I hope everyone is well! It’s been a busy week over here and the next week or so is looking even busier but I’m getting a small holiday soon so I’m looking forward to that for sure!
So a couple of weeks ago, I did a post about how to moisturise braids and it was a huge hit. Clearly, people want to know a lotttt more about how to prep hair for braids and how to revive it after! This post was requested on the blog a couple of weeks ago by one of my good friends.
So for most of us, braids are a pretty long term protective style so prepping your hair properly is really important. Your hair is going to be bound up, possibly with synthetic hair, for weeks at a time so starting with a good foundation is key. Going into braids, I believe your hair should be 3 things:
So here’s an overview of what I do to prep my hair for braids:
- Shampoo – this is important because you don’t want to braid dirty hair. I try to use a cleansing but moisturising shampoo to get any dirt off without stripping the hair. I focus the shampoo on my scalp as usual.
- Protein or henna treatment – this can be done up to a week before but I try not to braid my hair without doing some sort of strengthening treatment to it because of the extra weight of the added hair. You can do a protein treatment (more on that here) or a henna treatment (click here) to get that extra strength.
- Detangle – this is very important before braiding. Not just to prevent breakage but also because braiding tangled hair is pretty uncomfortable for you as the client. Slather your hair in a conditioner with lots of slip and get to work with the method that works best for you! That can be your fingers, a wide tooth comb, a Denman brush, a Tangle Teezer, whatever works for you!
- Deep condition – this is NON-NEGOTIABLE guys! Even if you don’t do anything else, deep condition. You need the moisture to penetrate into the deeper levels of the hair. Grab your favourite one, slather it on generously and deep condition. You can even steam your hair or use a heat cap for better penetration.
- Moisturise & seal – again, NON-NEGOTIABLE. Braiding dry hair is a recipe for breakage. I tend to use thicker moisturisers when I’m prepping for braids because it needs to stay on the hair longer. I moisturise thoroughly and then seal with an oil – usually the Nature’s Locks Reparative Hair Growth & Sealing Oil or the Nourishing Hair & Body Oil.
- Stretch – this isn’t essential but, in my experience, it makes the braiding a lot more comfortable and easier. How you choose to stretch your hair is really up to you but you can band it, braid it, bun it or use a hair dryer. If you choose to use a hair dryer, just be careful of the heat!
As I said before, your hair has been bound away for a pretty long period of time. And even with proper care during the time you have the braids in (read this post to learn more), your hair can come out of the style feeling a little brittle so it’s important to revive your hair properly and gently:
- Pre-poo – since my hair has been tucked away for a while, I have to include ALL the steps, including my pre-poo (click here to read all about it). Put simply, I apply an oil or mixture of oils all over the hair and scalp and leave it on for about an hour before shampooing. This helps to detangle, remove shed hair and soften the hair.
- Shampoo – this is obviously essential because, even if you’ve been washing your hair while you have braids in (which you should be doing), there’s still going to be quite a lot of build up. So you want to get in there and give it a good wash with a cleansing but moisturising primer.
- Detangle – this is really important because, after your hair being braided for a few weeks, there’s going to be a lot of shed hair and not removing that properly can lead to an insane amount of tangling. Tangling can cause breakage. So it’s really important to gently and properly detangle your hair with a conditioner with lots of slip.
- Protein or henna treatment – now this is definitely optional and depends on many things including 1) how long you had your braids in for and 2) how your hair feels once you’ve taken the braids out. Sometimes you take your braids out and your hair feels superrr brittle and weak and it needs to be revived and other times, your hair just needs a massive moisture boost which takes us to our next point…
- Deep condition – at this point, you should know that deep conditioning is not optional! And that is definitely the case when you’ve just taken your braids out. The hair extensions can seriously dry your hair out and it’s important to add that moisture back in.
- Moisturise, seal and style – and as usual, we need to moisturise that hair and seal that moisture in! And when it comes to styling, I strongly recommend doing a very simple style. Something that doesn’t put too much pressure on your strands and scalp! Your hair and scalp have been carrying a bit of extra weight so it’s important to let your hair breathe and give your scalp a break.
That’s it guys! Of course, you can put your own spin on these steps but these are the general steps! I know it may seem like a lot but hey, you have to decide: healthy moisturised hair or damaged hair?