Mojo (not pictured above) of Natural Hair Mojo writes:
Now that warmer weather is upon us, many ladies — myself included! — are looking into braids and twists with extensions. This low-maintenance protective style can offer the styling versatility of long hair without the commitment (you can remove them and be back to TWA status within hours) or the upkeep (no detangling while they are installed?! HELLO!) Those who wear braid extensions can retain a significant amount of growth, if they are properly maintained. Incorporate these tips into your braided hair regimen to maximize the health and growth of your natural hair!
1. DO make sure your natural hair is in tip-top shape before installing braids or twists. Deep condition your hair on a weekly basis for at least 3-4 weeks prior to installing braid or twist extensions to ensure that your hair is moisturized and strong from the inside out. Consider doing a strong protein treatment (followup with a moisturizing DC to prevent brittle and/or dry hair) the week before your install. Remember to moisturize your hair daily and seal in the moisture with your favorite oil or butter!
2. DON’T braid the hair around your edges too tightly. Redness or white bulbs visible at the scalp OR headaches after your install are signs that your follicles are being damaged by tight braids. Try leaving out some of the hair, especially at the temples, or use larger sections with less braiding hair to lessen the damage.
3. DO use large, diamond-shaped parts if you are braiding your own hair. Pencil-sized parts are the perfect size to avoid too much stress on your strands, and the diagonal parts will help the braids lay flatter.
4. DON’T use braiding hair straight from the pack. Braiding hair contains an alkaline base over the fibers that can cause mild itching or even hives on the skin/scalp in many braid wearers. This base is easily removed by soaking the hair in a sink full of water with one cup of vinegar added for at least 15 minutes. Be sure to dry the hair by laying it out on a towel before installing.
5. DO keep your hair and scalp clean and buildup-free while wearing braids. Witch hazel or apple cider vinegar can be applied to a cotton ball and then dabbed in the parts between braids, or for a more thorough cleansing, add diluted shampoo to a spray bottle and thoroughly soak the scalp and braids. Clip or tie up the braids to avoid breakage from the weight of the wet hair, and leave the shampoo on the hair for 20-30 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.
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