How to: Care for braids


Braiding is a great way to help you with transitioning to natural hair or trying a different look if you have short hair (whether it’s relaxed or natural).

Braids are also perfect for anyone with a busy lifestyle – you can wake up and go without too much fuss in the morning. From box braids inspired by Janet Jackson in the cult movie “Poetic Justice” and occasionally worn by Solange to the finer plaits her sister Beyoncé sometimes wears, the style is a convenient way to help you grow out your hair.

How to take care of your braids and your hair:

– First, make sure your hair and scalp are healthy and strong enough to bear the weight and tension of your braids.

– Ask your stylist to be gentle with your scalp and hair. Even though pulling hair tightly into place means the braids stay in and look neater for longer, there is no point damaging your hair follicles and scalp. Plus, it prevents a thinning hairline – traction alopecia. Ask them to plait the front row where hair is more fragile, more loosely, using more of your own hair to prevent traction.

– To clean long braids, get a spray bottle. Fill it with water and shampoo and then spritz the scalp and hair. Braids take a long time to dry and there is no need to wash anything except your own head of hair. Fill the bottle with clean water and spritz again to rinse. Repeat with a leave-in conditioner.

– If you get lazy between washes, dampen a cloth with warm water and an astringent and wipe your scalp down in sections to clean. Afterwards, apply hair food to nourish the scalp.

– Don’t keep braids in for longer than two months as synthetic fibres start stretching and come loose, rubbing against, and damaging, your hair.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Beyoncé’s back in braids again
Braids, weaves, relaxers
How healthy is your hair?
Thinning hair
The BeautySouthAfrica team’s favourite shampoos

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