Wearing Braids

Hey Beautifuls! Thanks for stopping by our Healthy Hair Tips Corner. We will be discussing steps you can follow while wearing braids. Just a reminder, wearing braids does not mean you can neglect your hair in any way. To maintain the health of our hair, we must ensure we take the necessary steps to keep our hair clean and moisturized. As always we love hearing from everyone so feel free to let us know what concerns or comments you would like for us to address.

Things to consider:
• Like any other style you have to be careful when you install, you have to think of the state your hair is in, whether it is weak or strong. There is very little that can be done to hair right after it has been chemically treated. With the use of chemicals the hair strand is considerably fragile, you should avoid hairstyles such as braids, cornrows, and extensions until at least four weeks after chemical treatment. By waiting at least four weeks, it allows for new growth to grow which will provide better and stronger support.

• Protective styles such as braids, cornrows, and hair extensions are great to with reducing hair manipulation. They should not be used to cover up an existing hair problem. These protective styles should be done on healthy hair. Doing these styles on breaking, weak, brittle hair will help to exacerbate the problem and not correct the underlying problem. The weight and tension caused by the braid will only add to trauma the hair is experiencing. If you have a hair condition and you want to cover for any reason, I would suggest wearing wigs. Wigs should not be as stressful on the hair as braids, and it can be removed nightly to ensure your hair time to relax.

• The running theme for this tip has been reducing the amount of stress applied to your hair. It is a good idea to ensure the weight of the hair extension is not too heavy for your hair. If the extension is too heavy, then it has the possibility of causing unnecessary stress on the hair and follicles. If the follicles are damaged, it can cause permanent hair loss such as Alopecia. Ideal thickness for each hair extension is no thicker than the hair size you parted from your scalp. Another thing to make sure is that the extension is no more than two and a half times the length of your hair. If you are like me and like your braids ending near the small of your back, then you have to reduce the thickness of the extension.

• So, I am particular about my hair and who does my braids, for two reasons (1) I am extremely tender headed and (2) I hate feeling as if my hair is being stressed in any way. The worst feeling I can think of is when the cornrows are too tight, and you can feel the subtle bumps that develop because of the tension. Horrible!!! These bumps can also occur around your edges if your braids are too tight as well. This type of tension can result in a more severe condition called Alopecia, which is the receding of the natural hairline. Sometimes with the proper care hair can grow back but in more severe cases hair will not grow back suggesting follicular damage. So when you are getting your hair done, please make sure your hair is not being overly stressed.

• To ensure your hair can support the stress, it will endure by wearing braids prior to installment prepare it by applying some strengthening treatment such as protein or my favorite Henna. Henna treatments are all natural and used to strengthen hair strands it is a natural alternative to protein treatments and not as harsh (If you would like more info about henna, please let me know). After either treatment, you should deep condition your hair to add moisture back into each strand. Be sure to use a thick and creamy conditioner. You also want to apply good moisturizers, preferably anything with Shea Butter and coconut oil, Beautiful Fusion product Cake Batter has excellent moisturizing properties.

• Once you have installed the braids your job is not over, it has just begun. Lol It is good practice to wash your hair regularly or as needed depending on what your hair and scalp demands. Some people say to co-wash more than you shampoo to keep the strands moisturized. I agree with that notion, but it all depends on how often you shampoo or co-wash your hair. I do not do either on a weekly basis I do them as needed, same goes when I wear braids. When I co-wash my hair, I like to use thick conditioners. I like to wash twice massaging my scalp each time and the second time I let the conditioner sit on my hair for at least 30 minutes. I then rinse my hair with water slightly hotter than lukewarm temperature and for an extended amount of time to ensure all of the conditioner has dissolved. By rinsing my hair longer it ensures that the conditioner I used does not cause build up at the root. If you shampoo your hair first, just ensure you deep condition to add the moisture back into the hair strand.

• Other maintenance procedures we all should follow are to seal in the moisture after conditioning with a good moisturizer and then follow with an oil. You should also t-shirt dry your hair, using a regular towel may cause pulling of the hair. A good practice is to oil your scalp weekly. Depending on the environment, I may oil my scalp more or less. For example, if I am in a hot environment I will oil my scalp probably two times a week and wrap my hair (scalp area) with plastic wrap at night to keep in the moisture. When I am wearing braids, I do not use creamy moisturizers I use Beautiful Fusion Gold Rush oil because it has a pleura of moisturizing and cleansing oils. I have used Cake Batter moisturizer because of its light weight consistency it melts in your hand and scalp not causing build up.

• Last point to consider is not to wear your braids for an extended amount of time. I at most wear mine for about a month. Half of the time it is because I got tired of the braids and wanted to change my hairstyle. Lol if you want to wear your braids for an extended amount of time I would suggest you redo them so they are clean, and you remove any build up that may have developed. Also when you decide to take the braids out make sure you treat your hair to a good strengthening treatment and you deep condition it so to add any necessary moisture back to the hair strand.

As always thanks for stopping by our corner. If you have any questions or want to learn more about a specific topic, please feel free to leave your request in the comment box or send us an email.

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