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It’s safe to say the most popular hair style for African-American women during the summer season is definitely braid extensions. Whether it be Box Braids, Micro braids, Kinky twists, or the currently trending Marley Twists many women are rocking a summer look using braid extensions. Who can blame them? Braid extensions are a great protective style for the summer as it completely eliminates the need of tossing your hair around everyday as you go on about your many summer adventures.  However having braids/twists can turn quite sour for you if you choose to completely ignore your hair. Failing to remember that you still have to put in some level of hair care for your natural hair under the extensions can possibly result in hair damage.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your natural hair and maintaining braid extensions under good condition.

1.) THE STYLING:

There are many styles to choose from getting braid extensions. The most important thing to keep in mind is the length and the thickness of the style you want. First thing is that the longer and thicker you want your braid the more money you’ll be spending. Second thing is that the longer the braid the more your natural hair is being pulled. Too much tension on your natural hair can result in breakage, so keep that in mind when considering waist length braids/twists. **DON”T BRAID HAIR TOO TIGHTLY***

2.)THE HAIR:

Whether you’re doing it yourself or paying someone to do it for you please keep in mind the type of braiding hair you’re using. You have two options: human or synthetic. Human braiding hair will hold in more moisture than synthetic braiding hair. You want to buy the human hair.

 

3.) MOISTURIZING:

Just like you would do your hair without braids, you must moisturize daily. You can use most of the same oils or moisturizers you use for your own natural hair. However stores do sale special products just for braids and twists, but be sure to read the ingredients on the products. You don’t want a hair spritz product that has silicones or any other chemicals that could damage your hair. A good sheen spray to use is Isoplus Oil Sheen Hairspray Olive Oil 7oz. When moisturizing pay more attention to your scalp (I recommend massaging it)  and also the areas where your real hair is under the braid than the actual braiding extension. I tend to moisturize my hair morning and night, do what works for your hair.

4.)WASHING:

Yes you still have to wash your hair! Once again your real hair is still under those braids and need some TLC. Depending on your hair dirt will start building up in about 1 to 2 weeks. You want a clean scalp so you need to wash your hair to get rid of that buildup. Here’s a great treatment specifically for people with braids, twists, etc that combats dandruff, dry scalp, and buildup. You can wash your hair just like you would without braids however, just like when moisturizing, you must be more focused on your scalp  and also the areas where your real hair is under the braid than the actual braiding extensions.

5.)SLEEPING:

Make sure you wear a satin scarf , cap, or satin pillowcase to sleep.
Stay On Satin Natural Style Wrapping Scarf #1170

Stay On Satin Nites Bonnet Sleep Cap #600
Spasilk 100% Silky Satin Hair Beauty Pillowcase, Standard/Queen

This will help keep the moisture in and to help maintain the fresh look of your braids so that you may keep them in for a long time.

**Keeping braids in for longer than 3 months is a NO NO**

 

That’s it! If you notice, maintaining your braid extensions is quite similar to maintaining your natural hair. You just have to be sure to put more focus on your real hair under the extensions and not the braiding hair. Click here for tips on how to prepare your hair for braid extensions.

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Be sure to share your braids/twist stories in the comment section below.

Endia Mathews