Today, after not much debate, I got kinky twists put in my hair. My BFF and I were chatting on the phone today and we both decided that this summer would be the summer of "I don't feel like doing my hair for real" and that we would spend the summer braided up. Some of you guys might be considering the same thing. I think braids are a great protective style, they protect your ends and you don't have to manipulate your hair too much. My hair has shown me time and time again that braids are its preferred method of protective styling.
Anyway, I thought it would be beneficial to blog my braid rules. I'm finding out more and more each day that a LOT of people think of braids as a "put it in and forget it" style when it is far from that. There are some considerations that have to be made before you get them and you do have to take care of them once they are in.
So now I'm going to present my braid rules that I adhere to. Please keep in mind these rules may not work for everybody but I have found they work great for me.
1) Make sure your hair is in the best condition it can possibly be in. This may seem like a no brainer but I know a lot of people who will put braids in because their hair is breaking. Putting braids in hair that is dry and breaking can only make the problem worse. Please make sure your hair is getting all the moisture and protein it needs!
2) Make sure you are at least 8 weeks post relaxer. I will never ever ever EVER get braids immediately after relaxing. Here's why: your hair has to be strong enough to carry the weight of the extra hair you are putting in your hair. When you relax, you are breaking down the protein bonds of the hair---meaning that you are making it weaker. It just seems to me that your hair would be better off if you get your hair strong again (via protein DCs) before you add the extra weight to it. Also as a side note, I don't care what your braider says, you do not press or relax your hair prior to getting them put in. Will straight hair make for easier parting? Yes. Will your hair break off because of it? Yes. Weakening your hair and putting all that weight on it is just asking for trouble.
3)Wash and DC your hair the night prior to the braiding. The night before, I will wash my hair with a moisturizing shampoo (like Elasta QP Creme Conditioner) and DC will a protein DC (like ORS Replenishing). I like to give my hair as much moisture as possible and strengthen my ends a little bit more before the braiding. I also spray a moisturizing and a protein leave-in in my hair.
4) At the braid shop, ask them to leave your edges alone. I do this every time I go. I don't care what they say....don't touch my edges. If, for some reason they do braid my edges, I go home and take them out immediately. I don't care. I'm not having broken edges for anybody.
5) Once your braids are in, wear them down for a few days. I understand that immediately after getting your hair braided, you want to throw it into a ponytail. Don't do this! This is entirely too much tension on your hair. Wear your hair down for a few days..let the braids loosen up a bit and then throw your hair into a ponytail.
6) Don't forget you still have to take care of your hair! Yes you still have to wash and condition and moisturize your hair for the 2 months your hair will be in braids. Personally, I 'shampoo' with a dry shampoo 1-2x a week and spray in a leave-in daily (alternating between protein and moisture). Sometimes, if I'm feeling froggy, I oil my scalp with coconut oil.
That's really it. Six simple steps that make all the difference for my hair. Hopefully, it will help you too! Because it's late (went into the braid shop at 3, didn't leave until 12:30am), I don't have pics yet. Check for them tomorrow!