How long should you keep your braids in? How long can braids last? Are you wondering whether to keep your braids in to protect your natural hair for another month? If you do, how can you stop excessive shedding when you do remove them?
I ran into a woman one time, who shared her braid ordeal with me. She had gotten a really nice micro-braid hair style and she went about enjoying her protective hair style. One month with braids turned into two months, then three, four and beyond six months. When she decided to try and remove them, she practically couldn't comb out her hair! She was distraught! She ended up with terrible hair breakage and thinning. This story is based on an extreme case and I share it to discourage you from keeping your braids for too long.
In normal situations, people leave their braids in for two months, others might stretch it a little. Some go and get the areas that look messy repaired especially around the hairline. Regardless of how long you keep your braids whether you have box braids, lemonade braids, braided ponytail, feed in braids, cornrow braids etc.(and I advice you not to overdo the length of time), here are some ideas to help you avoid shedding when removing the braids and confronting your wash day.
- First off, don't keep your braids in for long! If you push the envelope a little, be very keen on keeping your braids moisturized. But my rule of thumb is to avoid going well beyond 12 weeks.
- Regularly hydrate your hair from the roots and along the length of your hair that is protected by the braids. This ensures that your natural hair is absorbing moisture that it needs and staying soft so that when you remove your braids, they will easily come off without a lot of damaging friction. You can use a rehydrating mist that contains a humectant every day or every other day. Warmer air holds more moisture than cold air so it is likely that you will rehydrate less often in the summer than in the winter.
- If you'll be keeping your braids on for long, clean your natural hair and scalp even when in braids. Gently massage the cleanser around the roots of your hair to loosen up dead skin cells and any other build up from products. Then rinse it thoroughly. Make sure you're not tugging on your scalp. Also ensure that you dry your hair and braids properly to avoid fungus growth. Use the Naturaz 3-In-1 Shampoo which contains cleansers and oils to wash away any loosened dirt, dead skin cells etc. It also contain lavender essential oil that is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and stimulates circulation in your scalp. By using a nourishing yet cleansing shampoo, you will be strengthening your hair and feeding your scalp.
- Apply an oil based moisturizer to your scalp, along the roots of your hair and along the length of your hair that is protected by the braids. The moisturizer will nourish your scalp and penetrate your hair shaft to moisturize and strengthen it.
- If you swim often when you have braids, make sure you rinse the chlorine off really well and apply moisturizers. Try not to use heavy grease on your scalp and natural hair so that you don't wind up with build up. Use a rehydrating product or solution that contains a humectant to ensure that your hair holds moisture and doesn't dry up from the harsh chlorine.
What do you do to prevent your hair from breaking when you have braids? Please share in the comments below.
Photo courtesy - Eloise Ambursley
About the Author – Mumbi Dunjwa is an award-winning chemist from the American Chemical Society. She is the Founder & CEO of Naturaz and she formulated the industry leading Moisture Burst System™. This revolutionary 3-step system is an all-natural hair care product line which is 100% vegan and scientifically formulated to infuse long lasting moisture in curly, coily hair. Mumbi has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and nuclear medicine technology and a Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She is passionate about seamlessly integrating health and beauty in our lives and she is a strong advocate for advancing STEM education among our youth, developing STEM careers and empowering women and girls around the world.
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