BEAUTY A-Z

How to Care for Your Braids

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I was of the opinion that if I had on braids for a long time, it will automatically grow my hair and I wouldn’t have to do anything else. A big lie and I learnt the hard way, I learnt the hard way that, when you have braids on is the best time to take care of your hair. I discovered that it was pointless to wear braids for 3 months only to realize that the situation and condition of my hair-especially the front strands was worst than it was before I wore the braids.

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I suggest the following steps to a healthy braids wearing and to achieve satisfaction once the braids are out.

Make sure you avoid applying braids in your hair until after 2 weeks of any chemical input.  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. This way it’s more elastic during the styling process and is less prone to breakage.

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Deep condition your hair a day before you have the braids done. Continue to deep condition your hair even when you have the braids in at least once in 2 weeks.  I suggest you use a conditioner that is rich in protein or you can use an equal proportion of shea butter and coconut oil as deep conditioner.

For the first two days after the braids. Apply coconut or olive oil around the edges up to twice a day to ease the tension and avoid hair loss from the root. Any other oil will do really. If the hair was done really tightly 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.

Coconut oil helps softens yet strengthen and promotes your under growth. It also promotes hair growth. Coconut oil is as strong and solid as coconut itself.

Never use refined shea butter, it’s been chemically process.

 Deep condition your hair for about 1 hour. You should concentrated more on the root/scalp of the braids than the body itself. 

Irrespective of what stylists say, wash your braids once in 2 weeks. This is very good for your hair as it allows your hair to rest from the chemical contents in shampoos.  Washing your braids every two weeks will allow the braids to retain its strength and reduce early rough appearance.

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HOW TO WASH BRAIDS

Place a small amount of shampoo into your hand.

Rub both hands together to form a 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.

If you are using regular shampoo and conditioner, be sure to dilute these in water so they are easy to rinse out and you avoid product build up.

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.

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Make sure the scalp is clean and moisturized to prevent it from becoming itchy and flaky. Some people will naturally produce enough oil for their scalp to remain moisturised. You can mix some aloe vera gel, shea butter and rosemary oil in a container and apply a little throughout your scalp daily. This is will soothe and moisturize your scalp.

Sleep with a satin scarf, to reduce frizz, preserve the style longer and present dirt from getting on your scalp. Covering your head with a satin headscarf at night not only keeps your edges looking fresh it also protects your roots from drying out when you sleep. If you find satin headscarves uncomfortable then place a satin pillowcase over your pillow for a similar type of protection.

Avoid unnatural products when keeping hair moisturized

Stylists warn against using anything other than naturally derived oils to keep your roots moisturized while your hair is in braids. The most important ingredients to avoid are mineral oils. Instead, 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. This constant pulling weakens the hair along your-telling you from experience, your front hair will fall out. Be gentle with your hairline. Limit updo styling to 3 or 4 times a week rather than every day.

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Redo your edges. Several times I have taken off my braids because it ooked rough in front-never again. 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.

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Teni Beauty

Resident Chief Editor, Signature Reporter. Teniolami is an accomplished makeup artist and beauty therapist with almost 10years experience in the beauty industry. She is a full-time Beauty Business Coach, Brand & Product Developer, Educator and a soon to-be published Beauty Author

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