With just a few weeks to go before Christmas, many must have exhausted their Christmas and New Year budgets. Financial management is key to getting through the new year, but getting new hair can cost a good chunk of your leftover spending during the festive period.
So you need to strike a balance between making sure these braids look as fresh as the day they were first made and not compromising on hygiene.
Chelsea Candelario, assistant editor at PureWow, an American digital media company that publishes women’s lifestyle content, works to protect, moisturize and last your style.
Candelario reached out to a natural hair expert to learn how to maintain her braids and keep them looking like they did the first day.
Moisturize your scalp
Kendall Dorsey, celebrity hairstylist and Dark & Lovely brand ambassador, said:
Most styles (such as box braids and cornrows) expose more of the scalp than normal. As a result, it can be prone to dryness, irritation, and/or flaking.
Also read: Beauty tips for air travelers to stay fresh on long flights
Dorsey recommends using a leave-in hydrator to hydrate the hair and scalp. Next, add a serum to soothe the scalp and relieve tension caused by dryness.
If you want to go the DIY route, grab a spray bottle, fill it with water, and add hydrating (and lightweight) ingredients like castor oil and tea tree oil to the mix. Spray. For best results, use this method at least twice a week.
wash the braids
The main myth is that you shouldn’t wash your hair while wearing braids. Of course, you can wash your braids without losing style. In fact, it’s essential to clean the scalp and braids frequently to avoid product buildup, dryness, and/or irritation.
Dorsey recommends using a purifying shampoo or a micellar water cleanser (such as Dark & Lovely Cleansing Water) to reach the scalp directly to remove impurities. Dilute the shampoo by mixing it with water in a spray bottle. You can also use 1 part shampoo (about 2-3 pumps) and 2 parts water (about 1/2 cup).
After shaking well, apply the mixture to the scalp and gently massage (be careful not to scratch the surface). Finally, rinse everything off (yes, it’s okay if the water runs down the braid). Follow the same procedure as for conditioning.
After cleansing and conditioning, grab a microfiber towel and gently squeeze out any excess moisture.You can air dry or use a blow dryer on a low setting to dry the braids. It’s important to dry your hair completely because you don’t want to damage it. (Still need visuals? This step-by-step video is super helpful.)
Avoid tight hairstyles
The best thing about braids is how versatile they are. One moment you’re wearing them, the next you’re tying them into a ponytail. You want to be strategic about how often you wear these fun hairstyles.
If your braids are always in a tight look (high ponytails, buns, Dutch braids, etc.), you run a higher risk of frizz, breakage, and weakening along the roots and edges. We’re not saying you should give up these styles entirely.
redo the edge
If you have the time and patience, consider redoing the edges with a clean wash and coconut oil every four weeks to keep the area moisturized. In addition to styling your baby’s hair, consider modifying the braids along the hairline (depending on the style you’re rocking).
Do not wear braids for long periods of time
Braids are definitely a style that can be worn for a long time. But don’t wear it for a long time. Dorsey recommends wearing protective clothing within 4-6 weeks. why? Just like scheduling her PTO to take a break from work, hair needs a break too. The longer you keep your braid, the more likely it is that your hair will break, knot or tangle. Yes, they are protective styles, but they are temporary. Braids should be a good way to show off a new style and not struggle with your natural hair.
protect braids at night
We’ll tell you all about why you should always protect your hair at night. This means that unprotected hair loses moisture and shine and is prone to frizz. Dorsey suggests wrapping your hair in a silk or satin headscarf (or bonnet) to avoid chafing and drying out while you sleep. For extra protection (and just in case you wake up with a scarf across the room), use a silk pillowcase too.