How To Keep Your Braids Fresh For Longer
When you first walk out of the salon, you feel beautiful with your fresh new braids. After putting up more time (and money) than you would have liked, you want to see your new investment last for a good amount of time. In an effort to prolong your look, you tell your hairstylist to tighten your braids just once turn less than it would take to make you cry. But, in the long run, that does you more harm than good.
Instead of risking damaging your hair, there are steps you can take before, during, and after getting your braids that will keep them looking fresh for longer.
Many people skip this step when getting braids, going into the salon with their hair as is. Next time you get braids, you need to moisturize and clean your hair and scalp beforehand. Braids will tuck away your hair. Great for shielding against environmental damage, but bad for shielding your hair from regular conditioners and shampoo.
Because it will be hard to reach your hard after your braids are in, you need to focus on cleansing your scalp and hydrating your hair as much as possible. Use a clarifying shampoo and deep condition before your next appointment to set yourself up with healthy hair.
When in Doubt, Spray
I know I just said it’s hard to shampoo and condition your braids, but it’s not impossible. Unlike with your natural hairstyle, you have to focus on your scalp and real hair, not your whole head.
The best way to do this is to get a spray bottle. Fill half of it with your favorite shampoo and the other half with water. Shake up the mixture until it foams up. Spray directly to your scalp and rub it in with your fingertips (not your nails since they can damage your scalp.) Rinse your hair in the shower and ring it out like a towel to out get all the excess water. You can repeat this process with a conditioner to moisturize your hair.
If you need something quick to get you through the day, consider using a braid spray or mousse. A water-based mousse will add moisture and keep your braids shines. A quick spritz of braid spray will hydrate your hair whenever you need it. You can buy braid spray or make your own by diluting your favorite oils and ingredients with water. Witch hazel is particularly effective since it has anti-fungal properties and leaves hair looking vibrant.
Change What You Sleep With
Your cotton bedding, although comfortable, may be ruining your braids. The constant rubbing you do at night can lead to frizz and breakage in the morning. To prevent this, wrap your hair in a silk scarf or bonnet every night before your go to sleep. If you prefer to leave your hair unwrapped, a silk pillowcase will work too.
Touch-Up Your Edges
Sometimes, all it takes is a little touch-up to keep looking fresh. Since the edge of your hair is the main visible part, focus on making it look neat and sleek. A good styling gel and edge control will help you lay down your baby hairs and tame the new growth at the roots. Rub a little on your roots and style your new hair into your braids for a seamless look.
If you want a more professional look, most hairstylists offer an edge touch-up as well. Not only will this make your hair look salon fresh again, but it will also save you money.
If You Love Something, Let It Go
No matter how much you love your braids or how much you paid for them, at some point, you must take them down. Some women try as hard as humanly possible to extend the longevity of their braids by constantly retwisting the new hair. However, retwisting your hair more than 3 times may cause it to lock up. Moreover, having your braids up too long can cause excess tension, which leads to hair loss.
You should keep your braids for 8 weeks at the longest. Anything more and the tension becomes too much. When you take them down, you may run to go immediately book your next appointment. But, slow your roll. Leaving your hair down for at least two weeks is necessary to let your hair relax. Use that time to get a trim, clean your scalp, and assess your next style.