It's one thing to get box braids and it's another to actually take care of them properly.
Before I started rocking my natural hair, I used to do all kinds of things to my braids most of which were not right and the most erroneous thing I used to do was thinking about the extensions and not about my hair at all. It was always about the extensions those days. I had to spray them for sheen, apply all kinds of goo on there to make them shine like the sun was always out and so on. All this without giving a thought to my hair.
However, those days are gone. As a natural hair diva or a permed beauty, your hair should always come first, not the extensions. Failing to take care of your hair while they are in the braids will lead to dry, brittle hair and a dirty, clogged scalp. These only lead to breakage and the stunting of hair growth.
But don't fret, here is a list of things you should do to maintain your braids but also take good care of your hair :
Cleanse : Yes, wash your hair. I know many of us shy away from this task when we have braids but let me just let you know that it is essential for the well being of your hair and scalp. It is good to wash your hair at least once every two weeks to avoid build up and a clogged scalp. However, it is true that some ladies can do without washing their hair for at least a month. It depends on your hair and your scalp. Personally, my scalp cannot go without washing for more than two weeks.
Washing your hair can be done in different ways :
- Shampoo + conditioner : Shampoo the scalp and hair (not extensions. Only apply shampoo to where your hair is). After shampooing, to moisturize the hair condition for a few minutes.
- ACV rinse : This can be done by pouring a dilutes ACV mix over your scalp and hair if you want. You can also do this in addition to shampooing and conditioning if you have hard water like I do.
- Cleansing clay or powder : As an alternative, you can apply a cleansing clay or powder on your scalp and hair.
Moisturize : Moisturize your hair with a daily spritz as often at it needs it. Try concentrating on your hair instead of the extensions. You can also moisturize with a leave in conditioner just after washing.
Seal : Seal your hair with a butter or oil. It is best to do this after washing and moisturizing instead of on a daily basis. This also adds shine to the extensions
Oil : Oil your scalp even if you don't normally do this. Since your hair is in extensions and your scalp exposed, it is prone to dryness. This is especially true if it's during the cold months.
Looking at this list, it is right to say that, having extensions does not give you some "time - off" from looking after your hair and scalp. It might lighten the job but you still need to take precious care of your hair. Many refrain from tampering with their hair while in extensions because they want the style to look as neat as it did from day one for as long as possible but you should be less preoccupied with how the braids look but rather about the health of your hair.
How do you maintain your hair in extensions?