Just as with any other hairstyle, hair braiding has its secrets. Insider know-how gleaned from the experts is invaluable in improving all styles from African braiding to French plaiting. Here are the all-around best hair braiding tips:
- Drink lots of water for healthier, stronger hair for hair braiding.
- Before hair braiding, trim your hair so that you won’t be putting your split ends on display. Next, start with dry, clean hair. Wet hair results in uneven, bumpy braids and also greatly increases the risk of damaging your hair and eventually losing it. For best results if you are Caucasian, apply gel or mousse while your hair is still damp and blow dry. This will smooth out your hair for the optimum braided look.
- Go with the flow, even closing your eyes and letting your fingers work while hair braiding. Watching yourself in a mirror will only ruin your concentration.
- Pull the hair consistently, with the same amount of tension, throughout the braiding process so that the braid will be even all over and not twist out of place. The tension should not be too strong; that is, avoid pulling too hard on the braids as you weave them to reduce hair damage and loss.
- If you’re adding extensions during the hair braiding process, choose a color that matches the ends or the middle of your own hair. Also, if you are using human-hair extensions, opt for a lighter weight. Additionally, if you’re getting your entire head braided, be aware of the fact that braiding with extensions can take up to 10 hours. If you’re the one doing the braiding, invite a friend along to help you. You’ll be glad you did!
- To secure the plaits, use coated rubber bands instead of cheaper, office-type rubber bands – they’re easier on your hair. Always keep this golden rule in mind when hair braiding: less stress for the tress.
- After hair braiding, get any stray, rebellious hairs back in shape by applying gel with your fingertips.
To improve your hair braiding skills, practice on everything you can get your hands on. Practicing with dolls as a beginner is a plus: You aren’t causing your clients or yourself any pain!