At least once a year, I get braids installed in my hair to give my natural hair rest from my usual hair routine. It also gives me rest from spending at least 2 hours for my wash and style routine. Even though braids are a good protective style, they still need to be handled with care, so you can maximize the growth and repair potential.
1. Apply a Pre-Braid Treatment
It’s important to prep your hair before you install braids. I try to apply a protein treatment on my hair at least 1 to 2 weeks before I get braids. The protein treatment helps strengthen my hair and prevents unnecessary breakage from the pulling and tugging of long braids. After the protein treatment, I like to follow-up with a deep conditioner or a conditioning mask to restore the moisture back into my hair, which is so important. Protein treatments strip the hair of moisture during its strengthen process, so it’s important to restore the moisture.
2. Use a Moisturizing Spray
Moisturizing sprays are a must to prevent dry hair and an itchy scalp. The first week I installed my braids, I didn’t use a moisturizing spray, because I was in Nigeria and they didn’t have the product I like to use. Believe me, my scalp suffered for it. My scalp was so dry and itchy that I had to break down and get any kind of moisturizing spray to combat the itchiness. Now, I have learned to buy my products in advance, before I get braids, so I can start using them immediately without any mishaps. I recommend Grandma’s Secret Recipe Will-Gro Braid Spray it contains natural essential oils which helps not only moisture, but also nourish the hair and scalp. This product is the truth!
3. Wash Braids Regularly
Have you ever seen the ball of dirt and lint at the base of your braid? That’s comes from product build-up mix with daily dirt essentially. To help prevent that, I try to wash my hair at least once every two weeks. I said I try. It’s not easy to maintain a schedule sometimes, because the beauty of braids is that they are low-maintenance. With a busy schedule, sometimes I forget to wash my braids or I’m just plain lazy at that opportune moment. Try to combat the laziness. If not for you, than for others’ noses. If you can’t muster the daunting task of washing all your braids with shampoo and running water. Try an alternative by applying witch hazel with a cotton ball to cleanse your scalp. Witch hazel is a natural cleanser, so it will do the job with less stress. I prefer mixing shampoo and water in a spray bottle, spraying my scalp and massaging it to a nice lather than rinsing it out under the shower head. That way, the soapy water can run down the length of my braids to cleanse my entire braid with much effort.
4. Protect the Edges
Some don’t really like getting braids, because they had bad experiences with braids pulling out their edges from the root creating bald spots. I’ve had a few ripped edges myself. However, I’ve learned to be more gentle with my edges. I try tell the braider to resist pulling my edges too tight. I also have tried starting my braids in “steps.” Essentially, the braider starts each braid as mini cornrows to secure the hair to the scalp and than braids or twists as normal. It prevents the hair from pulling when it starts to grow. I also try to re-braid my edges when they are growing out at times.
5. Wear Updos
It is better to wear updos and static styles to reduce manipulation of your hair than to wear it loose. If your braids stay put, than your hair is less likely to get damaged underneath. Your hair will be protected, hence having a protective style. Braids are intended to be low-maintenance. Once I’m settle on an updo style for the week, I just put on my satin bonnet at night and spray my moisturizer in the morning.Voilà!
How do you take care of your natural hair when wearing braids?