Maintain and Care For Your Box Braids
Box braids are the most common go-to protective style for women with natural hair. This is due to the protection that box braids offer natural hair. They protect hair from natural elements like wind, sun, and dust among others. However, box braids don’t come without their challenges. They can cause hair breakage, extreme dryness, and shedding. You have to maintain and care for your box braids if you want them to protect your hair and encourage hair growth.
Here are some tips on how you can maintain and care for your box braids in the comfort of your own home.
Natural hair thrives when it’s moisturized. Even when your hair is still in braids you might want to moisturize to keep your actual hair healthy. This is one of the easiest ways to maintain and care for your box braids. You can use a leave-in conditioner or a braid nourishment spray. This will ensure that your braids are well taken care of. If you want a DIY option to moisturize your hair. Just put water and some conditioner in a spray bottle and spritz your hair every time it feels dry. You can also opt to put some water and your favorite essential oil to ensure it stays moisturized. If you want to oil your hair, it’s best to oil your scalp as opposed to the entire braid.
Before you even maintain and care for your box braids, you will want to get a hairstylist who is gentle when it comes to your edges and braiding your hair in general. You don’t need to go home with a severe headache and shivers because your hair is too tight. This will cause hair breakage, especially around your edges. You need to pamper your edges when they’re in box braids so you don’t go bald. Don’t just apply gel to your edges and call it taking care of your edges. You need to oil them so they can thrive. You can use a spray bottle with water and essential oils of your choice at least once every day. If you want to apply gel ensure it’s alcohol-free and protect your edges with a lightweight oil like coconut before applying the gel.
Style with care
When you get box braids, we get the excitement of wanting to change your hairstyle every day. You might want to be more careful when it comes to styling your box braids. If you are rough with your box braids they’ll get flyaways and start to look old. Pulling on your box braids when styling your hair could cause your actual hair to break and shed. This is why it’s very important to style your box braids with the utmost care. If you’re using styling tools like bobby pins and hair clips make sure they’re not tugging on the braids.
Part of the reason box braids are the most preferred protective style is because of their versatility when it comes to styling. You can style box braids in multiple ways from high buns, ponytails, pigtails, top knot, to mention a few. It’s very tempting to have a different hairstyle every day however tugging on your box braids can lead to the shedding of your hair due to too much pulling. Keep your styles to a minimum and change your hairstyle at least weekly. This will make sure your braids don’t look older because of you roughing them up while styling. It also makes sure your hair does not thin under the braids.
After having your box braids done you will want to trim your flyaways. Most hairstylists use hot water to seal and get rid of any flyaways that you might have gotten during the braiding process. If you plan on trimming flyaways yourself as the braids get a bit older you might want to be extremely careful so you don’t cut your own hair. It’s recommended to use a water-based mousse when you want to seal your flyaways as opposed to trimming them. Oil-based mousse will leave build-up and it will leave your braids looking flaky. Use a water-based mousse for the best results then apply a lightweight oil and tie with a scarf. This will get rid of your flyaways.
Night Time Routine
You will want to maintain and care for your box braids even when you sleep at night. Before bed, you might want to wrap up your braids in a silk bonnet or scarf to prevent frizz. Sleeping with your braids unwrapped can cause friction between your pillowcase and your hir leaving it frizzy. Even with braids you still need to use a bonnet for protection. If you find it hard to sleep with a bonnet or a silk scarf you can always invest in a silk or satin pillowcase to protect your hair. This will leave your box braids looking fresh longer. The satin scarf or pillowcase also ensures that your hair does not lose the much-needed moisture you’ve been locking in.
Wash Your Box Braids
Most people are guilty of going for weeks without washing their braids. However, you should wash your braids after 2 or 3 weeks depending on your physical activity and the amount of products that you use. If you go to the gym or swim regularly you might want to wash your braids more often. Your braids can accumulate sweat, dirt, and product build-up the same way your natural hair does and may end up stinking. Wash your braids with a bit of shampoo, condition then rinse thoroughly. After this allow your hair to air dry on its own. Don’t hold your hair up when it’s wet this can cause a mildew smell on your braids. Let your braids air dry before styling them.
If you try everything and your braids still look frizzy, you might want to get a touch-up. Depending on how good your braiding skills are, you can do the touch-up yourself or go to the hairstylist. Just get a touch-up around the perimeter of your hair to make them look fresh and buy some more time with the braids. It’s also a cheaper option as compared to redoing your entire hair.
Know when it’s time to take them out
Don’t leave your braids in for too long. Box braids are a short-term protective style and should not be left in for too long. Some people leave in their braids for up to 6 months. This can cause hair breakage, shedding, balding, and in some cases permanent hair damage. The best time to eave in your braid is 4 to 6 weeks. After taking them down, allow your hair to breathe for at least a couple of days before another protective hairstyle.
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