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How to Prepare Your Hair For Braids or Twists

Updated on January 7, 2010

So Do You Really Wanna Get Braids/ Twists?

Before you answer this question consider all the consequences of getting braids or twists. Getting braids and twists can result in dramatic hair loss, breakage and balding around the hairline. Braids or twists can also result in hair growth. The reason people get braids or twists are many. Some people get them to grow their hair out without having to deal with seeing their hair in the in between state. Other people choose to get braids or twists as a hairstyle only. No matter what the reason you decide to get braids or twists the best thing to do to prevent damage or destruction to your hair is take some preventative measures. These steps can be taken anywhere from one to two days prior to when you plan to get your braids / twists.

The first thing to do when preparing your hair for braids or twist is to evaluate you hair to see what the current state of it is. If your hair is brittle, excessively dry, breaking, or fragile you should rethink getting braids right now. The weight from the extensions placed on your hair alone could result in breakage. Some hair extensions also can dry the hair out tremendously so if your hair is already excessively dry then the extensions will not aide in the problem and can really damage your hair further. If you feel your hair is healthy enough to withstand braids or twists then there are some precautionary measures that you should take to ensure that your hair remains healthy after you have had your braids / twists. If your hair is mildly damaged and you wanted to get braids to help your hair grow then there are steps that you need to take to protect your hair from further damage and aid your hair in growing.


There are four main treatments that can be done to the hair to help strengthen, moisturize, or soften the hair and scalp. A keratin treatment is used when the hair is weak and breaking. It basically puts the strength back into the hair. A protein treatment is used when the hair feels hard like straw or lacks body it softens the hair. A cholesterol treatment puts moisture in the hair. A hot oil treatment can also be used to infuse oil into the hair and the scalp and seal the cuticle to protect the hair from damage. When evaluating the hair remember that there is a difference between dry hair and soft hair, brittle hair and weak hair, breaking hair and splitting hair. No matter what condition your hair is in a treatment will always be beneficial for it. All of these treatments cannot be done together. For example a keratin treatment cannot be followed with a protein or cholesterol treatment. However a cholesterol treatment and a protein treatment can be done at the same time. If you find that you need a cholesterol treatment and a keratin treatment it is best to do the cholesterol treatment first and then the keratin treatment. If a protein treatment and a keratin treatment is needed these two must be done at least one week apart form each other. It is also recommended that the protein treatment be done first and then the keratin treatment. A hot oil treatment can be used alongside any of the other treatments and is a great way to seal the shaft to ensure that the hair is protected. Most of these treatment can be added to your hair routine easily and should be used not only before braids or twist but as a monthly hair regimen.

If you want to grow your hair out one of the most important things to do is stimulate your scalp. This can be done through daily brushing and scalp manipulations. Because of the damage that can be done to the hair during the braiding / twisting process it is suggested that you brush the hair less the closer you get to the day that you will be getting the hair braided / twisted. Daily scalp manipulations can still be done up until the braids or twists are installed and can even be done after. Brushing the hair not only stimulates the scalp but also aides in ensuring that the hair has equal moisture spread throughout the hair shaft. This causes the hair to have shine and moisture.


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