How to Maintain and Take Care of Braids

Hair care is not easy. Whatever hairstyle you go for, you need to spend a lot of time both styling and caring for your hair. This statement rings true for braids as well. This amazing hairstyle may instantly improve the way you but as they say, no pain, no gain.

So, how to maintain and take care of braids? It is a complicated process that requires you to buy special products and follow strict rules. Regular cleaning and moisturizing are a necessity to keep this style in check. Along with that, we recommend following a few rules.

That said, the process may seem incredibly intimidating but it becomes second nature at a point. Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the best way to care for your luscious braids.

How Expensive Is It To Get Braids

How Expensive Is It To Get Braids

It is a common misconception that haircare is cheap. People say it doesn’t cost much because they try to cut costs. This is less than ideal as it hurts your hair’s long-term health. For braids, you should expect to spend around $200 to $300. Why is that much? You need to pay 3 important costs.

Cost Of Tools

First and foremost, you need to buy a few essential tools to properly work with your hair. This includes cheap items such as spray bottles, wide-toothed combs, shower caps, and slightly expensive materials like synthetic hair. The total should not exceed $50 here though.

Cost Of Products

We’ll be going through the treatments to moisturize hair and why it is so important soon but to do that you’ll need some great products. Don’t skimp out here and get high-quality products.

Opt for deep-cleaning shampoos free from paraben. Get the best deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner and make sure neither is too thick or heavy. If you are going to use synthetic hair, go for products designed for that hair. Only use natural oils such as olive, coconut, and tea tree. You should need at least 100$ to cover these costs.

There are a few products you have to avoid. For example, heavy oils such as castor and coconut oil are off-limits as clog your scalp’s pores. Also, avoid alcohol as it can cause dryness. Harsh chemicals such as sulfates and parabens can strip your hair of its natural oils. Fragrances also have a negative effect as they cause irritation to the scalp. Lastly, silicone is another ingredient to avoid as it can coat your hair and prevent nutritents from reaching your hair shaft.

Cost Of Stylist

This is definitely going to be the biggest expense you have to cover. Depending on the charges of your stylist and the length of your hair, you have to pay anywhere between $100 and $300. The good news is you can do this process yourself at home.

Funnily enough, the amount of effort you have to put in to make braids may make you feel like the aforementioned deals are actually a bargain.

How Long Does It Take To Install Braids

How Long Does It Take To Install Braids

One of the most frequent criticisms of braids is that they take an incredibly long amount of time to install. This is true. The process will take around 4 to 8 hours. This is assuming that you don’t have really long hair and are getting it professionally done.

Unfortunately, if your hair is way longer than average and you are doing it at home, it may take much longer than 8 hours. Whether or not the payoff is worth it depends on your fashion preferences.

Please keep in mind that you should never wear the braids past the 8 week-mark as it can have detrimental effects on your hair. A lot of people tend to avoid undoing their braids because of how long it took to get them. This is a bad idea.

Hair Care Routine For Your Braids

Hair Care Routine For Your Braids

Braids require a different and special hair care routine. Without this routine, you will face some major issues that we will go over later in this article. You can divide the routine into two parts: before making the braid and after making it.

Before Making Braids

You can’t just wake up one morning and decide to have braids. It requires some special preparations. You must comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb to ensure that there are no knots. Additionally, have a thorough shampoo to ensure that there is no dirt in your hair.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, dry your hair till there is not a spec of moisture in it. 30 minutes in a hooded dryer should do the trick. If you can’t do that, air dry for around 4 hours.

After Making Braids

Once you’ve installed your braids, you need to adopt a new method of washing your hair. There are 2 methods you can go for. The first is a simple routine: shampoo, condition, rinse and apply oil. The changes you need to make are in the products. We already discussed this under costs.

The second method is using a leave-in conditioner. Apply a deep conditioner and cover your hair with a shower cap for 20 minutes for it to soak up the product. Rinse your hair with a light shampoo and apply oil again to regain any lost oils.

In addition to the above steps, you can also apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to your scalp and braids after washing to provide additional moisture and nourishment. Petroleum jelly can help seal in moisture and prevent dryness.

Avoid being too rough when washing your braided hair. Also, try massaging your scalp when rinsing as this promotes hair growth.

It is important to dry your hair properly after both processes as wet braids are more susceptible to breakage. You can air dry for a day or go for the much quicker option, a hooded dryer. It takes no more than an hour.

The washing process should be done every 2 to 3 weeks. But what do you do to keep your hair clean and moisturized in between?

Create a mixture of 120 ml of leave-in conditioner, 30 ml of apple cider vinegar, and 45 ml of water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray this solution in your hair 2-3 times a week.

For cleaning your braids, you need to consider the frequency, use gentle sulfate-free products, lukewarm water, an appropriate massaging technique, avoid the heat, and constantly use lightweight oils or leave-in conditioners.

Importance Of Proper Braid Care

Importance Of Proper Braid Care

We spoke about some nasty issues that you could face if you didn’t have a rigorous hair care routine. These are the 4 problems you will start to notice if you don’t take care of your braids.

1. Dirt Build-up

This one is pretty obvious. If you don’t clean your hair often, dirt will start to accumulate within your braids and this is a huge hygiene issue.

2. Dandruff

Another hygiene issue you may face is dandruff. Without frequent washing, you can’t clean away the dead skin that forms in your hair. You need to shampoo and oil regularly so this fungus doesn’t create a home in your head.

3. Breakage

Products provide nourishment to your hair. Shampoos, oils, and conditioners provide special nutrients to your hair that can’t be met simply through dietary means. These vitamins keep your hair strong and stop breakage.

4. Dry Hair

It is really important to moisturize braids. If your hair loses moisture, it will look frizzy and feel really dry. Even though braids lock in moisture, you need to keep supplying moisture to it as it will eventually lose some.

Benefits Of Braids For Your Hair

Benefits Of Braids For Your Hair

We can understand if the difficult maintenance process and the dire consequences of being unable to stick to it scare some people away from braids. However, if you don’t try this style, you will miss out on these amazing benefits.

1. Prevents Breakages

The reason why braids take so long to install is that it is essentially a restructuring of your hair. This restructuring is good for making your hair much stronger. It will stop it from breaking easily.

Also when it is tied up, it is safe from a lot of the wear and tear your hair generally goes through such as tossing and turning when sleeping. 

2. Stops Split Ends

Braids keep your hair tightly packed in one place. This reduces movement and hence reduces the chance of your hair’s ends splitting. On top of that, it is protected from dangerous elements in the environment that speed up this splitting process.

3. Locks In Moisture

Last but not least, the braids help your hair retain any moisture introduced to it as the constriction traps all the nourishment in place.

Tips For Maintaining Braids

Finally, we’ll be going through tips to help you take the best care of your braids. These 4 pieces of advice can elevate your locs to the next level.

1. Protect Your Braids With Headgear

Wear a scarf or bonnet when you can as this will provide cover for your braids. This will stop dirt and other harmful elements from reaching your hair.

2. Diluted Shampoo For Braids

If your shampoo is too strong, you can try mixing it with water. We suggest doing this in any case as using an overly-diluted shampoo is always better than using one that’s too strong.  

3. Consistency Is Key

Celebrity Hair Stylist Kim Kimble put it best when she said “Anything that is worth having requires work.” Make sure you keep working on your hair to keep it in the best shape.

Related Articles:

  • Where Did Braids Originate From? Know The True History!
  • What Are Bantu Knots

Final Words

All in all, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to hair care. It’s all about trial and error. Try out all the methods we mentioned in this article and alter them to your hair’s demands till you get the desired results. Hair care is difficult but worth it.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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