The most common hairstyles are various types of braids. The benefits are clear the pitfalls are not. Here are some do’s and don’ts to using this versatile style tool to your advantage.
The benefits of braids are clear. The time saving element alone is well worth the hours spent installing them. Styling is then simplified and getting ready is a speedy process. This can be a welcome relief from having to stress about what style to wear next.
Braids also offer the option of crochet that can save more time since braiding can be done in advance and then the single braids are simply installed. Two hours max and you could have a fully braided head. This type of braiding Is not common here but it is definitely worth looking into.
Micro braids: The most sought after type of single braids. These teeny weeny braids that are the size of a needle may look good but can put an immense amount of pressure on your hair.
Mid-size braids: these are the size of a flower stem. They are definitely much better in terms of pressure on the scalp.
Box braids: these are the pinky finger size braids. Here again one is moving towards the heavy side.
Jumbo braid: this size is beyond pinky finger size.
How to choose the size of the braids:
The smaller the braids (the extension) the smaller the section of hair on the scalp (scalp dot) has to be. The longer the braid gets the heavier the pressure on the scalp becomes. So you have to try and get a good balance between length of the braids and the size of the scalp. So, if you want longer braids then make them thicker so that there is more of a balance between the weight of the hair and the size of the sections on your head.
Natural hair can tolerate smaller scalp sections since unprocessed hair is less fragile. Processed hair tends to be finer and so smaller braids could cause more breakage.
The pitfalls of braiding
You never want to have your braids installed too tight. This may seem to be a good idea because it may look neater for longer but it not good for scalp and hair. Tight braids that cause rashes on your edges are a big problem. These rashes can get infected and cause widespread scalp problems. When you have your hair braided ask your braider not to pull your hair too much.
Braids that are left in for too long can cause massive hair breakage especially around your edges. Those little white roots that become visible at the base of your braid is the root of your hair being pulled out of the follicle. Remove braids after two weeks to a month. This may seem like a waste but leaving them in for longer may be costing you hair. Yes hair, if the braid is actually pulling your hair out which would you rather choose your money or your hair?
Unless you are absolutely sure do not chop the braid extensions to speed up the removal process. I have chopped entire sections of my own hair off while in a hurry to remove braids in record time. Undo a few braids in a section to make sure where your hair ends. Chop a few cm below that point.
Often once braids are removed hair is very tangled. Also depending on how long you have had the braids detangling your hair before you wash it is a very good idea. Often when braids are removed there is a ball of tangle on every braid. This often looks like a little white ball of fluff. It is a mixture of oils and lint that has to be removed before you wash your hair. Do not try and comb or brush it out. This may just cause more knotting. Instead use your hands to separate these knots and remove them before you apply shampoo to your scalp. If you find a few that are tough to get out apply some conditioner and use fingers to gently pull the knot apart. Remove all lint and fluff before you wash your hair. You can even use a hair oil to do this. The hair oil is then also a pre-poo and treatment for your hair before the shampoo.
When your hair comes out of braids there will be plenty of dead hair that has to be removed. Do not try and wildly comb the hair as quickly as possible. Patience and gentle movements will ensure you don’t break your hair unnecessarily. It will also make the entire process less painful