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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Selecting the Right Braid Style for You

Hey you guys!

Well it has been a minute since I have last posted. I have been having some family issues lately and haven't been in much of a mood to post. However, I am feeling better now so I have decided to give you guys a new post.

Since my hair is in kinky twists, the last series of posts have been about caring for your hair while in braids. Now I want to shift gears a bit for those who may be thinking about getting their hair braided but don't know what style to get. If you are using braids as a protective style, it is very important to consider the style you are getting since some styles may be detrimental to retention.

Some things to consider before getting your hair braided: 1)Work appropriateness--some styles may not be appropriate for work. Since I am a grad student and the dress code/hair code is extremely lax around here, I can do whatever style I please and it won't be a problem. However, this may not be the case for everyone. 2)Time/Effort--Personally, I hate sitting for hours on end (this is why I only got micros 1 time)but I want a style to last for at least 2 months.So I choose styles that take less time but last (i.e., kinky twists). I like cornrows as well but they have to get redone frequently (and I am not a fan of that. 3) Hair length--Some styles aren't protective once your hair gets to a certain length

All right here we go:

If you are getting micros that braid only a little bit and leave the rest of the hair out, like this:

(yes, I have had my hair every possible way you can imagine lol) I want you to STOP. First, assess how long your hair is. If your hair is NL and beyond, this is probably not the style for you. This style leaves your ends out and is not very protective. You would really have to be on top of your moisture game if you want to retain length.

If your hair is shorter than that and you do decide to get them, make sure the braids aren't super duper small. You may be surprised to know that the braids in my pic are the biggest they went (size-wise). If I hadn't asked for bigger braids, they would have been smaller than that (shocking I know!)


I would probably recommend this style to anyone at almost any length (you do have to have enough hair to put into a braid, of course). I have been wearing cornrows on and off ever since I was a little girl. I find that they are pretty versatile. You can make them smaller, you can make them larger. You can pull them back into a bun. You can pull them back into a ponytail. Whatever you want to do, you can do it!

The only drawback: you have to get cornrows re-done fairly quickly, depending how you take care of them. I have found that as long as I keep the cornrows moisturized and covered up at night with a bonnet, they last as long as 4 weeks (if I don't take them out before then)! When I didn't do those 2 things, I found myself getting cornrows every 2 weeks.

Box Braids

Another excellent choice for any length. The entire length of your hair is braided, making it a good style for retaining length. As you can see, the last time I had box braids was in high school. From what I can recall, those braids were teetering on micro (NOTE: This is the only exception to the micro rule. If you have micro box braids, the style is fine as long as the braids aren't really really small!). I had them in for about a month and a half (the only reason I took them was because I was bored) and got tremendous growth from them.

Kinky Twists/ Sengalese Twists

So clearly, kinky twists are a favorite of mine. I like them because they are the best style (in my opinion) for protecting your ends. My hair is twisted throughout the length of the extension, which makes moisturizing a breeze. I just spray it throughout the length of the extension and call it day. I find that kinky twists look better with time. As you start to get more and more new growth, they look better and better. This makes it 1000x easier to maintain them for 2-3 months. Also, it takes less time to put them in. It takes about 5-6 hours (unlike micros which take forever and a day).

As for sengalese twists, I have never had them. Until recently, I wasn't sure what the difference was between them and kinky twists. Basically, sengalese twists are longer than kinky twists and kinky twists use a different kind of hair. They kind of remind me of ropes (lol) and they just seem extraordinarily heavy. I don't think I would ever get them since I don't like the feeling of my head being weighed down. However, I know people who have had great growth with whatever works for you. Again, this style is suitable for any length.

Tree Braids
This is the style that I would love to try but I am terrified! I have heard so many stories about it ripping peoples edges out. However, I have heard some success stories too so I feel inclined to include it in the listing. Tree braids, also called invisible braids, are appropriate for those in a more professional setting. The style really looks like weave and the braids are barely visible (I would post a pic but I'm afraid of using someone else's pic....just google tree braids and some images will pop up). This style lasts about a month, so it is a style that you would have to get re-done fairly frequently.

I hope this post helped those considering a braided style but wasn't sure which style to get. If you are truly choosing braids as a protective style, there are certain considerations you have to take. Like i said before: low maintenance doesn't mean no maintenance.


  1. Thanks for the info...i'm past apl but not quite bsl and wanted to get braids this summer. Was thinkin about doing kinky twist so now i think i will def do it

  2. No problem! Glad I could help you make a decision! :)

  3. All styles....Weaves, Braids, Locs, Genie Locs , Twist , Goddess Braids , Crochet, Micro braids and more...

    Prices ranges from $20 to $80

    Call for a quote or questions. I'm located in Historic Pullman area 60628 , right behind the House Of Hope on 115th.

    Alisa. 773-696-8070

    Alisa Hair Studio

  4. Sharday, I just ran across your blog - great info, thanks! By any chance do you have a braid stylist recommendation in the Birmingham area?

    I'm looking for someone for my 12 year old daughter and have heard horror stories. Was hoping to find someone that promoted healthy hair w/ not too tight braids. Thanks in advance!

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