The braids are in. You could be fooled into thinking your job is done. That’s what I used to think. But I know better now. You need to love your hair if your fro is out and free BUT also if it is tightly tucked away.
I decided to keep my maintenance very simple. Like I always do. What I used to do though was neglect my hair because it’s all nicely tucked away. But just because you can’t see it or reach it as easily as normal, doesn’t mean it doesn’t require your love and attention. This is one of the biggest things I’ve learnt on my healthy hair journey. You need to stay consistent no matter what. I am using a leave in spray which is a mix of Water, Glycerin, Aloe Vera Gel and a couple of essential oils (Tea Tree, Lavender and Vitamin E Oil). I don’t measure this mix out anymore but it is mostly Water, a glob of Glycerin, a glob of gel and a sprinkling of oils. This a recipe modified from Donna Marie Beauty which is my go to leave in spray. Or if I am pushed for time, I just use a spray of equal parts Water and Aloe Vera Juice.
I then oil my scalp and as much of my hair as possible with an oil blend of Castor Oil and Grapeseed Oil, this also has Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint Oil in. I also make sure, like when wearing my natural hair, that I wear my satin headscarf at night. Some people prefer a satin pillow case. I find that the scarf keeps your fly aways flatter and means the overall style stays neater for longer. You’ll need to tie it tightly to secure it but not so tight you cut off the blood supply to your scalp because that would be bad. Makes me want to invest in some pretty satin bonnets because that issue is eliminated.
Some people feel the need to redo some braids to keep the overall look looking its best. A great tip from Naturally Curly is to refresh in sections. I’ve never re-done my whole head as a way to make the style last longer, and as suggested in their article, you just need to re-do the braids that people are most likely to see, around your edges but also along wherever you regularly part your hair.
Washing your hair in a protective style
Even though your hair is all tucked away, it still needs cleaning. If you’re spraying your hair and oiling it regularly, or if you’re fancy, using gel to lay your edges, you are potentially subject to product build up. If you clog the pores on your scalp, it literally cannot breathe and that is not the sort of environment that is conducive to growth. However, washing my hair while in braids was always my least favourite thing to do and as I am honest on here, something I tried to avoid like the plague.
But I found this tip on Curly Nikki which is common sense really. When you wash your hair don’t rub the product into your hair, squeeze the product in. This should reduce the amount of frizziness while still cleaning and conditioning your hair.
I will be using my normal cowash which is currently Eden Bodyworks All Natural Cleansing CoWash. I’ll be washing my hair every 2 weeks unless it becomes super itchy. I will also be deep conditioning with the Eden Bodyworks Natural Hair Masque Treatment. I’ve never DC’ed my hair in a protective style before but I can’t live without my DC now. So much so that we’re cool like that and I say DC rather than deep condition. I’m just scared about how heavy my hair will get when wet. Because it’s as heavy as all the hair in the world right now. Not fun.
I plan on having my hair in for 5 weeks. Can you believe I used to leave it for months? I think the longest I ever did was 4 months! To be fair to me, I had just had my first baby. Looking after my hair was the furthest thing from my mind. But I suppose it isn’t really an excuse because my hair was trash afterwards. Don’t be like me from five years ago. Be like me now!
Braid removal to me was cutting the extensions just a little longer than my own hair. Anyone who has done this knows that you will probably end up clipping the ends of your real hair. It was just laziness and not wanting to undo so much of each braid. Doing this means its unavoidable clipping the ends of your own hair like whenever you put a face mask on, getting it in your hair. There is literally no way round it. But the new me will be super careful.
But if you want a super effective way to remove your braids and cleanse your hair at the same time, you have to check out this video from Skatsz (check out their blog). I can’t wait to try this to remove my braids and get rid of some of that “braid gunk.” If you know, you know!
A little bit of ACV, finger or gentle comb detangling, good old cowash, a DC, leave in, oil and cream and you are…
BACK TO NATURAL!
So here we have it the whole process of installing, caring for and removing braids from my perspective (Parts 1, 2 and 3) available for your perusal. And you can head over to my Instagram and say hi or check this link to see how I styled all that hair!
Let’s keep braiding together!
xx Lee xx
Can you think of anything I’ve missed? Have you got any braiding tips you’d love to share?