Braids help in growing out one’s hair with very little external stress from the weather. However, when done improperly, putting your hair in braids can be quite disastrous. Below are some tips that ensure that you enjoy the full benefits of braiding your hair:
Washing and conditioningBe sure that it is in a "healthy condition". This means treating your hair to a deep wash and conditioning, at least a week before braiding it. And relaxing the hair before putting them in braids. This is a personal choice that must be carefully considered. If you choose to relax your hair (either to make it easier to manage, or meet the texture of your extensions) be sure to do so at least two weeks before braiding your hair. It is not advisable to relax your hair and braid them on the same day. This is because relaxing one’s hair often leaves it weak and putting your hair in individual braids makes one to damage the already fragile hair.
Oil treatmentIf your hair is often overworked, stressed and weak, give yourself a hot oil treatment; preferably one with Vitamin E. Vitamin E is formulated to treat dry, stressed and damaged hair, by re-constructing the bonds that hold the hair strands.
Choose your style and extensions carefully!When it comes to picking a hairstyle, remember what works for another will not necessarily work for you. If your hair is brittle and weak, putting them in micro-braids will only further damage your hairline.
When choosing extensions, be informed of the following:Human hair extensions tend to hold more moisture, while synthetic hair tends to strip hair of moisture. So be sure to always moisturise when wearing synthetic hair. Most synthetic extensions have alkaline bases that tend to dry out one’s hair and can be removed by soaking the hair in vinegar and water.
Be sure to moisturise: When hair is in braids, it often loses its moisture, making it easier to fall out. To help seal in moisture, remember to spritz hair with store bought braid sprays or a concoction of your own. You can create your own mixture by mixing oils like Jojoba, Olive, with water and glycerin.
Pay attention to braid build-up and new growth: This usually happens when you have used too much product and your hair knots up at the roots after the emergence of new growth. At the site of build-up, simply take out old braids and re-braid. Doing so often ensures your braid is always looking fresh.
Remember to Wash: Just because your hair is in braids does not mean you should stop washing it. One easy way to wash your hair and maintain the style is to wash it with diluted shampoo while in the shower. Massage your scalp to release the debris, move along to the rest of your hair, and be careful not to tug on your hair too much. Don’t forget to condition your hair after washing. This can be achieved with the help of a leave-in conditioner. Be sure to wash your braids once in two weeks, pay particular attention to the scalp.
Cover your braids before you sleep: Whether it is a hair net or silk scarf, it is important to protect your braids from loosening while you sleep by covering it.
After a while, do take out your braids. Your hair should not be in braids for more than two months; leaving it longer than necessary can lead to hair-loss. Once you remove your braids, wash and deep condition your hair, as well as give yourself a "hot-oil" treatment. Be sure to also let your hair rest for at least a week or so before relaxing or braiding it again.
Remember these facts:
Do not braid your hair too tightly.
Do not leave your braids on for longer than two months.
Keep your braids neat by rebraiding at the sight of new growth.
Condition your hair before you braid it and condition afterwards.
Pick a style that will not be too stressful for your hair and scalp.
Moisturise and wash your hair at least once every two weeks.
When braids or weaves are removed, allow hair to rest first before styling again.