Whilst most people think that protective styles like braids can only be worn during the colder months, in actuality braids make for great hairstyles all year round.
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Like many naturals, I adore box braids and have kept my hair in braids to protect it from the cold winter weather.
Whilst braids can be a great protective style, they can also cause damage to your hair.
Here are 3 ways to prevent your hair from suffering from such damage.
1. Keeping braids in for too long.
Braids should be kept in for no more than 6-7 weeks at a time. Furthermore, if your hair is in braids, you should re-do the outer part of your hair (the part that’s closes to your edges) once every 2 weeks so that you can minimise damage. The reason for focusing on the outer part of your hair is that the hairs in this area are more fragile and are more susceptible to traction alopecia and other forms of damage. To keep your hair protected, re-do your braids at least once every 2 weeks and avoid keeping your hair in braids for a period of more than 7 weeks.
2. Not washing your braids.
Just because your hair is in braids, that doesn’t mean that it does not need to be washed. In fact, not washing your hair causes dirt and bacteria to build up which results in build up that’s so severe that it can only be removed by cutting your hair. Most naturals will have noticed that when you take out your braids there’s often white clumps of dirt in your hair- this sort of dirt is difficult to remove and if left in for long, will need to be cut out. It’s therefore of central importance that you wash your braids regularly. You can do this using a sulphate and silicone free shampoo and shampooing your scalp and braids once every 2 weeks (or once a week preferably). If you’re unable to shampoo your hair, you can consider using dry shampoos or simply using a washcloth and some water with a small amount of shampoo to scrub your scalp.
3. Forgetting the fact that your real hair is underneath.
There are tons of braided hairstyles to choose from nowadays and in some ways this is a great thing because it gives naturals more choice. However, some hairstyles (like pick and drop braids) are damaging to naturals who have medium-long hair. When having your braids done, make sure your stylist (or whoever is doing your hair) is clear on your goals. Tell them that you want to keep your real hair protected and that you are not willing to risk the healthy and length of your real hair just for the sake of having your hair braided.
Always remember that your real hair comes first and it should therefore be protected and cared for.
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Have a wonderful day,
During the winter months many curly girls and naturalists chose to wear their hair in braided styles.
Braids are excellent for several reasons. Firstly, they can provide your hair with great protection from the harshness that’s caused by the cold.
Secondly, they provide versatility by allowing you to create multiple hairstyles and looks without having to constantly manipulate your real hair and they also prevent you from putting heat on your natural hair. When used correctly, braids can be amazing!
The problem with braids however is that many women simply don’t know how to look after them and this can cause breakage, damage and even traction alopecia.
So how do you look after your hair when it’s in braids?
Here are some tips to help.
Keep them clean.
Your scalp can get particularly dirty when your hair is in braids and this can clog up your follicles and restrict hair growth.
To keep your scalp clean shampoo your hair every 2 weeks and use a sulphate and silicone free shampoo.
Another way to keep your scalp clean is to use a toothbrush. It sounds crazy but one of the best ways to get a clean scalp while your hair is in braids is to put some of your favourite shampoo on a toothbrush and use the brush to clean your scalp. This little trick does wonders and it really cleans out the parts of your scalp that you might otherwise miss. Of course make sure you rinse out the shampoo after washing your hair.
Keep it moisturised.
Keeping your hair moisturised prevents dryness and breakage and it will massively help to keep your hair in top-notch shape whilst it’s in braids. To keep it moisturised, do two things:
- Firstly, use a hair spray or hair mist that’s enriched with oils like jojoba and olive oil. This will add moisture to your hair and scalp.
- Secondly, apply oil directly to your scalp so that it doesn’t dry out.
Watch those edges.
Finally, make sure that you re-do the edges of your hair every 2 weeks so that you significantly reduce hair breakage whilst also ensuring that your hair looks great whilst it’s in braids. By edges, we mean the parts of your hair that are closest to your face. The edges just so happen to be the most delicate part of your hair and they’re prone to breakage and damage.
Are you rocking braids this winter? Leave a comment below telling us what type of look you’re sporting.
Have a wonderful week!