Braids and twists are a thing of beauty. They are a celebration of many origins but seem to get their greatest voice from African culture. These protective styles never go out of fashion, and the need to establish a consistent and strategic hair care regimen for those braids and twists should remain a top priority for divas who dare to wear them. Whether you wear synthetic hair or human hair, you must take the necessary steps to care for your hair.
Here are five ways to care for your braids and twists in a modern natural hair care world.
Moisture Your Scalp While Wearing Braids and Twists
Scalp care is essential when wearing braids and twists. It is easy to forget to care for the scalp as one’s focus often shifts to the style and look of the hair. However, scalp care is an absolute must when wearing braids and twists. Your scalp must have moisture and circulation to remain healthy and reduce the risk for dryness, inflammation, flaking, and yes, dreaded breakage.
Remember to keep the scalp clean by using water in a spray bottle. You can use a light oil, one that does not clog or block the pores to massage your scalp. Itchy scalp? There is good news; you can use peppermint oil or tea tree oil to relieve that itchy scalp!
Seal in Moisture!
Protective styles like braids and twists may be beneficial to the woman who chooses to wear them as there are many benefits to donning these styles, but there remains a distinct requirement to seal in moisture. Braids and twists can be drying to hair, and thus, you must take a few precautionary steps to circumvent the effects of your daily environment.
At least once a week, take the time to moisturize your hair using an oil-water combination or mix in a water bottle. Not sure what oil is best? Consider using an essential oil such as olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, or Jamaican black castor oil. Take note that a little bit of any of these oils go a long way with these oils so, be careful if you are a heavy-handed individual. Not a fan of the oils? That’s okay; Shea butter is another way to restore and seal in moisture.
Use Caution When Bunning or Creating Braid Updo Styles
Updo hairstyles with freestyle braids and twists are a wonderful way to change up your look but beware of hairstyle that tug or pull your hair. Remember, hairstyles that cause tension or stress on your hair can lead to breakage or in some cases, traction alopecia.
Instead, opt for hairstyles that do not add or create additional tension on your hair at the roots or along the hairline.
Extended Wear Does Not Equal Six Months!
How long should you wear braids or twists? This question is a popular one and perhaps, is a controversial one depending on who it is you ask. Most braid and twists experts agree that wearing protective styles for too long can cause breakage. The reason for this is that over time, hair that is in a protective style like braids or twists, slowly becomes fragile over time, making the decision to wear a protective style counterproductive for those looking to rest their natural locks.
Ideally, you should not wear braids or twists for greater than six to eight weeks. However, for the diva who elects to wear their protective style beyond a four-week period, she should ensure that a professional stylist is in place to support the extended-wear journey. He/she will help to keep your braids fresh and can continue to monitor your hair for any potential damage risks.
Protect Your Hair at Night
While sleeping, keep those braids and twists under protection by wearing a satin or silk bonnet or a silk scarf. Which one is better? It’s a personal choice, and it depends on your sleeping habits. If you are a rough sleeper, the silk bonnet may be a better option.
There you have it, five ways to care for your braids in a modern natural hair world!