Braiding hair is a long standing tradition for black women, it's a great way to to grow your hair because it's a protective hair style. Ultimately, it gives hair has a rest from combing and heat styling. This guide gives tips on the best way to care braided hair when going for growth
Wearing braids otherwise known as single plaits for growth will mean washing the plaits weekly or every ten days minimum, so you do not want the plaits too large. Large plaits are and stress the hair especially when wet. Also avoid having braids that are micro-fine because they can be unforgiving especially if they are applied and cared for incorrectly.
Lastly, ensure that when your braids are done they are not too tight as this will damage your own hair. Before braiding your hair, prepare it by deep conditioning with a protein conditioner. Wear your braids for 2 months. Re-apply ideally after 2 weeks, during this time use a deep moisturising conditioner. Never go over 3 months wearing plaits because your hair may begin to loc.
Basic healthy Hair Regime for Plaits
Use braid spray or a water based moisturiser on your braids . Do not spray the root of the plait as product build up makes the removal of the plait more difficult. You may like to use a little oil afterwards to seal in the moisture.
After removing plaits comb thru your hair to remove shed hair and then wash. Remember to protein deep condition on removal of plaits, rest hair and use a moisturising conditioner for 2 weeks whilst the hair is free of braids.
If your hair was previously relaxed before applying the braids as your hair grows you will have two different textures of hair where the new growth meets the relaxer (demarcation line). To avoid breakage when resting your hair work with the curly nature of the new growth and wear curly styles, use braid outs, twist/twist outs, chiney bumps( bantu knot outs to style your hair. Alternatively you could wet set in flat twists, wear a wig or cornrow your hair.
Try taking a picture of your hair every time you remove the plaits and note the difference.
Further care tips
Once you have achieved your hair goal length be mindful that you will need to learn how to look after your own hair.
"What you need to know to have healthy black hair"
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Guide for stimulating hair growth whilst wearing braids
To stimulate hair growth whilst wearing braids massage your scalp weekly. The photographs above demonstrate how effective a weekly scalp massage can be. Make sure you use a natural oil, not mineral oil to massage you scalp for best results. Naturally the results you personally acheive can vary.
Here are a selection of oils that will help you to promote healthy hair growth.
Washing/Conditioning your Braids/Plaits
Focus on washing the scalp rather than the braids when shampooing. After cleaning the scalp. The next key step is, to moisturise each braid and oil your scalp.
Cleaning the scalp
To ensure that you target your scalp whilst washing use an applicator bottle to apply the shampoo or a small bowl/cup. When you are ready to rinse, use a shower head and don't have the shower on forcefully. This will make controlling where the water flows a lot easier. If you don’t have a shower, invest in a shower attachment.Products / Equipment
How to wash Braids/Plaits
How to Air-dry Braids with less frizziness
Tie a silky scarf over your braids whilst it air dries. This will encourage fly away hairs dry flat.
Dry shampooing Braids/Plaits
If getting your braids wet seems like too much work, you could try dry shampooing. This is when you use a scalp cleansing product. Witch hazel is a natural dry shampoo option. It goes onto your scalp to loosen up the acumulated dirt, sweat, grease and is removed by wiping it out. There are various dry shampoos on the market so take your pick. Do bear in mind that a "dry" shampoo may be a product that actually comes in liquid form. After using the dry shampoo, spray and oil your braids/scalp as detailed above. Dry shampooing can extend the "fresh" look of your braids so you may want to use this method exclusively or along side ordinary braid washing.