Looking after hair in braids

25 May

As I said in a previous post, I am contemplating having braids done in June as a protective style during winter.  While hair is in braids it needs to be taken care of to prevent damage.  One of the most annoying possible side effects of braids is a thinning hairline.  This can be prevented by ensuring that the braids are not done too tightly and also that they are not too thin.  Many women have successfully cared for their hair using braids and have retained growth.

Here is a suggested regimen for hair in braids.  If I do get braids next month I will follow this regimen.

  • Wait at least 4 weeks after a relaxer before getting braids.  This will ensure that your hair is strong when you do braid it.  In the 4 or so weeks the hair needs to be looked after with consistent washing, deep conditioning and moisturising.
  • When you get the hair braided, make sure it is not too tight!  Also make sure the braids are not too thin either.  Tight and thin braids can wreak havoc on your hairline.
  • Washbraids often, once a week if you can manage.  You can use a moisturising shampoo or you can dilute shampoo with water.
  • Condition the braids with a moisturising conditioner.  Dilute the conditioner with water to make it easier to apply as well as to rinse out.  You can use an applicator or spray bottle to make things easier.
  • Spray braid spray generously to the braids concentrating on the section with your hair.  Braid sprays are very moisturising as they have water and glycerin among the first few ingredients.  Spray the braids daily.  Alternatively you can make you own spray using all or a combination of the following – water, glycerin, aloe vera juice, natural oils and moisturiser.
  • Oil your scalp lightly with a natural oil.  Oil your scalp after a wash when it is clean.  This will be once a week if you wash your braids once a week.
  • Tie braids back at night using a satin or silk scarf.
  • Wear the braids for up to 8 weeks to prevent matting of your own hair.
  • When removing braids, detangle hair as you take each braid out.  This will prevent you having a head full of knots and trying to detangle your whole head.  As you take each braid out, detangle and comb that hair.  You will lose much less hair this way.
  • If you want to wear braids back to back, wait about 2 or more weeks before getting hair braided again.  In the time between braids, ensure that you take care of your hair to ensure it remains healthy.
  • If you relax your hair wait 2 or more weeks before relaxing.  Take care of your hair in that time.
How do you look after hair when it is braided?

16 Responses to “Looking after hair in braids”

  1. aba 26 May, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    HI,do you have tips for caring for weave-ons? I am planning on wearing a weave in about 3 weeks. That would be 4 weeks post relaxing my hair.

  2. ifai 20 January, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Thank you for this. Getting my hair braided tomorrow. I’m not scared anymore.

  3. Ebony 25 June, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Can you get braids in your 10th week of a relaxer ? Or will it break off ?

    • Tendayi 25 June, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      Your hair shouldn’t break as long as you look after it and keep it moisturised.

  4. Nonceba 11 July, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Hi. Thank you so much for sharing. I love your blog! I am planning on braiding my hair this week. I am thinking of deep conditioning day before braiding with hair mayonnaise. Would you recommend this?

    • Tendayi 11 July, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Deep conditioning just before braiding is great. You get you hair ready for the braids. Hair Mayonnaise is a protein based product so should work to strengthen your hair. If after using it you feel like your hair is hard, just follow up with a moisturising conditioner. Your hair will soften after that. Thats how i use it.

  5. chika 25 July, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    how is the best way to get hair to grow when only one side grows faster then the other

    • Tendayi 26 July, 2012 at 4:35 am #

      This is actually a common problem. Many womens hair grows unevely. For me the hair at the back grows faster and is also coarser than that in the front. It was like this before I began taking care of my hair properly and its still the case now. There is really nothing that can be done about it. Even if you even it out it just grown back that way again.

      That said hair can also be different lengths due to outside factors that may affect one side of your head eg if you sleep on the same side every night, if your hair gets caught in your handbag straps or if you wrap your hair in the same direction nightly. You would have to change this behaviour inorder for the hair to get a chance to even out.

  6. Esi Dawson-Amoah 17 November, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    hi Tendayi! i just found your blog and i love it!i have relaxed hair and i have been trying to grow it out so i went in for some box braids. In trying to care for it i put some coconut oil on my scalp everyday. However that has left my hair with a lot of buildup product and it now looks like i have dandruff (eeek!). How do i get it out since i don’t plan on taking out my braids anytime soon? (i’ve had my braids for only 3 weeks). Do i wash it out? Or just use some diluted shampoo in a spray bottle and a damp towel to get it out?

    • Tendayi 18 November, 2012 at 7:32 am #

      I say just wash it out. Concentrate on your scalp. It won’t ruin your braids at all. When in braids I wash the once a week and keep them for 8 weeks. They are still neat when I take them out at the end of 8 weeks.

  7. ruby 09 November, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Hi I’m new to this website it really helped me get some answers but I do have one question. what do you mean when you say “relaxer” do you mean like relaxing your hair? or? some kind of product?

    • Tendayi 11 November, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      I’m talking about relaxing my hair

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