7 Dec 2012

Single Braids Tips! #3

If your hair has been recently chemically processed, avoid putting in braid/weave/cornrow extensions for a least a month. By then you will have some new growth to fortify the chemically treated hair, which is by nature weaker and porous, stronger more resilient hair for braid/weave/cornrow extension to be attached to.

 Make sure your hair is in good condition before embarking on putting on braid/weave/cornrow extensions. If hair is weak, brittle, breaking and experiencing excessive shedding, the braid/weave/cornrow extensions will only exacerbate the situation. We tend to see braid/weave/cornrow extensions as a way of masking or covering hair issues, so we look presentable till the issue is resolved. This is not the case, the weight and mechanical tension of the braids will only put more traumas on the hair. If there is a hair condition that is too bad to have out in public, it is better to try wigs as these can be removed every evening and the hair treated with whatever is needed, and also there is not pressure or tension applied to the hair to wear a the wig. DO NOT use glue on wigs though!

Do not apply braid/weave/cornrow extensions that are too heavy for your hair, the rule of thumb should be that the hair to be applied should be about the same amount in thickness as the hair it is to be attached to, that is to say if you section out a pencil sized amount of your hair, then your will attach hair of a pencil size in thickness to it. Also try to make the length of the extension no more than two and a half times the length of your own hair. If you want to make the length longer, then the thickness of the attached hair should be less than the thickness of the section of hair you want to attach it to, (but keep in mind though that if your hair is naturally curly or kinky and in its natural curly or kinky state, this will start to look untidy after your first wash). The reason for being careful of the size and length of the hair you attach to your hair is rather simple; you do not want to put undue strain on your hair and hair follicles, by adding too much weight for the hair to bear. This will lead to breakage, shedding and Alopecia.

Do not make the braid/weave/cornrow too tight. You do not want to sacrifice the health of your hair for style. If the braid/weave/cornrow extensions are too tight, you could end up with tension alopecia. Trichologists claim that when this type of alopecia happens to the edges and nape it is possible with perseverance to grow the hair back, but if it happens in the centre of your head this hair will never grow back. Make sure you insist to your stylist that you do not want the braids too tight.

Before braiding prepare the hair for the application of the extensions. Fortify, strengthen and build up your strands with a deep conditioning protein treatment (leave on hair for at least 20 – 30 minutes under a steamer or heat cap, or an hour if using a shower cap, towel and body heat). Follow this with a deeply moisturising conditioner, (again leave on for the prescribed times mentioned for the protein deep conditioning), one that compromises of Shea Butter and Coconut, is a good one to go with. Shea Butter for its moisturising properties and ability to seal in moisture, and Coconut Oil for its ability to moisturise hair strands and transport protein into the hair shaft.

When wearing your braids, wash your hair regularly, alternating between a light silicone free conditioner – co washing one week, and a sulphate free shampoo wash the next. This will prevent build up that can cause the hair to matt which will lead to tangles and hair breakage when you take out your braids. The best way to do this is to dilute the shampoo with water about 2 parts shampoo to one part water and put it in an applicator bottle. Wet hair thoroughly and apply the diluted shampoo to your scalp, use your finger pads to massage in gently and work into a lather, then rinse. During the rinsing the soapy water will work its way down the length of the braid and carry any dirt and oil with it.

Deep condition your hair after every shampoo wash to replace oils removed. You can use a shorter lighter conditioner treatment for after a co wash.

Seal in moisture after conditioning with a good water based moisturiser (this is moisturiser that has water as its first or one of its main ingredients).

Wrap hair in a turban with a micro fibre towel or cotton tee shirt, then when hair is no longer dripping allow it to air dry.

Oil your scalp once a week after every wash to prevent dry scalp and flakes forming. You don’t want dandruff whispering your secrets everywhere you go!

Moisturise your hair daily by misting with water, or an oil and water mix. Make sure you mist the roots as well as the entire length of your own hair with in the braid/weave/cornrow extension.

Apply a heavy moisturising butter like a Shea Butter and Coconut mix every other day after misting.

Do not carry your braids for too long, as tempting as it may be, especially when you think of the time and money spent to do them! The longer your leave the braids in the more likely you will get build-up and matting of your hair of some sort which will lead to hair loss and breakage ultimately.

When you take out your braids, remember to repeat the protein treatment, then moisturising treatment previously mentioned.

- curly2kinky

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