Braids and cornrows are a protective style.
Braid care starts before you actually go for your appointment. The day before, wash and deep condition your hair so that it's at its strongest before you braid your hair. Afterwards the following tips will help you to minimise breakage and other forms of damage.
1. Take care of the edges
For the first seven days after you've put the braids in you need to ensure that the edges that were more than likely pulled tightly are always moisturised. This will ease the pressure and will stop the roots from being uprooted.
I apply oil around the edges twice a day initially because my scalp is sensitive and usually breaks out in little bumps.
2. Ensure your scalp never gets dry
The scalp is carrying an extra load so to ease its burden ensure it is clean and never dry. Some people will naturally produce enough oil so they don't need to add extra but none the less I like to spray Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator so that I get the benefits of the essential oils.
3. Wash every 7 to 10 days
Not washing and conditioning your hair when it's in braids will lead to a lot more breakage when you take them out. Natural hair continues to crave moisture whether it's in braids or not.
4. Moisturise the braid as though it were your hair
There are two ways to do this:
a) Spritz with water regularly just like you would when you have your hair out.
b) Rub a shea butter onto the braids every few days.
Overall, the more you think of the braids as your hair the better your own hair will fare.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward