How I Take Care of My Hair After Braids
When you’re in a hair rut, it’s challenging to figure out what style to try next. I kept asking myself which style I wanted to try next and couldn’t decide between either braids or a weave. I decided to get braids but THEN I had to figure out what KIND of braids I wanted: an actual style, individual box, or something different. I didn’t really care too much about what my next style was just as long as my real hair was put away for a bit to give it a break. That’s the main benefit to protective styling for me: I can put my hair away but still manage it underneath.
Taking care of your hair afterwards can be an ordeal if you don’t do it properly. I remember one time taking braids out and had the wonderful idea of washing my hair right after WITHOUT DETANGLING. It made that process even worse and I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost more hair due to breakage. Now, the process of how I take care of my hair after braids isn’t time-consuming at all and I feel like I’m still maintaining the overall health of it without stressing it out.
The only part that sucks about having braids or any kind of protective style that puts your hair away is the detangle process. It took a while for me to come up with a specialized routine for detangling after taking braids out. It’s funny because one time I had braids in college and thought it was a good idea to wash my hair prior to detangling…that’s not a good idea AT ALL. It caused more breakage and took forever to detangle.
My detangling process now is simple and takes no more than 30 minutes. First, I section my hair off into 4 parts. Then, I lightly spray my hair with water so it’s damp. I apply a liberal amount of Shea Moisture’s African Water Mint & Ginger Detox & Refresh Hair & Scalp Leave-In Detangler and comb it in section by section . The slip from the detangler allows the comb to glide through my hair with no issues. All the shed hair that builds up at the roots and along the hair shaft comes out and my head feels 10lbs lighter.
I apply a protein treatment to my hair once a month to maintain its elasticity and strength. Especially after having my hair in braids for 2 months, I know my hair got a little weaker because it was put away. It wasn’t getting the proper nourishment and oxygen it needed during that time. I use the OG hair mayonnaise all the natural girls grew up using. It’s thick and I feel like it makes my curls a little more juicy than normal.
I can be lazy when it comes to conditioning period. Most times I do follow directions but I’ll leave the conditioner in overnight in a heartbeat when I feel lazy. I slather it on so my hair can soak up the nutrients to regain some vitamins and whatnot. Once I finish deep conditioning, I apply a leave-in to continue the healing process. I use Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Hair Repair Cream. I bought it a few months ago when I was kinda broke but I like it because it feels hydrating and it doesn’t smell too perfumey.
Giving the Hair a Break
Between detangling and taking the braids out, my hair is a wreck. Also, I’m tired by this time so I’m not really in the mood to do any kind of actual styling to my hair. For the next week, I may put it in plaits, 2-strand twists, or pigtails. Giving my hair a break after all that manipulation lets it rest and breathe. Plus, I can easily transform it into another style if I really felt like it…but I don’t.
How do you take care of your hair after you take braids or another protective style out?