Protective braiding styles, like box braids, twists, cornrows, and crochet braids, are popular among African-American women. These hairstyles are meant to protect the hair from damage caused by heat styling, chemical treatments, and environmental factors. However, improper installation or maintenance of protective braids can lead to hair breakage, tangling, and scalp irritation. Therefore, if you are considering installing protective braids, here are some tips to ensure that your hair remains healthy and beautiful.
Choose a reputable stylist
The first and most important step in getting protective braids is finding a skilled and experienced stylist. Look for someone who has a good reputation and who specializes in protective styling. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or online forums. Check the stylist’s portfolio to see if they have experience working with your hair type and length. A good stylist will help you choose the right braiding technique, hair type, and size for your protective style.
Prepare your hair
Before getting protective braids, make sure your hair is clean and well-conditioned. This will ensure that your hair is healthy and ready for the braiding process. Avoid using heavy hair products, as this can make your hair greasy and difficult to work with. If your hair is dry, consider doing a deep conditioning treatment or hot oil treatment a few days before your appointment. This will help to moisturize and strengthen your hair.
Use the right hair extensions
When choosing hair extensions for your protective style, go for high-quality hair that matches your hair texture and color. Synthetic hair can be used for braids and twists, but natural hair or human hair extensions are a better option. Human hair is more durable, and it can be washed, styled, and reused. Make sure to choose hair extensions that are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to manage. Avoid using hair extensions that are too heavy or bulky, as this can cause tension on your scalp and hair.
Protect your edges
Your edges are the most delicate part of your hairline, and they need extra care and protection. Before braiding your hair, apply a protective oil or cream to your edges to prevent them from breaking. Avoid braiding your hair too tightly around your edges, as this can cause tension and damage. If you notice any pain or discomfort around your hairline, tell your stylist immediately.
Protective styles are meant to protect your hair, not to damage it. Avoid over-styling or manipulating your braids too much, as this can cause hair breakage and tangling. Keep your braids clean and moisturized by washing them once a week or every two weeks. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner, and avoid rubbing your hair vigorously. Gently blot your hair with a towel and let it air dry.
Maintain your protective style
To keep your protective style looking fresh and neat, you need to maintain it properly. Avoid scratching your scalp or pulling on your braids, as this can cause irritation and hair breakage. Wear a satin or silk scarf or bonnet at night to protect your hair from frizz, dryness, and tangling. Moisturize your hair and scalp regularly with a lightweight oil or spray. Avoid using heavy hair products that can weigh down your braids or cause buildup.
In conclusion, protective braiding styles are an excellent way to protect your hair and achieve a low-maintenance hairstyle. However, it is important to take proper care of your hair before, during, and after installation. By following these tips, you can ensure that your protective style is healthy, comfortable, and beautiful.