Apply a treatment for strength. I don't use protein so I can't recommend any. Everyday Henna
has a Herbal blend called Lotus Powder Plus that strengthens your hair (without the dry feeling protein has). Then follow up with a deep conditioner like a Dominician Tropical CO. I like to saturate my hair with water before applying a conditioner for extra moisture. Cover with a shower cap
Then moisturize your hair and seal in the moisture. Give your hair/scalp a BREAK before getting braids.