MAINTAINING YOUR HAIR IN BRAIDS: PREVENTING HAIR LOSS

MAINTAINING YOUR HAIR IN BRAIDS: PREVENTING HAIR LOSS

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I really don’t want you to lose hair anymore whenever you braid- Joann

 

When I was 9 years old, I heard the older ladies say that braiding increases your hair length, at that time my hair was natural and ‘stubborn’ as they said, I always wondered why my hair remained at the same level. The hope of longer hair made me like braids from that age, I remember coming home from the hairdressers’ place with serious pain on my head, then they would tell me, “Praise, it’s not easy to look beautiful”. Now I understand that the pain is as a result of excess tension on the hair, which brings me to my first point;

 

Your hair will pull off/break, when it experiences excess tension: There are three major ways in which our hair goes through tension during braids:

 

1.      When the braid is pulled too tight, especially the hairline.
2.      When the attachment is too heavy for the selected section.
3.      When the braid is more than two times longer than your normal hair length.

 

Braids are protective styles for the hair to protect it from the elements. They are easy to maintain because you do not have to brush it every day, however, a little extra work is required to get the maximum results from braiding.
Pre braiding:
When a friend of mine told me that she had just retouched her roots and was braiding already, I felt really sorry for the hair especially.  Going through a stressful chemical process, then through tension could break the hair mercilessly. So I advised:
       1.      Give a space of at least 2 weeks between retouching and braiding.
       2.      Give the hair a deep protein treatment 3 days before
3.      Treat the hair to a deep conditioning treatment at most 3 days before.

She said “OK”. Then my further reply would have been, while you are wearing the braids, take caution so you don’t lose more hair than you are growing.

In Braids!

I braided only once since I stared my hair journey and I successfully retained length.  A friend saw all the effort I was putting into maintaining the braids and she became curious, so I told her about my healthy hair journey, she wanted to join me but didn’t have enough information and persistence – she quit. Some of the things she saw me do that triggered her curiosity are:
1.    Cleansing: Using mild shampoo mixed in water (for example, 4 drops of shampoo in 50ml of water) and a cotton ball, I gently massaged the scalp weekly, then using the same technique, this time with clean water, rinsed the scalp with the cotton ball.
2.    Conditioning: A mild conditioner diluted in water can be used to cleanse the braid strands using the cotton balls. Then allow to air dry.(I Ensured that the cotton balls were not dripping with water, to aid faster drying, since I didn’t want to use a blow drier)
3.    Moisturizing: Everyday, Using a non-greasy leave-in conditioner, I would condition/moisturize every braid at least up to the point where my hair stops, then seal with oil.
4.    Scalp treatment: Massage my scalp with a mixture of  hair oils, once in two days. To avoid dandruff, or dry-itchy scalp.(just a tiny but impactful amount)
5.    Other stuffs: The edges get twisted along the line, and might go through buildup. There are few ways to avoid it:
Receding Hairline
a.     Loose the edges and re-braid, at most every 10 days.
b.    Try to ensure that no braid gets twisted by checking regularly and cleaning as much as possible.
c.    PAYING SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE EDGES IS WHAT WILL PREVENT THE RECEDING HAIRLINE WE EXPERIENCE AFTER BRAIDING.
d.    Remember to sleep with a satin scarf on, to prevent friction on your hair.

Post- braid:

Four weeks slowly rolled by, it was finally time to take down my braids, so I went to the hair salon. Loosening it by myself would have taken 3 days for just 100 braids, Alas! They finished it within an hour. My stylist asked “Praise, why did you wet your braid?”  I really can’t remember the answer I gave but here is the reason ( I hope she reads it…lol);
Before loosening the braids, it is necessary to deep condition the hair to enhance elasticity:
1.      Apply deep conditioner to your braids with a mixture of natural hair oils, Cover with a steam cap and sleep.
2.      Wake up in the morning and loosen your braids carefully.
3.      Avoid fighting with the hair and take care of your edges.
4.      After you finish loosening it, you should wash the hair.
5.      Apply protein.
6.      Then follow up with a deep conditioner.
My hair still looked healthy after braiding!
8 weeks into my hair journey
It is advisable that braids do not to exceed 4-6 weeks maximum, anything more than that could lead to hair loss. The skill used in taking down your braids is what determines whether you win or lose the ‘braid game’.
EXTRA TIPS:
1.    Don’t leave the hair hanging especially if the braids are heavy, try to pack it in beautiful styles, it reduces tension on the hair.
2.    On the day you want to loosen the hair, ensure you have enough time, so you can be as patient as possible.
With these tips, you would have retained as much length as you gained during the braid season.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Ebunoluwa, its my pleasure. Am glad u found it helpful. For the tips on maintaining your hair in sew-in weaves, I ll be doing a post on that shortly but in the mean time, the tips on braids would also be useful for weaves.

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