Black Braided hairstyles have been popular for quite some time now. It all started with the box braids! They are very convenient and tend to protect your hair from everyday wear and tear. They are durable and last a long time. Some black braided hairstyles last two to three months. The smaller the braid, the longer it will last.
My hair has never grown so quickly then when it did when I had medium sized box braids! I washed them weekly, kept my scalp moisturized with Castor Oil and my braids moisturized with braid spray.
Although there are many positives to having African American hair braiding styles, there are a few things we should keep in mind:
- Hair should be washed on a regular basis! We will talk more about this in a few.
- If the hair braiding style was done correctly, there should be no damage to your scalp or hairline.
- The braiding process should be painless.
- You should never have braids installed just after you get a perm or relaxer.
- You should deep condition your hair before getting any braid style.
It is very important that you follow these tips to prevent hair loss or scalp damage. I remember taking ibuprofen before I went to get my hair done and then for like two days post hair-do. I also had trouble sleeping for a couple of days afterward. Now that I am better educated in black hair, I know that my braids were not done correctly and probably led to the thinning of my hairline.
There are Different Hair Types for Black Braided Hairstyles
- Synthetic hair – this hair is easy to wash and style. You can add curls, crimps, or waves by using hot water or thermal curlers. The most popular brands are Kanekalon and Toyokalon with Kanekalon having higher ratings. The major issue with using synthetic hair is that it tends to irritate the scalp. This is because of its alkaline base which can be removed by soaking the hair in vinegar and water prior to use.
- Human hair – the best benefit of using human hair for black braided hairstyles is that it tangles less than the synthetic hair. Human hair will not last as long as synthetic hair when used for individuals, cornrows, micro braids, etc. because the hair will allow your natural hair to slip from the base.
- Wet and Wavy – This hair can be purchased as either human or synthetic and it is very versatile. I have blown dried mine after washing it and it came out light, bouncy, and straight. It was very beautiful. You can wet it with water or other moisturizers and the hair will have a wavy pattern. My favorite moisturizer to use with wet and wavy hair is Sebastian Wet. You can also curl it with hot curlers or roller set. Black braided hairstyles like micro braids and small box braids look gorgeous with this hair type.
- Yak hair – comes from an animal called the yak. It can be roller set or crimped and curled with hot curlers.
Washing your Braids
There are a couple of techniques I use to wash my braids. I use the same techniques whether I have extensions or not. The sponge washing technique is my favorite and I use it on my daughter’s hair all the time. You insert a sponge into a cup that contains diluted shampoo and gently massage the scalp and wash the braid with the sponge. Rinse with a low stream of water, and then use the same process with some conditioner. Rinse with a low stream of water and towel dry. You seriously should towel dry your hair as much as possible because the water makes the hair extensions heavy and adds weight to your follicles. Allow the braids to air dry.
There is also the deep cleansing technique where you take a Peri Bottle or water bottle and add a diluted astringent like Sea Breeze. Then you apply it to the scalp. Always condition scalp after using products like Sea Breeze because they contain alcohol which will dry your skin/scalp.
There are also “Braid Shampoos” which I do not care much for. Most of them contain sulfur which should not be used on chemically treated hair. Also, my hair never feels entirely clean unless I use shampoo and conditioner but others like the “Braid Shampoo” just fine.
As for conditioners, you can always substitute the traditional conditioners with a leave in conditioner.
Keeping your Scalp and Braids Moisturized
There are a few ways to keep your scalp moisturized. You can use leave-in-conditioners, braid sprays, or hot oil treatments. I apply a hot oil treatment on a monthly basis. You can use your own mix or a store bought treatment. Apply it to wet hair and wrap with a hot towel for 15- 20 minutes. Then wash and condition your hair.
Wrapping Your Braids up at Night
For the longest time I would wrap my hair up with a cotton bandanna! Learn from my mistakes and use satin or silk scarves. The cotton hair wraps absorb all the moisture out of your hair. Also, if my black braided hairstyle is only a few days or weeks old, I style them at night and wrap them so each braid is in its proper place in the morning. If you wear braids often, I would recommend taking the time to see if you are able to learn how to braid your own hair. I will supply easy instructions on popular braiding techniques for you to follow.
There are plenty of black braided hairstyles. Each one has its own technique and care instructions. You will find more information below on the different styles.