Yes, getting braids are hot in fashion currently, but for those who been about this braid life knows that maintaining these lovely things is a whole other challenge. For some, their experience with jumbo braids have been everything BUT an extended time flexing fresh looking braids. There's the frizz, and drying of the scalp. Bottom line, there's levels to braid maintenance and I have my own tricks that keep braids looking BRAND NEW for up to 45 days!!!
HAIR HYDRATION- Thirsty a$$ braids don't last long! Both your scalp and synthetic braids need a little thirst quenching to stay flawless with a weightless sheen! I achieved both the hydration of my hair and giving it the perfect sheen by creating my own mixture. 3 parts Africa's Best braid sheen spray or African Royale Sheen Spray and 1 part Protectiv Scalp Conditioner (or any leave-in of your choice). I use it daily. Its so lightweight and makes my hair look day 1 refreshed!
BRAID PRESERVATION- Um... HELLO, if you go to a professional to get your braids slayed then you know that they're not cheap! So why not protect your investment? When I'm not out and about and especially at bed time, I keep my braids wrapped up. I personally part my braids down the middle, making two sections and criss-cross them, wrapping the braids around my head like a turban and stuff them into 2 bonnets for security. I do this because I don't like my braids hanging long while I'm in bed. I once slept with just a basic bandanna around my head and some loose braids were under my elbow. When I propped myself up my elbow held down the braids and ripped it right from my scalp leaving bald spots. I could see the hair follicles on the snatched hair! It took those spots 6 years to completely grow back (thanks to something I found on IG). I also notice that when the braids are loose while sleeping, they frizz way more. My braid wrapping method keeps the braids in place and out of the way.
EDGE SLAYING- The art of laying edges isn't new by far. But for those who need a little assistance on getting that perfect lay, I got you! There are 6 things I use to get my edges hashtag worthy!
A hard bristle toothbrush- for precise design styling
ORS Extra Hold Edge Control or Creme of Nature Argan oil Extra Hold- this works! But I'm sure you're not new to edge control
TRÉSemme Extra Hold Hair Spray or Mousse- the wipepo kind!
Styling Strips- because cotton and satin scarves absorbs the product, the scarves shift and the style doesn't stay long. With styling strips, the edges will dry perfectly and in place. Papers can be torn off in a direction that doesn't disrupt the style.
Water- Using too much product can make the edges cakey. Sometime wetting the toothbrush with water can help spread the product around without adding to it.
A little flick of the wrist- Getting that perfect swirl and point is a skill. Practice makes perfect.
BRAID CLEANSING- When its all said and done, the buildup of product can actually lead to your braids looking a hot mess way before its actually time! There's nothing more obvious than caked up Edge control sitting in the new growth of your braids! Lets be serious.... WE CAN ALL SEE IT HONEY!
An easy fix for this is a gentle cleansing. Here is my step by step of MY exact process:
Some way, some how, get those braids up into a mid-high ponytail/bun.
Stuff the braids into a x-large shower cap trash bag- (I reuse Publix shopping bags) adds semi-protection so the excess long hanging braids doesn't get wet.
Rise scalp with a hair hose by getting into a shower or put your head under a sink and run warm water on your visible braids (edges) to loosen the buildup.
Let Conditioner Sit- (I typically leave it in for about 25mins).
Rise- avoiding the braided parts of the hair without conditioner
Spray hair and scalp with a braid sheen spray-
Lay edges- then wrap with styling strips to keep in place.
Wrap top of braids with head scarf- Allows the wet hair to lay without frizzing while drying
Blow Dry Braids through scarf- I usually do this is intervals of 10-15mins on a medium heat from a distance. A hooded dryer will of course also work well.
Be sure to reapply the scarf/bonnet/etc before bed- The most consistent you are with wrapping your braids, the longer they'll last.
Following these steps will definitely allow you to maintain a freshly braided look (minus that new growth of course).
Bonus: A temporary fix for hiding new growth is twisting the braids to minimize visible growth. But this method should be undone at the end of the day. leaving it twisted could cause your hair to loc-up over time.
Stay tuned... There will be an update with more detailed photos and a YouTube video to follow.