Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Hair braiding is hands down the best thing since sliced bread, but just as how sliced bread can be dangerous to our health if it is eaten excessively, so can braids to our hair, if it is not done or cared for properly. Here are some tips that I believe should be concerned before getting braids.
Think about the state of your hair
1. Is it processed? (chemicals like relaxers or dye) Freshly relaxed hair should not be braided. Give it 2 to 3 weeks before wearing a protective style.
2. Is it healthy or has it been breaking? If your edges are breaking, then please avoid feeding braids. You can do box braids but be very careful that it is not installed too tightly.
3. Is your hair long enough? If your hair is extremely short, then the braids might easily fall off. It is not always the fault of the hairstylist.
4. Is your hair strong enough to withstand the tension the braids may have on your hair? This is somehow related to the health question above. It depends on the braid style and technique. Also the weight of the braids plays a role. Braids are great protective style to give your own hair a break but can also break it if it is not strong enough. A honest braid stylist will tell you if your hair can support the braid.
Think about the extensions used
1. Do you have a sensitive scalp? Note that some braid extensions are synthetic and can result in itchy scalp. How to do manage this problem?
a. Wash extensions before they are installed.
b. After extensions are installed keep your scalp and hair moisturized and lubricated (the frequency depends on each individual).
c. Add extensions away from your scalp.
Day to day care
1. Pay attention to your hair in the braids. Not because you have braids means your hair doesn’t need attention.
2. Moisturize as regularly as possible. This could be the scalp only or after a wash, the scalp and as far as your hair is in the braid.
3. Wash at least every two weeks. You can watch more frequently if you wish.
4. After every wash (including a visit to the swimming pool) make sure you moisturize your hair.
5. Avoid putting your braids in a ponytail because it creates more tension on your hairline. If you think your hair can withstand it then go right ahead. You know your hair best.
6. For a longer neat look cover your hair for bed. It is best to use a silky or satin head wear, they work well. They help to retain the moisture in your hair as oppose to a cotton head wear which removes the moisture form your hair.
7. Keep braids no longer than 4 to 6 weeks. Simply because it is not hygienic and the constant tension from the braids can increase the possibility of hair breakage.
I THINK YOU ARE NOW READY TO GET BRAIDS. ENJOY!!