Maintaining Braided Hair: What You Need to Know

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If you want you make your braided hair lower maintenance, then it is essential that you practice protective styling. The major mistake women makes when practicing this type of styling technique is to braid up their hair and then not concentrate on maintenance. If you are wearing your hair in braids, make sure you follow the guidelines below. That way your hair will remain long, strong and healthy when you unravel it.

Safeguard Your Hair While You Sleep

Many African-American women are taught at a young age that tying up the hair at night is recommended, if not a good practice. Therefore, you regularly learn to tie your hair up. However, when women wear braids, they often bypass the practice. That is why you need to review the points below to ensure that your braids look their best.

Cover Your Hair in the Evening

Cover you hair in the evening, or before going to sleep, with a satin headscarf to keep the hair’s edges looking fresh and to keep the roots from drying out. If you don’t like wearing a headscarf, then opt for a satin pillowcase as it will give you the same level of protection. If you don’t mind donning the scarf, wear the scarf and place a satin pillow case over your pillow. If your scarf comes off during the night, then your hair and scalp will still be protected. You simply cannot get by foregoing this practice. Just a few nights can make a big difference.

Spray Your Hair with Water

Along with protecting your head with a satin scarf, you need to make sure you keep your scalp moist. You are never too busy to spray your roots with a fast spritz or two – it takes only a few minutes. Hair needs moisture to thrive. Therefore, the best hydrator is water. That’s because the roots get thirsty and need watering. Therefore, don’t apply a heavy oil or gel. It will only clog your pores and make it even more difficult for your roots to take in moisture. Plain old water is all you need to keep you hair moisturized and beautiful.

Use and Sealing Product and Styling Butter

In addition to applying water or hydrating the roots, you need to regularly use a sealing product at least once a week. Use a product that contains shea butter as the ingredient soothes the scalp. The product should not only seal in moisture but protect the head from scorching UV rays. A styling butter will provide extra moisture and control any frizzing of your braids. It should feature essential vitamins and minerals to keep the hair looking great.

The Emphasis is on Moisture

In order to moisturize and seal the hair then, spray the entire head with water. Then smooth on a sealing product, section by section, on the roots. If you work on each braid, the entire process takes under an hour or around 35 minutes overall – not that long of time to acquire great looking hair.

Keep Everything Natural

Make sure to use natural or organic products when moisturizing the hair. Any ingredients that are not natural will not properly do the job. To keep the roots moisturized avoid products whose main ingredient is mineral oil. Instead, choose oils that are natural in nature, such as coconut oil or almond oil. These kinds of oils, in particular, are ideal for retaining moisture and soothing the scalp without clogging the pores. If you are seeking a non-greasy moisturizer, use a leave-in conditioner containing natural ingredients.

braided 2How to Wash Braided Hair

You should wash your braids at least every two weeks to keep them looking good. Although that may sound like a hassle, the build-up of dirt, sweat and other unwanted residue can damage the hair. Fortunately, you do not necessarily need to resort to jumping into the shower and soaking the braids with water. You can also dry-wash the hair with shampoo, a cloth and water. Moisten a wash cloth with shampoo and warm water and then part your hair before wiping it down sectionally. That is all you need to do. Follow this method every two weeks to maintain the scalp and keep you braids looking great.

Limit the Number of Up-dos

Up-dos are a popular style today. However, all that braiding and twisting of the hair also pulls, unmercifully, at the hairline. This consistent pulling will weaken the hair. Therefore, try to limit any up-do styling to around 3 times a week versus every day. Also, don’t pull too tightly on the hair when you style it. That causes unnecessary stress on the hair and damage too.

Update Your Braided Look

Normally, after about two weeks, your roots will have grown out and you will need to freshen your look. Rather than rebraiding the whole head, ask your stylist to spend about an hour re-installing the braids along the hairline.

After the braids are taken out along the edges and before you see your stylist, take some time to detangle and deep condition the hair before reinstalling the brains. Keep in mind that the edges are fragile. Therefore, they need additional attention and care.

Protective Styling is a Short-term Hair Care Measure

You also do not want to leave you braids in too long. One extreme example is a woman who left her braids in for three years! When she removed the braids, some hair came out with them. As a result, she was left with bald patches all over the head. Let that be a lesson – protective styling should always be short-term or temporary.

Don’t Procrastinate

Stylists suggest that protective styling be followed for one month at a time or 2 months at the max. If you leave in the braids in any longer, the new growth of hair will stretch and cause damage. So, don’t procrastinate. When you delay the task of taking out the braids, you basically defeat the whole idea behind protective styling. Protective styling is designed to give fragile ends a reprieve so you can concentrate on attaining new growth.


Set Aside Time for Daily and Weekly Braid Care

Braids are a beautiful way to express yourself and enhance your style as an African-American woman. Therefore, it is important that you embrace the hair fashion by treating the style with the utmost care. If you want to wear braids, then you also have to set aside time in keeping them looking their best.











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