Protective hairstyles have become a go-to look for many women of color that would like to give their natural strands a break — especially during the summer months.
These hairstyles can range from box braid extensions to faux locs, cornrows and beyond.
"A protective style is any style that protects the ends of your hair strands from being damaged," Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist and StyleSeat natural hair care specialist Erinn Courtney told "Good Morning America."
"The benefits of protective styles are that they're low maintenance and time efficient for everyday life," she added. "You also have the ability to maintain the length of your hair without it being damaged by outside elements, heat, or chemicals."
While these styles give women the range and versatility to try a wide variety of different looks, continuing to care for your natural strands is paramount if you want to maintain overall hair and scalp health.
Several experts agree that it's also important to consult with a professional on how long to keep your protective style, weave, or extensions in before removing and getting your style refreshed.
Just ahead, Courtney -- who has created protective style looks for everyone from Willow Smith to singer-songwriter Goapele -- breaks down her best tips and practices for caring for your natural hair while also maintaining box braids, wigs, twists and and more.
By clicking on these shopping links, visitors will leave Goodmorningamerica.com. These e-commerce sites are operated under different terms and privacy policies than Goodmorningamerica.com. ABC will receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Prices may change from the date of publication.
Tips for preserving your natural hair while wearing protective styles
GMA: What are some of your top maintenance tips for those who want to wear box braids, knotless, cornrow extensions, etc. this summer, but also preserve the health of their natural hair?
Erinn Courtney: Wearing these protective styles is actually the first step in preserving the health of natural hair. While wearing these styles, be sure to moisturize your natural hair with oil as synthetic hair tends to draw moisture from your hair. Be sure to protect the style at night or while lounging with a silk or satin scarf to avoid ruining the look. Adding styling foam to the look once a week before wrapping it in a scarf can also help to preserve the look longer and cut down on frizz.
How do you properly wash your box braids without ruining your style?
To wash your braids without ruining the style, focus the washing mainly on the scalp area without scratching too vigorously. Use the pads of your fingertips to gently cleanse the scalp, then rinse without disturbing the actual braids with your fingers.
What are some best practices for wearing protective styles while also keeping your natural strands healthy?
Be sure to get a good foundation or braid down. This will help to protect the ends of your hair under the wig or weave. Deep condition and trim your hair often so that while your hair is under the wig, it can grow and maintain length. It's also a good practice to keep your natural hair moisturized with oil or conditioning cream.
What are some of your top go-to products for maintaining natural strands while wearing box braids or protective styles?
I love Palmer's Shine Therapy Hair & Scalp Oil. It's easy to use to evenly distribute oil through the scalp and hair while wearing braids. I also love the Sunday II Sunday Root Refresh. It's light but moisturizing and great for women who are frequently active and on the go. It keeps the hair moisturized and smelling really fresh.