How to Keep Your Protective Style Poppin’

Braids still lookin’ fire after two weeks … or nah? Here’s how to keep the look lovely for longer.

By Victoria Pickens

Prepare Your Hair

The night before you plan to get your braids done, it’s important that you deep condition your strands. This will ensure that your scalp and hair are strong enough to handle the pulling that occurs during installation, as well as the extra weight of your newly finished braids.

Get Right for Night

Keep your braids on point for as long as possible by sticking to a solid nighttime routine. Oil your scalp with peppermint or tea tree oil to help minimize all that itchiness, and tie a satin scarf or cap on your head to seal in the moisture and prevent your braids from becoming frizzy while you sleep.

Lock Down the Moisture

Maintain moisture on the regular by applying your favorite water-based braid spray one to two times a day. It’s important to keep your scalp hydrated to avoid breakage — don’t overdo it on the spray, though, as that can also lead to too much buildup. Apply your favorite leave-in conditioner to your braided lengths to shut down frizz and keep your extensions laid.

Wash Day on Deck

Part your hair into four sections and for each section, apply watered-down shampoo directly to your scalp using an applicator bottle. Then, very gently, massage it in, lifting dirt and oils from your scalp. After rinsing, deep condition your braids (not your scalp), rinse again, and then wrap a towel or some type of band around your head until your hair is at least 50 percent dry. Remember to wash your hair once every two weeks. Washing it any more could loosen your braids too much and cause frizz, limited the life of your style to a few weeks, rather than a couple of months.

Master the Style Switch

You could wear your braids the same way all day, every day, but TBH, that’s a bit basic. Once your braids have loosened slightly — enough for you to lift them without any pain — show off your versatility with different looks, such as the classic bun. Another easy way to enhance your braids is with braid cuffs. Adding these metallic or colorful embellishments throughout your hair will seriously upgrade your braid game, and you can purchase them at your local beauty supply store.

Take-Down Tips

Before you start the take-down process, loosen up your braids using conditioner, water, and oil. This will help to unravel each one more easily, so you can avoid crazy tangles and unnecessary snipping. Immediately (and gently) comb through each section of hair left behind after an individual braid is removed.

This article originally appeared in Sesi’s Winter 2015 issue. Subscribe here to get the current issue, on sale now.

Main Image: Ania Boniecka/Stocksy

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