Hair Routines & Growth

How To Care for Natural Hair & Scalp While Wearing Braids

how to take care of natural hair in braids

Braids stand out as the ultimate protective hairstyle, offering a refreshing break from the ordinary high ponytails or wash day routines that can cause breakage.

Even when you’re rocking your braided style, managing braids demands a similar level of attention as leaving your hair unbraided.

In essence, braids weave together strands, serving as a low-maintenance method to keep your hair tucked away. Beyond taming frizz, they present a straightforward remedy to common hair problems.

It’s common knowledge that maintaining a healthy head of hair demands a good hair care routine, even when it’s styled for protection.

Adopting a protective style like box braids doesn’t mean abandoning your hair care routine entirely, and the misconception that protective styles require minimal commitment should be abandoned.

Make sure you don’t overlook these important steps to nurture your hair and take care of your scalp while rocking braids and twists styles.

From wash day routines to protecting your hair follicles, incorporating protective styles like knotless braids or Senegalese twists into your routine requires attention to detail.

From using a clarifying shampoo to rid your hair of product buildup, and following up with a nourishing deep conditioner to replenish moisture.

And most importantly don’t neglect your scalp’s health; massage in essential oils like coconut oil, peppermint oil, or olive oil to stimulate circulation and combat a dry scalp.

Whether you’re dealing with curly hair or opting for synthetic hair extensions, maintaining a healthy scalp is important. Incorporating a leave-in conditioner can help lock in moisture and prevent breakage.

Remember, tight braids can lead to tension and potential hair loss, so prioritize gentle handling and give your scalp room to breathe.

Related Post: 23 Tips On How To Grow Black Natural Hair Fast & Longer

How To Take Proper Care Of Your Braided Style

To maintain the health and longevity of your braided style, prioritize these natural hair expert recommended hair care tips:

1. Scalp Care: Prepare your scalp with a detox before braiding to maintain a healthy foundation for the style. Washing synthetic hair before installation can also prevent potential allergens.

Maintain a clean and healthy scalp by washing it thoroughly before braiding. Regular scalp oiling and washing after activities like swimming can prevent product buildup and maintain scalp health.

Related Post: DIY Scalp Scrub Recipes For Scalp Detox & Hair Growth

2. Pre-Braiding Hair Care: Before braiding, ensure your hair is thoroughly moisturized using the LCO or LOC method. This prevents dryness and ensures your hair benefits from the protective style.

3. Avoid Tight Braids: The most important thing is to ensure your braids aren’t excessively tight. Tight braids can lead to hair breakage and an itchy scalp.

Communicate with your hair stylist to maintain a comfortable tension level throughout the styling process.

4. Avoid Tight Braids at Hairline: Ok I know we just spoke about this, but I have to talk about this again! Steer clear of tightly braided hair especially along the hairline to prevent excessive breakage and tension on hair follicles.

The hair in the front of our head is so much more fragile and prone to breakage. Look out for signs like tiny white bulbs or scalp bumps, indicating strain on the hair strands.

So make sure you really get this across to your hair stylist.

5. Mindful Sectioning: Avoid overloading small sections of your hair with too much braiding hair. Excessive weight can lead to hair breakage.

Maintain equal parts of your natural hair and braid hair to prevent strain on your hair strands and scalp.

6. Nighttime Protection: Wrap your braids with a silk scarf or satin bonnet before bedtime to prevent frizz and minimize tangling.

Consider using a silk pillowcase for added protection if wearing a bonnet is uncomfortable.

7. Light Oils for Hydration: Opt for light oils to moisturize your scalp and braids. Heavy oils can clog hair follicles, leading to scalp buildup.

Apply light oil a few times per week to keep your hair hydrated without weighing it down.

Related Post: 8 Best Carrier Oils For Natural Hair Care & Growth

8. Hydrating Sprays: Incorporate a leave-in conditioner or hydrating spray to lock in moisture and maintain supple hair and add in much-needed moisture.

I like to use a mousse for this. Regular application can prevent dry hair and promote healthy hair.

9. Braid Refreshing: Refresh your braids to keep them hydrated and looking fresh.

10. Use Natural Moisturizers: Avoid moisturizing products containing mineral oils, as they can contribute to hair breakage. Opt for natural oils like almond or coconut oil to keep your braids hydrated.

Consider using a natural leave-in conditioner for non-greasy moisturization.

11. Itchy Scalp Relief: Pat your itchy scalp gently to avoid disrupting your braids. Consider soaking the braiding hair in apple cider vinegar before installation to prevent irritation.

12. Sun Protection: Protect your scalp from prolonged sun exposure by covering it with a scarf or hat, especially if you plan to spend extended periods outdoors.

Exposed parts from your braids are more susceptible to sun damage, so take precautions to prevent scalp irritation.

13. Regular Washing: Wash your braids every two weeks to remove dirt, dust, and scalp buildup. Use sulfate-free shampoo and wash as you would with your natural hair.

Alternatively, dry-wash your braids using a clean cloth and diluted shampoo to maintain cleanliness without damaging the hair shaft.

Or you can buy a scalp cleanser to use on your scalp.

Be gentle when washing your braided scalp to avoid causing damage. Avoid rubbing harshly and instead massage the scalp gently to break up dirt and oil buildup.

After washing, dry your braids by gently squeezing out excess water to prevent unnecessary tension on the scalp.

Related Post: The Best Wash & Go Hair Products For Natural Hair

14. Don’t Tie Them Up: Avoid constantly tying up your braids in tight styles, as this can strain your baby hairs.

15. Variety in Styling: Experiment with different styles to keep your braids versatile and fun. Add beads or clips for a personalized touch.

This not only makes protective styling more fun but also mixes up the manipulation of your hair so that not only one area gets manipulated too often.

Leading to bold spots or excessive breakage. It allows areas to rest.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your braids while maintaining the health of your hair, scalp, and protective style.

How Long Should You Keep In Your Braided Style

how to take care of natural hair in braids

While it’s undoubtedly a protective style, wearing it excessively can lead to undesirable outcomes, particularly if maintaining a full head of hair is a priority.

To protect the health of your scalp and uphold healthy hair and health scalp, I advise you not to keep your braids in for more than eight weeks—six weeks is typically my sweet spot.

Whether you choose twists, dread braid twists, crochet braids, or Bantu knots, prolonged wear exceeding a few months can wreak havoc on your hairline and contribute to hair breakage.

Braids with added hair extensions typically maintain their integrity for four to six weeks, whereas those without extensions usually endure anywhere from one to four weeks.

Should you wish to sport braids for longer than two months, it’s important to remove the old braids, grant your scalp a 2-3 days to recover (I like to do a week at least), then proceed to reinstall the braids.

Anything surpassing the two-month mark could result in excessive product buildup and dirt buildup, potentially leading to the matting of your natural hair types.

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