Braids: Tips for Maintaining Your Summer hairstyle

Summertime is here, and braided hairstyles are all the rage among celebrities like Janelle Monáe, Selita Ebanks, and Alicia Keys. If you’re considering rocking this trendy style, there are a few things you should know. We spoke to an expert who shared valuable tips for enjoying your protective braids without any complications.

Locate the Best Salon

First and foremost, it’s crucial to find the right salon or stylist. Grace Chiamaka, Owner of Grace Beauty Salon, emphasizes the importance of assessing their professional experience. This will help you determine their level of expertise and find someone who specializes in the specific hairstyle you want. Take a look at their previous work and client testimonials before making a decision. Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask the salon owner or receptionist for recommendations, as they are often well-informed about each stylist’s strengths and weaknesses.

Consider the Texture of Your Hair

This is another essential aspect. According to celebrity natural hairstylist Felicia Nancy, braids work best with full and thick hair that can support the weight of the braids. If your hair is fine, fragile, thin, or damaged, it’s advisable to avoid hairstyles that could strain your hair or hairline and lead to traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by excessive pulling or tension.

Choose natural hair

When it comes to selecting hair extensions, opt for human hair. Mariana Fernadez, a curly textured expert, explains that there are various hair types available, including Brazilian, Cambodian, European, Indian, Mongolian, and Peruvian. These hair types offer different textures such as straight, wavy, body wave, loose curls, spiral curls, deep waves, tight deep curl, and kinky curly. Virgin human unprocessed hair typically comes in its natural off-black or brown color, but it can also be colored to match your hair or processed with different colors.

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Keep any surprises to a minimum

Before installing your extensions, it’s crucial to wash them to reveal their true hair wave pattern, texture, and color. This step is particularly important for weaves, as it allows you to see the true nature of the extensions, similar to washing off makeup to reveal bare skin.

Establish a Time Limit

It’s essential to set a time limit for wearing your braids. Nancy recommends leaving them in for 4-6 weeks, with a retouch on your hairline after 3 weeks to maintain its strength. To prevent thinning of the hairline, apply Profectiv Mega Growth Anti-Thinning Temple Recovery while wearing braids. You can usually tell it’s time to remove the braids when your scalp feels sensitive from movement, the base looks dry and starts to lock up, or when your new growth is about 1/2 inch from your scalp.

Wash Your Braids

Properly washing your braids is crucial, including shampooing the scalp even with braids in place. Fernandez provides the following procedure:

  1. Dilute cleansing shampoo with ¾ water in a squeeze bottle with a straight spout
  1. Apply shampoo to the scalp and massage generously, rinse thoroughly, and let the water and shampoo
  2. Rinse over the braids, gently smoothing your hands over them. Avoid rough handling that could damage the braids.

Leave out the conditioner

Surprisingly, conditioning your braids is not recommended. Grace advises against using conditioning masks and conditioners as they can loosen the braids due to their silky qualities. These products can significantly affect the lifespan of your braids, often cutting it in half. Instead, opt for hydrating shampoos and oil sprays specifically designed for braided hairstyles.

Treating Dry Scalp

If you experience a dry scalp while wearing braids, consider treating it with a pre-shampoo oil treatment. Fernandez suggests applying oil, massaging it into the scalp, and using a steamer or heat for 15 minutes before rinsing, shampooing, and conditioning. This treatment helps exfoliate and lubricate the scalp. For daily maintenance, use a light hair oil or serum to keep the scalp moisturized.

Maintain Your Hair’s Hydration

To ensure your hair stays hydrated, Nancy recommends using a mixture of water and Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-In-Conditioner with olive oil. Simply shake the mixture in an 8oz. bottle and spray it on your hair whenever you feel it needs a little more moisture while wearing your protective style.

Take Good Care of Your Own Hair

Lastly, it’s crucial to care for your own hair after removing the braids. Grace recommends conditioning your hair with a deep conditioner and trimming the dead ends to prevent split ends. Treat your scalp with a rejuvenating scalp treatment and use a fine-tooth comb to massage the oils into your scalp. When your hair is wet, gently scrape the comb against your scalp to remove dry skin, dirt, and build-up, considering it an exfoliation process. Recommended products for scalp treatment include Phyto Phytopolléine Botanical Scalp Treatment and Alter Ego’s Revitalizing Lotion.

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