From a group of ladies, there’s always that one person with either braids or a twist. This hairstyle has become popular amongst women as it works for both natural and relaxed hair. Braids are a protective hairstyle that can be worn for anything from three to eight weeks. However, it’s more advisable to keep it for a maximum duration of eight weeks to avoid traction alopecia.
One misconception people have about braids or twists is that they don’t need much maintenance. This means that you can spot a number of people with unkempt hair. Also, some have to loosen their hair in such a short time because of its rough state. Whereas, there is that category of women who seem like they just got their braids or twist made. When questioned about when they had theirs made, you could get shocked at their response.
The secret to getting your hair looking well groomed is to maintain it. If you’re guilty of having your hair look like it just went through a natural disaster in less than a week of braiding, then you need these tips. Follow our tips on how you can protect your braids and twists.
Six essential ways to protect your braids and twists
1. Protect your hair at night
Growing up taught the black woman to always tie a scarf before going to bed. Even with hair extensions, she knew she had to wear a hairnet or tie a scarf. However, with braids comes a lot of misconceptions.
You need to protect your braids, especially at night before you go to bed. With a satin or silk scarf tied around your braids, you can get the job done. What this does is to keep your edges popping and your roots from drying up. The scarf also keeps your hair from frizzing out. If you don’t want a satin scarf because it could slip off while you sleep, you can use a satin pillow. In the morning, your hair would still be as neat as it was before you went to bed.
2. Wash your hair
Over the course of wearing your braids, it gets exposed to dirt, dust and sweat. As a result, your hair could end up exhuming a foul odour or feeling uncomfortable. Therefore, you need to ensure you wash it once every two weeks. You don’t have to douse it in water if you don’t want to.
A way you can achieve a clean braid is by either using a dry shampoo or by dampening a washcloth in water and shampoo. Then you can clean the hair in sections. Also, do this in a vertical order so you don’t get frizzy roots.
3. Water your roots
Given the condition of your braids, it’s more exposed than when you fix extensions. Therefore, it has a higher tendency of getting dry faster. While you wash your hair once in two weeks, the rest of the days could leave it dry. Your hair roots are often thirsty for water and need to be moisturised.
You can add essential oils to the water for added moisture. Or add base oils like coconut oil, almond oil or castor oil. Once again, don’t douse it in water, but simply spritz it with water. Spray your scalp and along the length of your braids to keep them moist. Remember to target the roots for better effect.
4. Dry your braids before styling
While it’s good to keep it moist and wash once in two weeks, you should never style your hair while wet. Wet braids can cause unpleasant scalp problems like fungus, dandruff or even mildew! Therefore, you need to be certain it’s dry before you style it in order to avoid damaging your hair.
5. Avoid tight styling and long up-dos
When styling your hair, be careful it’s not pulled too tight. Also, you can get tempted to maintain a hairstyle that works for you – one of which could be the up-do. Doing a tight styling or the up-do (tying your hair atop your head) could pull at your hairline. When left for a long time, this could weaken the hair along your hairline. It could be a cause for hair loss! So be sure to limit your up-do style to about three times a week.
6. Extend your style time by redoing your edges
Rather than loosen the entire braids if it gets rough too soon, you can simply loosen the edges. These are the parts more susceptible to getting rough fast. Therefore, you should loosen it, carefully untangle and deep condition before reinstalling your braids. This helps your hair look fresh again.