I have THE WORST track record when it comes to taking care of braided hair. I get extremely lazy with them and this results in damage along my hairline. I have noticed that unlike my friends or cousins I have quite a weak hairline which is most likely a genetic thing because my sister and mother have the same problem. So as a result I have no choice but to be EXTRA careful when I have braids.
I used to braid my hair quite often but now I try to stay in my hair for longer periods of time to keep braiding to a minimum. I’m currently giving myself a break however and I’m in long “Brandy” braids reminiscent of the 90s
I’ve always loved long braids, I feel fabulous in them so they’re usually my style of choice when braiding. This time however I decided to take care of them properly so that my hair doesnt suffer. After some research I came up with a few rules:
1. Deep condition your hair before braiding.
This puts the hair in a heathy state before the braids are put in.
2.When your hair is being braided make sure they are not braided too tight.
If the braids are too tight they may pull out your hair!
3. If you relax your hair, braid it at least 2 weeks after a re-touch/relaxing.
Relaxing leaves your hair week so braiding immediately after is not advisable.
4. Gently wash your braids once a week or once every two weeks.
Most people don’t like washing their braids often because the washing causes the hair to frizz up which makes the braids look messy. However if you ‘rinse’ your hair rather than vigorously wash it, the frizziness shud be minimal. Most recommend diluting the shampoo with water before applying it to your scalp and gently massaging your scalp. Leave the shampoo on for a few minutes then rinse with cool water.
Some people sponge wash which is the use of a sponge to massage the diluted shampoo through the hair rather than hands. Again the key here is to be gentle.
5. Deep condition your hair after washing.
Gently apply conditioner to the extensions taking care to cover all your hair (which for me would not be the whole extension as my braids are quite long). Follow the same routine you would if you were in your hair, condition, leave for 30mins to an hour or so and rinse with cold water (Cold water helps to minimize frizz).
6. Cover your braids with a scarf when sleeping
This also helps prevent frizz caused by friction when you’re moving arnd in bed.
7. Moisturize your scalp regularly with a braid spray.
This prevents itching and helps to keep the braids looking fresh. Take care to not put too much product because it will build up at the root of the extension so use sparingly. Some people use scalp oils like the one below
however personally I don’t like using thick oils on my scalp so I opt for light oil sprays.
8. Keep your hairline moisturized
Whenever you shower or wash your face chances are water will touch your hairline and most of us neglect to moisturize it again when it dries. So after washing your face or showering remember to moisturize your hairline!
9. Check the braids along your hairline often for signs of weakness.
If your hair extensions are beginning to loosen up or if the hair strands holding the extension are thinning out either undo the braid and re-braid it or remove it permanently. This is especially important with micro braids because they commit suicide (fall out) faster than medium sized braids.
10. Don’t use styles that pull on your braids a lot
Pulling your braids means pulling your hair which could also cause braids to commit suicide so avoid styles that use a lot of tension.
11. Do not keep the braids on for more than 2 months at the most.
Leaving them in longer than that could cause hair loss. After removing your braids give your hair some love! Deep condition and treat with hot oils as well and let it rest for at least a week before doing anything else to it.
I hope those tips help those of you with braids. I will definitely be putting all these into practice this time around.