|Caring for your braids
People tend to think that the moment they put braids extensions in their hair . It will automatically grow
their hair and they don't have to do any thing else. Truth is, this is the best time to take care of your hair
naturally and still wear extensions. It's pointless to wear braids for 3 months only to realize that the
situation and condition of your hair is more or less the same if not worst, especially if the motive for
braiding is to improve the overall well being of your hair and to take a break from all forms of hair
chemicals. I suggest the following steps to a healthy braids wearing and to achieve
happiness/satisfaction once the braids are out.
1: Chemicals -Avoid applying Individual extensions/braids in your hair at least until after 2 weeks of any
chemical input. Sometimes braiders will tell you that relaxing your hair just before braiding will make
your braids neater and more presentable. Truth is the neatness of your braids depends on how good the
braider is at parting the hair and more often than not, the length of your own hair. Very short hair tend to
come out of braids whilst longer hair stay put.
2 : Before braiding - Deep condition your hair a day before applying the extensions. Continue to deep
condition your hair even when you have the braids in at least once in 2 weeks . I suggest you use a
conditioner that is rich in protein. Use an equal proportion of shea butter and coconut oil as deep
conditioner. (I have these products available too). If your hair is strong, though/hard I suggest you stick to
the same regimen as mine. I have vowed never to do without these two ingredients in my beauty regimen
and that includes my body/skin I am staying strictly to shea butter because of it's moisturizing properties.
Deep condition your hair for about 1 hour ( i normally stay longer, I deep condition when I have no where
to go so there's no hurry). Concentrates more on the root/scalp of the braids than the body it self. Always
remember that if the foundation is weak the building will collapse .
3: Washing/shampooing - Wash your braids once in 2 weeks. This is very good for your hair as it allows
your hair to rest from the chemical contents in shampoos even though some shampoo products say they
have little chemical contents, my advice is, it's better to be safe than sorry. Washing your braids every
two weeks will allow the braids to retain it's strength and reduce early rough appearance. I must say that
braids is one of the very few hair styles that even when it's rough it's still beautiful. Buy a cheap old
shampoo if you must as braid extensions gulp lots of it before it lathers.
4: Coconut oil usage as hair nutrient dates back as far as the beginning of the black race in Ile-ife( the
origin of black nation). Coconut oil helps softens yet strengthen and promotes your under growth. It also
promotes hair growth. Coconut oil is as strong and solid as coconut itself. An African proverb goes thus
" Any one who breaks a coconut with his/her head will not be among the people that will eat it " That
adage is to show the extent of the power of coconut, so imaging something as strong as that fighting for
the benefit of your hair. The result is total success.
Another great ingredient to have at hand during your braiding period is unrefined Shea Butter ( Coconut
oil and shea butter are now available on our African Body Products page). This is the master of moisture
and healthy groom. There are many fake shea butter out there, please beware. Never use refined shea
butter, it's been chemically process. The Original Shea butter is cream in color and as often as many
beauticians try to tell people that shea butter can come in many shades. It doesn't. I spent 27 yrs in West
Africa and shea butter is a must have house old item over there. I grew up with shea butter and the color
has never been other than cream . The color is Cream. The smell cannot be explained, it's close to
being odorless, yet it's not. It's not offensive at all. shea butter is all purpose moisturizer. Your skin will
thank you and your hair will rejoice. If you don't have coconut oil or shea butter use braid sprays such as
African pride instead but get your hands on one of the ingredients above as soon as you can. Always oil
your scalp at least 3 times a week to retain moisture and prevent flaky scalps or dandruffs.