The Weave Manual| Maintaining Your Hair and Weave While Protective Styling

by West Parsons on April 3, 2012 · 20 comments

in weave

Ediese is a member on Long Hair Care Forum whose natural weaves sparked my infatuation with weaves to begin with.  She grew her hair from big chop to waist length while wearing weaves over a period of about 4 years (check out her Fotki Album).  I would say she is an aficionado of weave maintenance, so her advice is probably a bit more valuable than the typical person who wears weaves. Here are a few tips she’s compiled.

1. After you take out your sew-in, DO NOT WASH YOUR HAIR before you properly detangle and get out ALL shed hair. (Trust me, you will have a MAJOR setback if you do not listen to that one rule). I learned the hard way. My cousin advised me against it, and I told her that I have that ‘good’ hair, so my hair will surely not tangle. Well let me tell you…as soon as water hit my hair, it formed locs and got really matted. I had to chop out huge chunks of hair.

2. Do not let the stylist braid your hair or sew in the weave too tight. You’ll know because aside from the major migraine that you’ll experience, you’ll see a lot of white bulbs on the tip of many strands along your hairline. This means that hair has been pulled out because of the tension. Also, tiny bumps will form in the back of your head. Silly me…I already know this, but I’m suffering from this right now.  I need to listen to my own advice. I have two months to nurture my hairline.

3. It is not recommended that you wear your install for more than three months. I wore an install for four months this year, and thankfully I took it out when it first started to matt up, so I didn’t lose any hair. The longer your leave the install coupled with the frequent washing + airdrying, shed hair, etc. will cause your hair to matt up over time.

4. Do not trust just ANYONE to take out your install. I always take out my installs by myself. I can’t say that I don’t trust her, but I don’t even let my sister take it out. This way, if I happen to mistakenly cut my hair…oh well…at least I was the one that did it. Also, I’m much more patient, and can afford to take the extra 2+ hours to carefully take it down. I doubt a stylist will be that careful.

5. If you are planning to leave your install in for three months, you might want to rethink frequent washing and co-washing. I usually wash once per week, but sometimes I change it up to once every two weeks. Again, frequent washing and air drying, product buildup, etc, might cause your hair to get matted..eer on the side of caution. (this is especially true for those with natural hair)

6. If you are getting a full sew-in with no hair left out, ask your stylist not to braid the baby hairs or the really short strands around your hairline. Trust me..this is the first time that I’ve had a full head sew-in with everything braided, and my hairline is missing. She braided every strand, and now I”m having to baby that area.

7. It is normal for you to see lots of hair in your comb after you take out your sew-in. Remember, you did have your hair braided for x time, and what you’re seeing is most likely shed hair.

8. Try to do a protein treatment prior to the sew-in, and when you take it down. This helps to strengthen your hair.

9. It’s also recommended that you at least wait 1-2 weeks before you reinstall another sew-in. This gives you an opportunity to give your real hair that much needed TLC.

10. Have fun with your weave! Remember there are so many different styles that you can achieve with a weave without damaging your real hair. Do you want some blonde highlights, a curly or wet n’ wavy look, or perhaps a pixie cut? Go ahead, and weave it up! might want to stick with something that will look more natural though. If you’re 4a or 4b, you might want to stay about from silky straight hair.

11. Oh yeah…please stop patting your weave in public! If you haven’t noticed, the whole weave moves like it’s a wig.

12. If you’re relaxed, this is a good way to stretch your relaxers. You don’t have to keep relaxing your entire head when you take down an install. If it’s going to be braided up anyway, what’s the point?

MORE: Maintenance of West’s Kinky Curly Weave

13. Do NOT use hair glue unless you want to be permanently bald, hair glue is a no no. (tip from Ms. Devo) If you’re not interested in getting a sew-in weave, please try out the clip in extensions before getting a bonded weave. If you still go ahead and get bonded weave, please take all necessary steps in taking it out so you don’t lose hair in the process.

14. Tips on washing hair while you have a weave:
I picked up this great tip from someone on BHM. Put your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner in separate water/applicator bottles. Dilute it with water, and pour it over your head so it reaches your braids. Gently massage your scalp, and rinse thoroughly. This works great!

15. This is the regimen that I follow when I have my sew-in. Remember I switch it up, and sometimes only wash every two weeks.
Wash 1x week with Creme of Nature (white bottle with green cap)
Condition w/ Mane N Tail
DC 1x week Pantene Pro V relaxed and natural dc mask (really good slip)
Leave in conditioner – Infusium 23
Moisturize every day by spraying a glyercin and water mix to by braids and to the hair that’s left out. I also seal the ends of the hair that’s left out with castor oil.
Clarify 1x month w/Suave clarifying shampoo