Summer is upon us and many of us will choose a protective style to help us combat the humidity which can spoil any great twist out! Box Braids and crochet braids are going to be popular and if you choose to wear them proper hair care must start from pre-treatment through installation and maintenance.
Pre Treatment of Your Hair
Before you install braids, give your hair a full deep conditioning treatment. The foundation must good so it can take the weight of the braids. Stretch your hair with a blow dryer on low heat before getting it braided because it will allow your hair to blend better with the braiding hair.
Pre Treatment of Braiding Hair
Synthetic hair for braiding comes with a preservative on it. This can cause itching for susceptible people. To get rid of the preservative you must wash the braids before installation. Remove the hair from the package but do not detach it from the rubber band. Soak hair for 15 minutes in one gallon of warm water to ½ cup apple cider vinegar. Make sure that the water is not too warm or it would change the texture of the hair to straight. You do not have to rewash after soaking in apple cider vinegar. The smell will go away after drying. Alternatively you can dip hair in warm water with 2 tablespoons castile soap and leave for 20 minutes soaking and wash off with warm water. Hang the hair to dry like laundry, place it back into the packaging until installation time.
When installing braids the key is not to braid hair too tight. If you feel discomfort after braiding it is too tight. Getting box braids or cornrows installed should be a pleasant experience. When braiding around the hairline place your index finger on the area of the attachment of the braid to your hair and scalp and secure it until the braiding process is over. This prevents excess pulling around the fragile hairline.
Avoid getting the braids styled directly after installation. This can cause discomfort and strain on the scalp. Leave the braids for a week before styling this. The hair would have grown out a bit and be more flexible around the area of attachment.
Wet your hair after braiding. Yes! Wet it in the shower. This allow the braids to set into place and any minor discomfort that you may have will subside.
Avoid heavy oils and butters when you are wearing braids. Less product is best when wearing this style. Light sprays are the only thing recommended during this style and braids that prevent itch. A great formula is anything that contains aloe vera and hibiscus. These are great for getting to the root of itchy scalp. Here is an easy formula for a braid spray. As you are using water you should use a broad spectrum preservative like Germall Plus at around 1.5 percent. Or you can store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Citrus Hibiscus Anti Itch Spray
½ cup aloe vera juice
½ cup distilled water
1 tablespoon Hibiscus powder
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
1 teaspoon jojoba oil
A few drops of sweet orange essential oil
*Preservative if storing outside of the fridge
Mix all of the ingredients together and strain the liquid through a piece of cheese cloth. Transfer into a clean spray bottle. Shake before using and mist on braids and scalp daily.
One last note, do not be afraid to wash your braids! It is going to hot and sticky and clean hair and scalp is always welcomed. Rub about two tablespoons of shampoo on your scalp and allow the water from the shower to wash the hair. Do not do anything to disturb the braids like excess scalp massaging. Squeeze out water and let hair air dry.
More Natural Hair Product Recipes Can Be Found in My Book