If you hair is currently weak, damaged or unhealthy in any other way, this is not the time to be getting braids. Nurse your hair back to health and then go to get braids.
Before a salon appointment:
What is the point of all this?
You want your hair to be as strong as possible so it can take any trauma; a lot of hairdressers don't take the time to detangle hair gently and will more than likely blow dry the hair prior to plaiting it. All this handling and styling is prime time for your hair to break.
If you have adequately detangled and blow dried your hair enough to make it easy to plait it will be very easy for you to request that the stylist doesn't blow dry it again. If your hair is matted or tangled you best believe the stylist will insist she needs to blow dry it. I am only just recovering from one such recent hair trauma!
I also have a very sensitive scalp so almost every time I get braids I have bumps around the edges because even a little pulling is too much for my tender skin.
When you get to the appointment, remain involved in the process:
I'm full of confidence but I too sometimes feel like I am being too demanding at the salon so I let some transgressions slide without stating my opinion ~ big mistake ~ I know my scalp and I know my hair so I need to communicate the needs of my hair, you do too.
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.
One of the biggest mistakes girls make is thinking that their hair can be entirely forgotten about just because they wear a weave or a wig. Neglecting the hair under a weave or a wig is a recipe for a mega disaster!
You still need to wash your hair every 7 to 10 days to ensure that it doesn't get very dry and hence easy to break when you unplait the cornrows.
How to wash hair if you have a weave or a wig
Nope, the skin would be softened, raw and vulnerable. The same theory applies to your hair. Shampoo and conditioner need to be rinsed out thoroughly!
How to avoid tangling your weave as you wash your hair
To avoid getting your weave all tangled, wash your hair standing up in a shower or sitting in the tub so the strands flow down your back. If you wash your hair bent over a tub your weave will flow down your face during the wash and then down your back when you stand up again, this movement will encourage tangling.
Drying hair under a weave
I now blog about wealth creation - so if you have any money questions meet me there, you can do all sorts of cool things like leave me a voicemail.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx