Do you love wearing protective styles as much as I do? Listen, I’ve been rocking a protective style in my hair for five consecutive months. I’ve just NOT been about that ‘spending my whole entire being maintaining my natural hair’ life lately. Sometimes you’ll fall into that funk, and it’s okay. That’s the time when you experiment with other cute hairstyles that are perfect for giving you that much needed break from your hair, such as weaves, box braids, marley twists, crochet braids, and faux locs.
Any time I prepare to do a protective style, I pre-treat my synthetic braiding hair with a diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) mixture to clean the hair and remove the alkaline base coated on it. Why do I do this? Well, I learned a few years ago that I am allergic to the alkaline coating on most synthetic braiding hair. At that time, I had Senegalese Twists installed with Kanekalon braiding hair. About a week after getting this style, my scalp became mad itchy and started forming tiny red bumps all over.
I spent an entire day at work googling a remedy to this allergic reaction because I damn sure wasn’t taking out those Senegalese Twists after it took 10 hours to have them installed. From my search, I learned that I should have pre-treated the hair with diluted ACV.
How is this process done?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a process because it’s so simple to do, but here are the steps:
- Remove the synthetic braiding hair from the pack. (Make sure you leave the rubber band on that keeps the hair bundled together.)
- Fill your sink with one part ACV and three parts hot water. Make sure you fill the sink with enough hot water to cover all of the synthetic braiding hair you have.
- Add the synthetic braiding hair to the water and let it soak for about 15 minutes. (After a while, you will see white residue rising from the hair. It’s pretty gross.)
- Thoroughly rinse the synthetic braiding hair with cool water, and then let the hair air dry.
** Tip: Don’t waste money on Bragg’s or other organic ACV for soaking. The processed store-bought ACV works just fine. Also, once the hair is completely dry, the ACV scent disappears.
Even if you aren’t allergic to the alkaline base in synthetic braiding hair, I would still recommend soaking the hair before installing. You never know where that hair has been and what’s possibly in it. For all you know, the hair could have been laying on some factory floor with rats and roaches turnin’ up on it. Just sayin’.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve realized a lot of people aren’t aware of allergic reactions happening from synthetic hair, including some hair stylists. If you go to a shop to get your protective styles installed, before your appointment, inquire if the stylists pre-treat or clarify the synthetic braiding hair they use. If they don’t, bring your own pre-treated hair. Better safe than sorry!
I wrote a post about my allergic reaction to synthetic braiding hair a couple of years ago for Black Girl Long Hair. Check it out to see if you may have experienced or are currently experiencing the same reaction.