Many naturals dread the idea of having to deep condition, knowing they may have to take down their protective style. But it very possible to get a good conditioning down without having to remove your braids, twists or sew-in.
Conditioning involves covering your scalp to your ends with a conditioner of your choice. It allows your hair to stay soft by sealing in moisture immediately following a shampoo. But with protective styles, much of the hair is already covered but you can still condition your scalp.
And it does not require you to take down your style. With most protective styles (sew-ins, braids, twists, corn rows, etc.) the scalp is still accessible so simply apply the conditioner to your scalp.
With some styles, especially with sew-ins with some natural hair left out or braids, you can apply the conditioning on the weave. For example, I am currently wearing Senegalese twist and how exactly how far down the braid my hair is so I can afford to condition some of the braid.
The downside to conditioning protective styles is that it could make them look a hot mess sooner than usual. The weekly manipulation of a deep conditioner, on top of the styling and product build, could cause the style to look more worn out faster.
Even so, this is a great way to maintain healthy hair without sacrificing the time and money to take down and redo a protective style.
Check out how this natural conditioned her box braids successfully.