Whether you're natural or not, there are so many reasons to rock a protective style during the summer. Styles like braids, twists, and faux locs can help reduce excessive breakage from heat styling, increase length retention, and protect against environmental damage. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they are really fabulous. However, the biggest misconception is that you can skip washing your braids in order to preserve your style. While the braids can last anywhere from two to eight weeks depending on the type you choose and how you wear them, you should be prepared to clean up about every two to three weeks. If you swim or sweat a lot, your scalp will need a lot of care. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your braids looking fresh and beautiful for an extended period of time.

1. Moisturize your scalp

Tip number one is to make sure your scalp is properly hydrated! You cannot expect your hair to grow out underneath if you do not take proper care of your scalp. Make sure you choose an oil that your scalp likes and moisturize along your parting lines every day or at least every other day. Also, don't forget to take a suitable braid spray to make things easier and use the oil to seal in the moisture. Natural oils like coconut oil, Jamaican black castor oil or olive oil to deeply nourish and keep your braids healthy.

2. Wash your braids properly

The scalp should always be washed, even with braids in the hair. To get rid of the build-up of product, dirt or sweat, you will need to wash your braids after about three weeks. Use a Moisturizing or Hydrating shampoo that will not strip your hair of its natural oils, but will ensure that your braids are hydrated and have a healthy shine. Not only will this cleanse your scalp, it will remove any extra weight from the products and dust on your strands. While washing do not rub your braids. The proper procedure for shampooing braids is:
a.) Dilute cleansing shampoo with water in a squeeze/spray bottle.
b.) Apply the shampoo to the scalp and massage generously
c.) While smoothing your hands over the braids, rinse thoroughly and let the shampoo rinse off the braids.

Recommended products: Carols Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo 12oz | Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo 384ml

3. Avoid over-styling

One of the best features of braids is their ability to be styled in a million different ways. While it can be tempting to always pull your braids into a high ponytail or a gorgeous top knot, the end results are certainly not worth it. Constant styling your braids can weaken your roots. This tension can also affect your natural hair and even lead to hair loss and shedding when pulled excessively. While it's okay to do these styles every now and then, it's best to keep your styles low-key most of the time.

4. Appropriate night care

Sleeping on a pillowcase or with a silk scarf will help keep your braids from drying out. Your edges will also stay cooler & fresher. Cotton pillowcases can cause fizziness for your braids and they also absorb all the moisture in your hair. Hence to keep your hair nourished, lively and your braids frizz-free, use a satin cap, silk pillowcase, or silk scarf.

5. Refresh your Braids in section

You don't have to redo your whole head to look fresh and poised. During this time, you will need a bit of touch up without having to work on your hair completely. If you're looking for smaller refresh steps, consider dipping your ends in hot water to rid your braided style of that dull, tangled look after a few weeks, and use a light styling mousse to help tame your braids. Opting for a Haircare mousse rather than a gel prevents product build-up while taming your braids.

Final thoughts:

For all the tips and tricks to preserve your braids, you have to remember that they are not meant to last forever. These tips are meant to help your braids stay their best throughout the eight weeks, but after that it's best to pull them out to give your hair a break from the extra weight (brittle strands, over time, can easily break under pressure). Before embarking on your next braid fix, remember to let your natural hair breathe for about one to two weeks.

Specific Products For Braids:

Whether you're natural or not, there are so many reasons to rock a protective style during the summer. Styles like braids, twists, and faux locs can help reduce excessive breakage from heat styling, increase length retention, and protect against environmental damage. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they are really fabulous. However, the biggest misconception is that you can skip washing your braids in order to preserve your style. While the braids can last anywhere from two to eight weeks depending on the type you choose and how you wear them, you should be prepared to clean up about every two to three weeks. If you swim or sweat a lot, your scalp will need a lot of care. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your braids looking fresh and beautiful for an extended period of time.

1. Moisturize your scalp

Tip number one is to make sure your scalp is properly hydrated! You cannot expect your hair to grow out underneath if you do not take proper care of your scalp. Make sure you choose an oil that your scalp likes and moisturize along your parting lines every day or at least every other day. Also, don't forget to take a suitable braid spray to make things easier and use the oil to seal in the moisture. Natural oils like coconut oil, Jamaican black castor oil or olive oil to deeply nourish and keep your braids healthy.

2. Wash your braids properly

The scalp should always be washed, even with braids in the hair. To get rid of the build-up of product, dirt or sweat, you will need to wash your braids after about three weeks. Use a Moisturizing or Hydrating shampoo that will not strip your hair of its natural oils, but will ensure that your braids are hydrated and have a healthy shine. Not only will this cleanse your scalp, it will remove any extra weight from the products and dust on your strands. While washing do not rub your braids. The proper procedure for shampooing braids is:
a.) Dilute cleansing shampoo with water in a squeeze/spray bottle.
b.) Apply the shampoo to the scalp and massage generously
c.) While smoothing your hands over the braids, rinse thoroughly and let the shampoo rinse off the braids.

Recommended products: Carols Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo 12oz | Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo 384ml

3. Avoid over-styling

One of the best features of braids is their ability to be styled in a million different ways. While it can be tempting to always pull your braids into a high ponytail or a gorgeous top knot, the end results are certainly not worth it. Constant styling your braids can weaken your roots. This tension can also affect your natural hair and even lead to hair loss and shedding when pulled excessively. While it's okay to do these styles every now and then, it's best to keep your styles low-key most of the time.

4. Appropriate night care

Sleeping on a pillowcase or with a silk scarf will help keep your braids from drying out. Your edges will also stay cooler & fresher. Cotton pillowcases can cause fizziness for your braids and they also absorb all the moisture in your hair. Hence to keep your hair nourished, lively and your braids frizz-free, use a satin cap, silk pillowcase, or silk scarf.

5. Refresh your Braids in section

You don't have to redo your whole head to look fresh and poised. During this time, you will need a bit of touch up without having to work on your hair completely. If you're looking for smaller refresh steps, consider dipping your ends in hot water to rid your braided style of that dull, tangled look after a few weeks, and use a light styling mousse to help tame your braids. Opting for a Haircare mousse rather than a gel prevents product build-up while taming your braids.

Final thoughts:

For all the tips and tricks to preserve your braids, you have to remember that they are not meant to last forever. These tips are meant to help your braids stay their best throughout the eight weeks, but after that it's best to pull them out to give your hair a break from the extra weight (brittle strands, over time, can easily break under pressure). Before embarking on your next braid fix, remember to let your natural hair breathe for about one to two weeks.

Specific Products For Braids: