I've Been Wearing Braids for 15+ Years—These 16 Products Save My Curls

Over the last 15 years, I've been wearing my hair in protective styles on and off. Over time, I've developed a skill for curating haircare and building a high-performing product lineup that meets all my hair needs. When testing products, I also spend a good chunk of time noting which ingredients help revive my tight curls after they come out of their braids and twists and which ones send my hair to an early grave. I can't even begin to tell you how many products I had to give away because they left my hair feeling worse than it did before application!

As we all know, finding the hair products that work best for your unique needs and lifestyle can be challenging, but it doesn't mean the search won't pay off. To make yours a little easier, I've gathered 22 detangling products, shampoos, conditioners, and more that have completely restored my curls to their healthiest state from brands like OurX, Briogeo, Salwa Petersen, and many more.

The Best Post–Protective Style Hair Products

(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

Step 1: Washday Prep

Step 2: Washing and Conditioning

Step 3: Detangling

The Best Post-Protective Style Hair Products

(Image credit: @claire_most)

4. Styling and Setting

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Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for Parade.com as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, Itsmayalala.com. When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.