Braids are a protective hairstyle that requires relatively low maintenance. You can style them in different ways and add beads or colorful hair choices to express your personality. Women often get braids to help with their hair growth, to tuck away the ends of the hair that can become stunted due to weather and improper care. Doing your braids yourself or going to a salon often requires preparation to ensure your time isn’t wasted and your hair is easy to braid.
Every woman should know how to care for her hair before committing to braids that can last for months. Here are the best tips on proper preparation and treatments to use that will help your braids look better for longer.
Should I straighten my hair before getting braids?
Most beauty professionals don’t recommend straightening your hair before braids. Adding heat by using a flat iron can damage the hair, sucking out moisture that’s essential to maintain while the braids are in place. Moisturizing and stretching your hair is often all that’s needed when seeking out a beautician. It’s up to you to determine the best practices for you and your hair.
If you do your own braids, prepare your hair with a thorough cleaning and moisturizing routine. Utilize twists to stretch your hair out, giving you a better grip to work with. Straightening your hair can remove the texture, making it harder for the strands to grab onto the extensions. Taking the time and energy to flat iron will also wear you out faster, slowing down your progress with braiding and making it harder to complete the process on time.
If you work with a beautician, confirm with them how they can best work with your hair. Find professionals who have the time and skill to work with your hair at its best and without the damage of heat or chemical products. Find a beautician who is just as concerned about your hair growth and scalp care as you are and work out the details. With proper communication, you can find an easy-care routine that keeps your hair strong and healthy.
Pros and cons of straightening my hair before getting braids
While many professionals recommend against straightening your hair before braiding, there’s always a case that can be made that it’s the right option for you. Straightening your hair may be the best way for your beautician to get enough grip for micro braids or other similarly difficult braids. You may even be helping a friend train at braiding or want to try something different with your hair.
With the proper care and heat protectant, you can minimize breakage and dryness and protect your scalp against further damage. As long as your hair is maintained and keep moisturized and healthy, you can straighten it before braiding to ease the process for yourself or the beautician.
The cons of straightening your hair include drying out the scalp and causing damage that will affect how well the braids hold. By using a deep moisturizing treatment before getting braids, you can give your hair the extra beneficial strength that will stop strands from breaking off during the weeks or months your keep the style. Just using twists to stretch out your hair instead of straightening it with a flat iron lets the hair use its natural shape and strength to grip the braided hair and create a lovely look that will last as long as intended.
The best option for you depends on your circumstances and the professional who will be braiding your hair. Always put the health of your hair above the convenience of an appointment or a cheaper hair beautician.
What should I put in my hair before braiding?
Preparing your hair ahead of braiding is the best way to strengthen the strands and keep the scalp healthy. Address any lingering issues like dandruff or weak hair to ensure they don’t get worse while in the braids. Many beauticians also recommend against getting braids too soon after relaxing the hair, as it can cause more breakage and potential hair loss.
Start a protein treatment a few weeks before your scheduled braiding appointment. This form of treatment works to repair the damage caused by harsh chemical or heat treatments in the past. It directly attaches proteins to the hair strands and strengthens the cuticle layer of the scalp. Your hair will benefit from the added resiliency and strength that might have been lost due to previous hairstyles or improper care. Improving the elasticity of your hair will help the braids stay secure for longer without damaging any of your hair.
Deep condition your hair with after-shower treatments. Deep conditioners work to minimize damage from other products or treatments and also restore the hair’s pH level. This step in your preparation plan nourishes and strengthens the hair. You’ll have better elasticity during the braiding process and your moisture levels will protect your hair the longer you have your braids in. This step can be started a week or a few days before the braiding. Ask your beautician for deep conditioning hair mask recommendations and products that have worked well with other clients.
You should also use a clarifying shampoo a couple of days before the appointment. This type of shampoo isn’t needed for many people as it works to remove build-up that has occurred from frequent product use. Clarifying shampoo will reset your hair while rejuvenating and refreshing the scalp. Pairing a clarifying shampoo with a deep conditioner helps to offset the changes in pH that can occur. Overusing this type of shampoo can result in a dry scalp, more flyaways and dull hair. A treatment a day or two before your appointment can help to clear out build-up that will affect your hair’s ability to stay strong and elastic.
Should I wash my hair before getting braids?
You should thoroughly wash and prepare your hair before getting braids. Your hair will likely only need to be washed and moisturized the morning before your beautician appointment. Leaving your hair wet can often help the professional during the process. Once you’ve gotten braids, you’re likely to only wash them once or twice a week for up to a couple of months. Going into the appointment freshly washed and prepared allows your hair to be as ready as possible.
Washing your hair before getting braids gives you time to check your scalp for any last-minute issues. You can thoroughly check your hair’s elasticity and strength and take the time to determine the colors or style you want. You’ll also have the time to fully moisturize your hair.
It’s common courtesy to arrive at the salon clean and ready to be worked on. Always check in with your beautician before an appointment for any recommendations or advice that can make the appointment faster or easier. Washing your hair before getting braids allows it to be in its best form before being worked into a protective style. The healthier and stronger your hair is while being braided, the better growth and results you’ll see after they’re taken out.
Five things I should do before braiding my hair
Keep these tips in mind when planning your future visit to the salon for braids.
1. Avoid relaxing your hair and getting any serious chemical treatments a couple months before getting braids. Your hair needs to be elastic and strong before braiding and many treatments actually weaken your hair. Improperly taking care of your hair or braiding it while it’s damaged can result in hair loss and braids falling out.
2. Maintain a regular cleaning and conditioning schedule before getting braids. Use protein treatments, clarifying shampoos and deep conditioners to boost your scalp and hair health. Ask your beautician for any care regime tips or product recommendations that can benefit your hair type specifically.
3. Minimize the amount of heat you use on your hair in the weeks preceding the appointment. Your hair needs to have as much moisture as possible to keep your scalp from drying out. You want your hair to be fully moisturized and elastic to be able to handle the weight of the braids and properly encourage satisfying hair growth.
4. Detangle your hair thoroughly the morning before getting your braids. This will help whoever is braiding your hair to have an easier time braiding and organizing. You can work on detangling while massaging in a final moisturizing product or while washing it.
5. Stretch out your hair in twists to avoid flyaways or tangled hairs. Avoid adding any heat to your hair. Straightening your hair is often discouraged, but you can try no-heat straightening alternatives if your beautician requires your hair to be straightened before the appointment.
Getting braids gives you the chance to promote your hair growth while wearing a versatile and fashionable hairstyle. Remember to always put your hair and scalp health first, and you’re sure to have amazing, long-lasting braids.
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