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Tips On How To Maintain All Types Of Braids

Updated on December 19, 2014
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Beautiful Tresses

Caring for your braids are essential to maintaining the luster of your hair whether you are using extensions or not. Braids are usually worn for lengthy periods of time thereby styles have a tendency to show wear. Despite that fact, there are some ways to keep your style looking fashionable and neat for some time by using the right care and attention to delicate tresses. When using extensions, additional measures can be used to sustain those styles. Braids are known to be protective in nature; allowing the hair relief from lengthy and damaging processing such as chemical relaxers, blow drying and heated styles. The care that will be defined below is specific to coarse hair, most of the time African American hair, however some techniques can be used universally.

Daily Care

Braids typically are an on-the-go style that literally takes little to maintain even less time to style. Particularly that is one of the reasons braids remains to be popular. So when caring for hair remember that moisture is key for African American hair. Keeping the scalp clean and moisturized is essential in the overall health for any hair texture. Also, limiting excessive tugging helps to reduce breakage and damage to the hair and hair root.

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Products to Use

Preparing the hair

If you are braiding your own hair or assisting in the process, I am not sure if you heard about the additives that are frequently found on extensions? If past braid applications left you feeling itchy that is because the hair strands had alkaline on them. So to remove the alkaline before adding extensions, take the hair from the packages and place them in a sink, preferably fastened with a hair tie to keep the hair from separating, then soak the hair for about 15 minutes with a sink half full of water and add one cup of apple cider vinegar.

When braiding the hair

Before you braid your hair you may want to consider doing a protein treatment on to ensure that your hair is strong enough for the process, especially if doing extension as they place a lot of weight on the natural hair. Either during or after the application do not forget to oil your braids and scalp. Using something light, though moisturizing such as coconut, jojoba or almond oil works great. Not to mention the smell of those products. Try to avoid heavy products that contain a lot of petroleum oil as it is known to clog pores. Oil sheens work well also as you can spray them right on your scalp, but don’t over do that either.

Moisture

Just because your hair is braided does not mean you cannot keep the hair moisturized. Using a deep conditioner weekly can help to strengthen hair and maintain the condition of it, since many times the goal of braids is to achieve healthy, longer hair. Searching for one that is right for your hair can be a process, though continue using the same products that have worked for you in the past. If you have never used a deep conditioner try one that has both protein and moisture in it such as Cholesterol, but doing your research because they are not all the same.

Itch Relief

Well hair extensions itch and that is the low-down on that. However, you do not have to live with the itch, many products successfully take that away. Three really good products that I have found to be helpful are: witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and an astringent like Sea Breeze. I like Sea Breeze most since it has a cooling effect after putting it on the scalp. That product can be found in your local drug store in the cosmetic isle. To apply these products use a cotton ball and saturate it with the product of choice and then dab it on the scalp. You do not want to rub since that can damage the hair and the style.

Shampoo

Again avoid rubbing or scrubbing the scalp when putting products on the hair. So a handy method I have found is diluting your shampoo of choice in a spray bottle and then you can specifically get it on the scalp. You can do this is the shower by spraying it on your scalp, allowing it to sit for a few minutes and then rinsing. Be careful to not get the shampoo in your eyes. Since you will not shampoo very often it is recommended to use a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup, but do not forget to replace the moisture.

Braiding Frequency

How Often Do You Get Your Hair Braided

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Products to Stay Away From

Remembering that this style will likely be in the hair for some time, reducing the amount of drying agents that put in the hair is ideal. So look at product ingredients and stay away from things that have alcohol in them as this will dry the hair and likely create itching. Also, you don’t want to put anything in your hair that is a heavy gel, again likely to have alcohol and will dry the hair. Lastly, avoid heavy greasy products, oiling and moisturizing is enough.

Braid Hair Care Video

Protecting the Hair While You Sleep

This is a very important step and consideration. When sleeping your hair will rub on your pillow and as a result will likely affect your style. By tossing and turning through the night you are likely to damage your hair without proper protection. So my advice when wearing braids is to either invest in a silk pillowcase or a silk scarf to wear on the hair. When considering your options, think about what may be easier and feel more comfortable. With other styles I would recommend a scarf, however, with braids I would rather go with a pillowcase. The reason I say pillowcase is the braids need an opportunity to breathe and a scarf will keep them close to your head. But to avoid your braids looking like Medusa – sprawled out everywhere in the bed – you may want to put them in a loose braid so that you can comfortably sleep.

When to Update the Style

Another important step when wearing braids is knowing when to update your style. Two options immediately come to mind: when you have new growth or when the style no longer looks neat. The second is self-explanatory; if the hairdo does not look nice take it out, so I will explain the new growth portion. New growth is bound to happen and likely welcomed since braiding is a known technique to aid in the growth of hair. I recommend when there is about 1-2 inches of new growth that is visible outside of the braid it is time to redo. The reason this is important is that new growth does not, one have the protection of the braid, and two more pulling begins to occur since the braids a more free to move about and therefore may increase breakage. Lastly, all good things need a break. When hair is in braids, shampooing and proper scalp treatments are difficult and thereby taking the braids out and giving the hair a good wash is great. It is recommended to update your style every 4-6 weeks and completely redo the braids after 3 month, sooner if you notice more new growth.

Final Thoughts

Braids are very versatile and serve several purposes. Though, no good thing can remain so if not cared for properly. I have seen a great deal of damage to hair – some permanent – due to improper attachment of braids and improper care of the style. Braids are not a style that you lock your cares away with the style. Enjoy your braids and have fun with them, however, remember to care for them as well.

Comments

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    • profile image

      may 

      3 years ago

      wow, just love the way you do it, it really needs quite a lot of practice for one to get that job done

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Memuna Umber,

      Thanks for your review. They do take some work, but braids do look great!

    • profile image

      Memuna Umber 

      4 years ago

      Maintaining braids seems like a tough job but they sure look pretty. your hub is very interesting and informative!

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