, and many curlies looking to give their tresses a break, we decided to reach out to one of our favorite Natural Hair Stylists, Markeita Pruitt of Touch of Heaven Hair Lounge, to provide some best practices for maintaining healthy hair by protective styling this Winter!
About Touch of Heaven Hair Lounge– Located in the far-north Houston suburb of Humble, Texas, Touch of Heaven Hair Lounge caters to women from all walks of life. Owner and Head Stylist, Markeita Pruitt, has 11 years professional experience caring for natural curly hair, and is best known for her protective styles and taper cuts. Markeita’s clients include everyone from working professionals to college students throughout the greater Houston area. We’ve sat down with Markeita to learn more about her background with natural hair and get the latest scoop on protective styling!
TréLuxe- Hello Markeita! We’re so glad to hear from you on this important topic! Before we get into the details of protective styling we first wanted to find out what led you to focus on natural hair styling instead of the chemical treatments/services that many Stylists rely on?
Markeita- Touch of Heaven Hair Lounge (TOH)- Hi! It’s my pleasure! From the beginning, I was never a huge fan of relaxers. It was something we were taught was a necessity. I originally had just a handful of natural clients, while servicing about 95% chemically relaxed clients. It was after seeing the damage of clients hair, as well as many suffering from underlying health conditions, that I began to educate my clientele on the risks of continuing chemically processing their hair. From there, I began transitioning clients almost as a bet! [The bet was] if their hair wasn’t healthier and fuller, I’d transition them back to relaxers. Shortly after, the natural movement surfaced and the rest was history.
TréLuxe- Ok, so now that we’ve learned more about you and your salon, let’s talk hair! What are some important tips you can share with us for maintaining natural curls through the winter months?
Markeita (TOH)- The winter months are low humidity months, so can contribute to dryness of hair and scalp. So I suggest a nice balanced deep conditioner that delivers moisture and strength (protein) as well as a daily moisturizer and leave in that provides maximum moisture retention. Also, protective styling / low manipulation styling through these months is a great option, as this helps minimize fairy knots and retains length.
TréLuxe- Protective styling season is upon us. For those who don’t know, how would you define a “protective style”, and what are the main benefits of protective styling during the winter months?
‘Protective Style: “Any style that affords you a week or two (or more) without having to constantly manipulate the hair”‘.
Markeita (TOH)- Protective Styling is considered a low or no manipulation style such as two strand twists, braided / twisted updo, goddess braids, halo / crown braid – any style that affords you a week or two (or more) without having to constantly manipulate the hair. Utilizing protective styles allows one to retain length & moisture when hair is properly prepped, as well as minimize split ends caused by over manipulation, fairy knots and improper detangling/styling.
TréLuxe- What are some best practices that you preach and instill when it comes to helping clients to maintain their protective styles between salon visits.
“clean scalp breeds healthy conditions for hair growth and overall health of hair and scalp”.
Markeita (TOH)- I always start by prepping the hair by clarifying and conditioning according to the need of the hair. I stress to clients that a clean scalp breeds healthy conditions for hair growth and overall health of hair and scalp. I utilize products that give prolonged moisture, and seal them to maximize moisture while wearing styles. If needed, I suggest an oil for the scalp be done once every 3 days or so, as well as a leave in mixture (if needed) of water, liquid leave in conditioner, and a light oil to deliver moisture throughout wear of style, but this is hardly a necessity if proper prep work is done prior to installation of protective style.
TréLuxe- What are some signs that it’s time to take down a protective style?
Markeita (TOH)- Dry scalp is a tell tale sign, as well as loosening of braids / twists. You never want to wear a protective style for too long as it can lead to unintentional locking of the hair because of natural daily shedding that gets trapped in the styles. If you notice lent buildup or knotting, it is time to remove style. Overextending the wear of a protective style can be detrimental to hair health.
TréLuxe- We love how you use TréLuxe products to create some of these unique styles. What are your favorite TréLuxe products to use for protective styling? How/when do you use them in the salon for protective styles?
Markeita (TOH)- My favorite Tréluxe products for protective styling are the Curl Supreme 4-in-1 Hydrating Creme and Untie the Knot Nourishing Leave-in Conditioner. These two foundational products set the perfect stage for protective styling. Applied after shampooing and conditioning, followed with a good oil such as argan or almond oil, have most clients returning 2-3 weeks later with moisturized hair without much in between maintenance being done.
TréLuxe- Stylists often end up fixing wrongs, or curly hair woes when DIY styling goes wrong. What is the craziest thing you’ve had to deal with in the salon?
Markeita (TOH)- Of course the most common mistake having to be fixed is heat damage. But the craziest I would have to say is detangling hair that’s been rod set or worn in wash and go for a month without combing. Or parents who let their children “play” in their hair, resulting in an hour+ detangling session.
TréLuxe- Wow. Yes, we could do a whole article just on those issues as we hear those types of stories too. We’ll have to get your feedback on how to address those issues sometime down the line! For now, thanks for sharing your insights on protective styling!
For More Information
For products that maintain protective styles, try our Curl Renew & Restore Gentle Cleansing Rinse to cleanse dirt debris, and buildup; our Untie the Knot Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner to moisturize and detangle; and our Curl Supreme 4-in-1 Styling Creme to soften, strengthen, moisturize, and provide soft hold.