Braids are always going to be the best protective style for your hair (both natural and relaxed hair). It’s our go-to style when we want to grow longer, stronger hair. But for every one woman who reaches her hair goals with braids, there are several more who experience damage and breakage from this style. To avoid making the common mistakes many women do when wearing braids, here are helpful tips to ensure that you get the most out of this style.
- Tackle your hair issues
Before even considering installing braid extensions, you have to ensure that your hair and scalp are strong and can handle tensions from extensions. You want your hair to be in the best possible shape when you braid. If you have dandruff, get a shampoo to fight the flakes. If your hair feels weak, strengthen it with protein treatments. You can DIY your own mix or you can get off-the-shelf from the nearest store. Any hair-related problems you have will only worsen after leaving your hair more or less alone for two months. Try to settle any issues at least 1 week before you braid.
- Wash your hair.
Detoxify your scalp (use a good scalp scrub) to remove residues from the hair products you have used on your hair. Use a clarifying shampoo to cleanse your scalp thoroughly and remove dirt and oil from your hair.
- Deep-condition your hair.
Hair that is deep conditioned regularly is more manageable, softer, less prone to breakage and frizz, and is able to retain length. When you deep-condition, you add more moisture and make your hair so easy to work on. Deep conditioning is an essential part of a healthy hair regimen- whether you’re natural or not, and no matter your curl type.
- Get a trim
I am sure you must have heard it a zillion times. It may sound counter-intuitive but get rid of those split ends and give your hair the power to flourish.
- Use a Use a Leave in Conditioner
One of the best ways to keep your hair protected while it is braided is by using a leave in conditioner before you braid your hair, and applying it sparingly as needed while the hair is braided. A good leave-in conditioner will leave hair feeling soft, smooth and manageable. You don’t have to worry about flakes and it aids in replenishing natural hair oils.
- Find a Good Stylist
The truth is, not everyone who knows how to braid can handle your hair texture (natural or relaxed). Often times, Miss A may be good at box braids but not perfect at feed-ins or twists or other hairstyles. Sometimes, the stylists care very little about the health of your hair. The key thing is to do your research. You can’t have a fabulous protective style, without having a fabulous hair stylist. Make sure that your stylist has experience caring for and styling your hair. Remember your hair should never be too tight or uncomfortable. If your stylist doesn’t know how to properly braid without causing you pain, or ripping out your hair, run! Find someone who understands your hair, and the art of braiding. Protective styles can be amazing for your hair when done properly.