I suggest the following steps to care for and have healthy braids
BEFORE YOU BRAID
Sometimes stylists will tell you that relaxing your hair just before braiding will make your braids neater and the front ends silkier. Truth is the neatness of your braids depends on how good the stylist is.
Shampoo your hair so it’s at its strongest state. It makes your hair more elastic during the styling process and is less prone to breakage.
Deep condition your hair a day before you have the braids done. Continue to do this to your hair even when you have the braids in at least once in two weeks. Concentrate more on the root/scalp of the braids than the body itself.
MAINTAINING THE BRAIDS
If the hair was done really tight then you might want to massage your hair on the first day with some warm water, and then apply oils around the edges frequently for up to seven days. This is to ease the tension and avoid hair loss from the root for the first two days after the braids.
Make sure the scalp is clean and moisturized to prevent it from becoming itchy and flaky.
Sleep with a satin scarf, to reduce frizz, preserve the style longer and present dirt from getting on your scalp. It also protects your roots from drying out when you sleep.
Avoid unnatural products when keeping hair moisturized. Opt for natural oils like coconut oil and almond oil. These oils are great for soothing the scalp and retaining moisture without building up and clogging your pores like generic braid sprays often will.
Avoid constant up-dos and DON’T PULL TOO TIGHTLY WHEN STYLING. Constantly styling your hair into high ponytails pulls at your hairline. Limit updo styling to three or four times a week rather than every day.
Redo your edges. Several times I have taken off my braids because the edges were rough. Rather than rebraid your entire head just re-install the braids along your hairline.
Take extra care to detangle and deep condition before reinstalling your braids again. Remember that your edges are already fragile, so they need a little bit of extra care and attention.
HOW TO WASH BRAIDS
- Irrespective of what stylists say, wash your braids once in 2 weeks. Washing your braids every two weeks will allow the braids to retain its strength and reduce early rough appearance.
- Place a small amount of shampoo into your hand.
- Rub both hands together to form lather.
- Using the balls of your fingers, apply the lather to your scalp only.
- With circular motions, rub the shampoo into your scalp, being careful to place your fingers beneath your braids.
- Rinse thoroughly, letting the downward motion of the water pull suds through the braids.
- Follow up with a conditioner if your braids are your own hair, but this isn’t necessary with extensions.
- Squeeze excess water from your braids.
- Dry them with a soft towel or better yet, an old tee shirt, by squeezing them in sections. Do not rub them dry.
- Moisturize your braids like it’s your hair. Mix water and coconut oil in a bottle and just spray it on the braids up to the point your hair stops. Then apply some olive oil on the braids up until the point your hair stops. No need to moisturize the parts of the braids not containing your hair.
HOW TO PUT BRAIDS IN A BUN
Step 1: Tip your hair upside down and section hair off into two sections: front and back,
Step 2: Wrap the front section around the back section and tie in a knot to form a ponytail,
Step 3: Stand up straight and let the hair fall down,
Step 4: Wrap sections of the hair around the base of the ponytail and fix in place with hair grips.
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