Solange Knowles (Andrew Evans/PR Photos)For African American women, or those with course, unruly hair, braids are great way to wear your hair naturally and keep you cool this summer. They're also a wonderful chance to give your hair a break from relaxers and perms.
When done properly you can wear braids for up to two months! Try not to wear them any longer, since this can cause stress at your hairline, as well as lead to hair loss.
Here are five tips to keep your plaits looking perfect this season.
Moisturize your hair before you get it braided. This will keep your hair strong and healthy looking. About one week before your braiding appointment try a hot oil treatment. This will help lock in moisture and prevent your scalp from getting itchy.
Don't use a relaxer and have your hair braided on the same day. A relaxer can make your hair fragile, and braiding it the same day can lead to breakage. Wait at least two weeks after you have a relaxer put in your hair before braiding.
Don't braid your hair too tightly. Braids that are too tight not only hurt, but can cause hair loss. The tension on your hair can cause it to break and become weak at the hairline. Your braids need to be tight enough to stay in, but not so tight that your scalp hurts after your appointment.
Jaden and Willow Smith (Allen Berezovsky/PR Photos)
Wash your hair regularly. Braids are a clean and healthy way to wear your hair. You should shampoo your hair at least every two weeks. Use a diluted shampoo and gently massage your scalp. You can very gently shampoo your braids, being careful not to tug on them, or wring them out too much. Rinse thoroughly to remove any shampoo and residue, and be sure to use a deep conditioner on your scalp and braids each time.
Rebraid your hair as it grows out. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you may need to take your braids out and have then rebraided once a month. That way, the new growth can be incorporated into your trendy look.
Use these tips to keep your braids looking fresh and healthy. Be careful not to use too much product so the roots and regrowth don't knot up. Olive oil and Argan oil based products are best because the are absorbed into your hair and scalp and will help prevent build up. Ask your stylist for recommendations on conditioning products, and additional hair care tips.
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