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what to do before and after braiding hair

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We would say that as it gets cool outside and we prepare for fall that braid season will be upon us, but really, when is it not braid season? The protective style has become a go-to option for giving your hair a break for a few weeks, and if you go about getting them and caring for them right, they can help keep your hair healthy and help it grow. With that being said, there are few things you should do before sitting in the stylist’s chair for a few hours, as well as after, to ensure that your braids don’t do more harm than good to your natural strands. Check out some things you should keep in mind.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Make sure what you want is feasible for your length of hair.

I can speak from experience on the importance of knowing what styles and what braid sizes will work for you before you get your hopes up. You may assume that as long as the stylist can get a grip on your hair, you can confidently wear any braided look you saw on Instagram. Wrong. If your hair is only a few inches out of a TWA, jumbo box braids won’t work, sis. If you were trying to save money by getting bigger, thicker braids, you might find yourself disappointed when the braider sees your head. In addition to that, you don’t want your hair being pulled by a braid that’s too big and heavy. Also, you should know that if you don’t maintain whatever braids you get well, there is a chance that the shorter the hair you have, the more it will stick out through your Kanekalon.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Clean the hair you buy.

Speaking of Kanekalon, a lot of synthetic hair on the market, made of plastic fibers, is also made with chemicals that are not only considered toxic, but at the very least, can be extremely irritating to the scalp. That hair could be why the last time you wore braids, you couldn’t keep them in longer than a week because your scalp was on fire. The remedy recommended by stylists is to clean the hair with white or apple cider vinegar and water. Let it sit for a while and then rinse the hair thoroughly after the fact before hanging it to dry ahead of your appointment.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Deep condition and detangle your own hair.

As for your own strands, don’t just wash and dry your hair and go. Some people like to do protein treatments on their hair to strengthen strands before they are braided. If that’s not your thing, at least deep condition your strands and detangle them ahead of your appointment. Detangle brushes on the market currently do great work and help to stretch strands.

what do with before and after getting your hair braided

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Moisturize your own hair.

Don’t go in there with a dry head. Oil your hair so that it doesn’t end up dried out and weak for however many weeks you choose to keep your protective style. Putting oil on somewhat damp hair is best as your hair will absorb it a lot better. All that being said, ensure that your hair is dry before you go to the salon. (The last thing you want is them brushing and blow drying your hair out, chile. It’s not comfortable.)

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Communicate when necessary to protect your hair.

Once you finally get to the salon and get ready for the long process, make sure you speak up to let the braider know if there are certain areas you don’t want to have pulled tightly. Ask them to leave your edges out or to ease up on places near your hairline that may be thinning or recovering from thinning out. No matter how much they claim your braids won’t look as nice, go with your gut and protect your head.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Oil your scalp.

After you have your braids in, make sure you are putting oil on your scalp every few days, especially if you have issues with dandruff/dry scalp. I’m personally a fan of using Taliah Waajid’s Moisture Cleanz spray to wipe down my scalp before putting my oils of choice on it. Cleaning the scalp first can help avoid product buildup.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Wash your hair.

This is similar to cleaning your scalp. While you shouldn’t go overboard with washing your hair while you have braids, an occasional wash can help keep your braids fresh and clean. There are helpful YouTube videos, like this one, that show you how to tackle washing both your scalp and the braids without ending up with frizz.

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Get some scarves and bonnets you can count on.

If you want your braids to go the distance, you have to cover your hair at night with scarves or bonnets that won’t be sitting next to you when you wake up in the morning. So if your bonnet has lost some elasticity, or your scarf tends to slip off, hit the beauty supply ASAP. I’m a personal fan of durags. It is important to note though, that certain styles that incorporate loose hair can get tangled up and get/look matted if left to roll around in huge bonnets.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Try a sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your hair after removal.

When you finally decide to struggle to take all of your braids out, afterward, you’re going to need to really work hard to get that buildup and dandruff out. If you have scalp issues, all that gunk can resemble cradle cap by the end if you don’t clean and oil your scalp while wearing your braids. The trick to cleaning all that out but not drying your hair out is to opt for clarifying and sulfate-free shampoos.

what to do before and after braiding hair

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Detangle and deep condition after removal.

As you deep conditioned and detangled your hair before braiding it, do the same when you are coming out of your braids. Conditioning the hair helps to nourish strands that have been locked up for weeks. And though shedding after taking your braids out is normal, detangling after removing the braids, preferably with your hands, will help you to avoid losing more hair than is necessary.

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