We all know the salons are still closed. If you can pull off a DIY on a long -term protective style, like braids or twists, good for you. However, installing a style is one thing and knowing the best way to take care of them and styling them can make a big difference in how much benefit you can get from your braids. Whether it really is a protective style or a disaster and major setback on your hair goals.
There are few things that you need to consider when you have braids in your hair. Top of the list is how to take care of your hair and your scalp while in braids.
Braids can be kept in the hair for as long as 8 weeks. In those 8 weeks, a lot of people do not wash their hair. Which is not too bad. However, the hair may become too dry if water is not introduced to the hair for that long.
Spraying your hair with a water-based spray is important. Even if you do not wash the hair, it can remain moisturised throughout the time your hair is braided. If the spray has a good perfume, even better. Your hair can smell great as well.
You also need to take care of your scalp when you have braids in. Some of the flaking that a lot of people experience is from general dryness of the scalp, something a good braid spray or scalp pomade can fix easily.
However, if your flakes are a result of dandruff, caused by an overgrowth of yeast on your scalp, an anti-dandruff spray will give you better results and will also keep the itch away. I prefer something with tea tree oil and peppermint oil in it. Works great on my hair.
Hair loss is not something anyone wants but it happens. Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that is caused by pulling of the hair from its follicles, which tends to inflame the follicles. Prolonged inflammation of the follicles will the cause them to close-down the production of hair.
Tight braids and tight styling are some of the causes for traction alopecia. This can be avoided right? True. There is no need to suffer from hair loss just because of a hairstyle.
So, to begin with, never get braided too tight or do ridiculously small braids. It will most definitely cause some hair loss. Some people recover quickly from a once off stint with tight braids or micro braids. However, if it becomes a habit, your scalp may never recover.
Use braids that are not too heavy for hair. I love one million braids from Darling because they are super light and they do not weigh my hair down. Heavy braids tend to pull the hair out from its follicles. And you know what happens when the follicles are inflamed. You do not need that in your life.
When styling your braids, be strategic about it. Try not to pull from your hairline, especially if your hairline tends to have thinner hair than the rest of your head. Here are some hairstyles you can try which will not be too tight when done well.
Make a part on the side or the centre and tie your braids. Talking about parts, it is a good idea to switch them up as well. Using the same part every day may also lead to hair loss where you normally part your hair.
Style your hair very loose most of the time. You should always be comfortable after styling your hair. If you feel any pulling at all, that style is too tight, and you need to loosen it up a bit.
When you go to sleep, make a loose bun if you have long braids like mine. Wear a satin scarf or bonnet. That will help you keep your braids neater for longer and will also hold your braids in place while you sleep.
How long can one keep braids on for?
About 8 to 9 weeks maximum. 10 weeks, umm, you are pushing it. But that is final. No more than 10 weeks please. The tangles and knots that you may need to deal with after 10 weeks or more will not be worth it.
Just to recap.
- Take care of your hair while it’s in the braid. Moisturise often to combat dryness and breakage.
- Take care of your scalp. Keep it fresh, moisturised, and free from flaking.
- Make sure your braids are not too heavy for your hair. You may lose hair over them.
- Avoid any hair loss by utilising looser methods of styling your braids
- If you have micro braids, do not make that a go to hairstyle. Micro braids may cause hair loss especially along the hairline. Bigger section are a better option.
- Tie a satin scarf or bonnet when you go to sleep. It will keep your hairstyle for longer and keep your braids in place while you sleep.
Having braids can be the best thing that you could have done for your hair this winter. But, they can also be the worst nightmare ever. That depends on your choice of braid extensions, the style or size you choose to get installed, how you take care of your actual hair and your scalp, and how you style your braids.
For these braids, I used 4 packs of Darling One Million braids in colour 1/35. They are lightweight, the sections are not too small and I could style them in so many ways without any issues. Here are a few ways to style Box braids without losing hair over them.
Once you get them installed, make the best of them, and also take the time to enjoy them. Until then. God bless you all during this hectic time.