Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Hair| Braid Maintenance

I must admit I've become somewhat of a braidaholic! For almost 2 years now they have been my protective style of choice and I imagine they will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Braids played a huge role in my transitioning journey, masking the multiple textures of my hair, and still play a humongous part in my quest for long healthy natural hair, delivering me from the highly contagious hand-in-hair syndrome especially!
Apart from the 8 hours it takes me to install them (yes, I do them myself) they are extremely low maintenance and require very little effort, however, it is very important that they are taken care of effectively to prevent damage.

Here are a few tips and products that I have been using to ensure my hair is kept healthy whilst in braids:
  • Moisture, moisture and even more moisture.
Braided hair tends to lose moisture easily, so ensuring that your hair is hydrated will help to prevent damage and breakage. I prefer to use spray moisturisers instead of the creamy ones whilst rocking braids to make sure each strand is evenly saturated with moisture. I do this morning and night without fail.

I love love love the African Pride Braid Sheen Spray and the Jane Carter Solution Hydrate Quench which I alternate between. They are both lightweight moisturisers that don't weigh down my braids or cause much build-up and I almost forgot to mention they smell amazing!
  • Natural oils on scalp
To avoid dandruff and flaky scalp conditions caused by dryness, it is important to use a light oil that has moisturising properties on your scalp. My oil of choice is coconut oil which is light and non-greasy, allowing my scalp to breathe. I do this once or twice a week depending on how my scalp feels.

  • Wash and Condition hair often
I used to be really apprehensive about washing my braids when I started getting it done for fear of loosening the plaits and getting them messy, however I quickly learned that not doing so caused more harm than good. To make my life easier I do the conditioning first. I spray my braids with water then apply a moisturising conditioner to my hair ( I tend to use any  moisturising conditioner I can get my hands on). I use clingfilm to wrap my hair which traps in heat and allows the conditioner to really penetrate the hair shaft. I often do this overnight and proceed with washing and shampooing my hair in the morning.

Using a spray shampoo allows you to really get into every corner of your scalp and cleanses the hair effectively. I try to do this once a week but every other week at the very latest.
  • Sleep with a satin bonnet or scarf
Braids or no braids, this is something I always do to avoid rubbing my hair against my pillow. This also helps to preserve your braids and keep the them looking fresh for as long as possible.

And that's pretty much all I do!

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