Braids are the ideal hairstyle for those times when you simply can’t fathom having to go through your entire hair routine on a regular basis. They’re a low-maintenance, protective style, but that doesn’t mean you can totally slack off while wearing them — at least not if you want them to last!
Luckily, keeping your braids on point all summer is a relatively simple task. Here’s what to do.
WRAP IT UP.
Wrapping your hair at night is essential for preventing dryness, which is especially important when you have braids, since you can’t access your natural hair to moisturize it as easily. A silk scarf will also help maintain the sleekness of your style.
It’s important not to neglect your scalp and exposed hair, especially your roots. Dry, itchy scalp is the mortal enemy of every braid-wearing woman. You may cringe at the idea of putting water on your roots, since it may cause frizzing, but a moisturizing spray of some kind will do wonders for your comfort level. Opt for an all-natural, lightweight leave-in conditioner or braid spray.
AVOID GUNKY PRODUCTS.
By the same token, though, avoid products that contain mineral oil or petroleum, which will build-up on the hair. You’re not thoroughly washing your hair when it’s braided up, so there’s no way to get rid of that build-up. It’s not good for your hair, and it’s kind of gross.
Whenever possible, opt for natural oils like plain old coconut oil or jojoba oil.
CLEANSE YOUR SCALP, NOT YOUR HAIR.
If you find yourself desperately needing to wash your hair, but don’t want to take out your braids yet — don’t fret! You can wash your braids. The only thing is that they absorb water like nobody’s business, and if you have yarn braids, forget about it. Rather than washing all of your hair, head to the sink and wash your scalp only.
You can even avoid water altogether by using a root rinse or dry shampoo to clarify your scalp. Apple cider vinegar is excellent for this purpose.
Your braids will inevitably start to turn fuzzy, even if you’ve been taking the very best care of them. Use a strong-hold gel to lay down the frizz, but don’t go too heavy. Remember, we’re trying to avoid build-up here.
FRESHEN UP THE FRONT.
Rather than battling all-over frizz, which you will likely never get rid of entirely, focus on the first layer of braids in your hair — the layer that faces the front. The best option here is to take them down and re-braid them entirely. It won’t take too long, and it’ll make your hairstyle look brand new.
LET YOUR BRAIDS REST.
Lastly, to avoid putting too much tension on your hair, make sure to let your braids hang loose regularly. Too many updos and ponytails will pull on your roots, shortening the length of the hairstyle and potentially damaging your hairline.