How I wash braids

3 Apr

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now but I realised it would need pictures to accompany it so that it makes sense.  I managed to get some pictures taken while I washed my daughters braids.  I wash my own braids the same way.

I’m often asked how I manage to keep braids looking neat for up to eight weeks.  I believe part of it is in how I wash them.  In the pics my daughter has had the braids for almost eight weeks.  They still look quite good.

I like to wash my braids over a tub using a hand held shower head.  You can do the same thing standing under the shower or you can even use a bucket.

So here is the process:

You will need a towel and some shampoo. You need a towel that’s big enough to wrap around your head.  I use a bath towel.  You may dilute your shampoo with water in a spray bottle if you wish.


Thoroughly rinse your braids before you begin.  This will dislodge any dirt and wash away any dust on the surface of the braids.


Put some shampoo in one hand.   The pic below shows the amount of shampoo I use per lather.


Apply the shampoo to your scalp using the free hand.  Take a bit of shampoo and apply it all over your head including your hairline and nape.  If you are using diluted shampoo in a spray bottle then spray the shampoo onto your scalp.  Massage your scalp your fingertips.  Make sure you are concentrating on the scalp.  Do not worry about the length of the braids at this stage.  Also make sure you have massaged every inch of your scalp.  Pay attention to any areas of the scalp that might itch.


Rinse out the shampoo.  The lather will run down the length of the braid washing them as they go.


Apply shampoo to the scalp once more.  Massage the scalp again.  This time squeeze the shampoo lather down the length of the braids to the ends.  Squeezing the braids will help to clean them.  If you have not washed you braids in a long time you will notice that the lather is brown with dirt!


Rinse the hair once more, taking care to get all the shampoo out.  Gently squeeze out excess water from the braids.


Wrap your head in a towel.  Make sure all the braids are covered.  You can tuck the ends of the towel in to prevent water trickling down your back.  Keep the towel on your head for about 10 minutes.  The towel will absorb the water from the braids.


After 10 or so minutes remove your braids and let them air dry.  At this stage you can spray some braid spray on the length of the braids to moisturise them.  Once dry you can apply an oil of your choice to the scalp.

My daughters braids at 8 weeks

My daughters braids at 8 weeks

To summarise – When washing braids there is no need to scrunch them up or disturb them too much.  Just concentrate on getting your scalp clean.  Squeeze the length of the braids to get the dirt out.  Since you should be washing your braids frequently (I prefer weekly) they won’t really be dirty anyway.



24 Responses to “How I wash braids”

  1. Fatima 03 April, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Thinks for the instructions ,how wash braids!
    I did weaves about 4 weeks,haven’t washed the yet and worry to damage the weaves.
    I like to use braids as well,but my hair is compleet grey.
    How can I dye my hair while I have braids in?



    • Tendayi 04 April, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Hi fatima

      You cannot dye your hair while you have braids in. Your colour will not be even because of the added fibre / hair. You would need to colour your hair prior to getting braids.

  2. Lindi 04 April, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Thanks for this Tendayi! I am planning to get braids and plaits during winter as protective styling. I BC’d my hair in Feb so it should be long enough by then. Keeping the braids and my scalp clean has been on my mind. My scalp is quite sensitive and prone to itching when my hair is tied up, so this is really great.
    Talking about braids, I’m scouting for a good stylist. Yours look amazing and comfortable. Care to share who you use? Thanks

    • Tendayi 04 April, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Let me email you Lindi. I don’t have her permission to publish her details on a public forum.

  3. Andiswa 04 April, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Great tutorial, thanks. I wash mine the same but i thought there was a special way of doing it 🙂

    • Tendayi 04 April, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      No special way Andiswa!!

  4. Rue007 06 April, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    How about the DC’ing part?

    • Tendayi 08 April, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      I have to do a separate post for that otherwise this post would have been too long.

      • Rue007 08 April, 2013 at 9:28 am #

        Great. Can’t wait to see it. Thanx.

  5. Chanda Kaka Mwale 10 May, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    am loving this….maybe this winter can do some hair is a bit short around the hairline..dont U think wen I wash that frequently the braids will keep coming out

    • Tendayi 10 May, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      You can leave out the tiny hairs on the hairline. They do not need to be braides. If it looks messy you can use a gel to neaten them. If braids are done properly they do not fall out, even on short hair.

  6. gabslivin 04 June, 2013 at 12:25 am #

    Thanks Tendayi! Great post as usual! How often do you suggest washing the braids? Every week or once every 2 weeks?

    P..s – looking forward to the how to DC braids post! xoxo

    • Tendayi 04 June, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      I wash weekly and thats what I recommend. I wouldnt advise going longer than 2 weeks without washing.

      • Magda 17 September, 2013 at 11:35 am #

        I just stumbled across your blog as I was looking to find out about T444Z and washing of braids caught my attention. I did try washing my braids a week after I got plaited because I had so much dandruff and it was a disaster. They got really loose and had this whitish residue between my hair and the braids like what happens when you keep them too long. It’s like dandruff and hair chemicals got stuck in between the knots. Did I shampoo wrong?

      • Tendayi 17 September, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

        If the braids loosened I think it may be the way they were done. I wash my braids weekly for 8 weeks and they do loosen over time but not by much.

        As for the while residue, did you thoroughly rinse out the shampoo? I wash my own braids in exactly the same way I wash my daughters (as shown in this post). I haven’t had problems yet.

  7. Adanna 16 October, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    I have regular single braids. So we don’t use conditioner at all? I also use Aussie shampoo and conditioner by the way.

    • Tendayi 16 October, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      You can definately use conditioner. Just dilute it in water to make it easier to rinse out. Make sure you are thorough when rinsing to avoid product build up on your braids.

  8. kellie 23 December, 2013 at 2:12 am #

    this is my first time getting braids and my hair is itchy as omg :S I ws told you couldn’t wash braids, but thanks to this hopefully it won’t wreck my braids

    • Tendayi 12 January, 2014 at 12:28 am #

      How did it do Kellie? I wash my braids weekly and they continue to look great.

    • gabslivin 13 January, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      Please can someone explain the occurrence of little white particles at the root of a braid. Its so frustrating! Sometimes these start a week after braiding and will not disappear no matter how much you wash, condition and slather the hair & scalp in oils and moisturisers. Imagine spending upwards of R250 on getting a nice hairstyle and going 2 months with little white dandruff looking particles at the root. It looks dirty and unsightly… I don’t braid my hair for this reason. How does one prevent these and how can one get rid of these once they appear? Please HELP? 😦

      • Tendayi 17 January, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

        I get those if my hair is braided to tightly. It will be the being pulled out from the root. I get them mostly on my hairline. If the hair is not braided tight i dont get them

  9. Vanessa 25 January, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Does this go for real braids too ? I mean I don’t braid with weave I just use my real hair it’s about a few inches past my shoulders would it loosen easily ? I’m not natural I have a relaxer

    • Tendayi 26 January, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

      How long do you wear your braids for Vanessa? I often cornrow my hair. I keep the cornrows for 2 weeks. I don’t wash the hair during this time because it would get fuzzy and look untidy quickly.

      • Vanessa 27 January, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

        I usually leave my braids for a couple weeks but I decided to leave them in longer but I want to make sure i know how to wash them without messing them up

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