Many women prefer to use products like a relaxer to make their hair more manageable and easier to maintain. But, some of my friends have told me that this may cause damage!
If you have recently gotten your hair relaxed, you will need to wait for 2 to 3 weeks before you braid your hair as relaxers stretch your hair’s elasticity and make it more fragile. That’s why your hair needs time to recover before braiding to avoid your braids’ weight from causing hair breakage at the roots.
If you do plan on braiding your hair, you need to make sure you prepare your hair properly and take the right steps to maintain it, so keep reading to learn how!
How To Prepare Relaxed Hair For Braids?
You’ve gotten your hair relaxed, and you are now thinking of getting your hair braided. There are ways to prep your hair in the 2 weeks after relaxing it to ensure that it’s ready to be braided. Here’s how!
The best way to prepare relaxed hair for braids is to use protein treatments/conditioners to strengthen your hair and refortify your hair’s cuticles as they get lifted by relaxers, which can weaken them significantly. That said, a great protein treatment to try is the Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt hydrating and repairing protein treatment.
Let’s take a look at additional steps you can take to prep your relaxed hair for braids.
1. Pre-poo before washing
Pre-pooing is basically ensuring that your hair is well hydrated before washing it. It usually entails oiling or basing the scalp with oil to aid in preventing any potential damage that can be caused by braiding.
It is important to ensure that your hair is well moisturized before braiding as having your hair in braids for weeks on end could be extremely drying to your hair.
Using a good organic oil is perfect for this job. Just ensure that your hair is damp when applying your oil as the oil is a sealant and seals in the current condition of your hair. Water is the best form of hydration for your hair so adding a good oil to wet/damp hair is the best way to pre-poo.
2. Wash and treat
Ensuring that your hair is in the right condition for braiding will help ensure that braiding has more benefits for your hair than downfalls.
When it comes to washing, I would suggest using natural products that are sulfate and paraben-free to ensure that you don’t undergo any form of chemical damage.
Try to use products that are made for moisturizing, strengthening, or hydrating because these are key characteristics that your hair will need when braided.
The next step depends on the condition of your hair. If you find that your hair is weaker than normal then it’s essential for you to use a protein treatment to ensure that your hair has the nutrients to strengthen itself.
If this isn’t a problem that you’re facing, you can simply use a deep conditioning treatment to lock in more moisture.
3. Rinse and air dry
When rinsing your treatment out of your hair, it is important to rinse with cold water. Cold water is great for locking in moisture and that is exactly what your hair needs before braiding.
After this, I would suggest air drying your hair. You don’t want to use any form of heat that might strip your hair of all the moisture that you have worked so hard to restore. After air drying, your hair is ready to be braided.
5 Tips To Prepare Braided Hair For Relaxer
If you haven’t spent a good amount of time taking care of your natural hair while it is braided, which we all tend to slack on a bit, it is important to take some post-braid steps to ensure the overall health of your natural hair.
The best way to prep your braided hair for a relaxer is to avoid scratching your scalp, brushing it, and washing it. That said, we know that braids can get itchy, so avoiding scratching may be difficult; this is why you should use a braid spray such as the Cantu SheaButter hair oil braid spray to prevent washing your hair 4 days before relaxing.
Here are five other things that you can do to keep your natural hair healthy after taking your braids out.
1. Wait at-least 2 weeks before relaxing hair after taking braids out
This is one of the most important steps if you are someone who styles your hair often. The lifespan of braids is around 6-8 weeks. This means that your hair has been parted the same way, received the same amount of pressure, and has experienced tension build-up in the same areas for weeks.
This is why you need to give your hair at least 2 weeks break after taking your braids out. Excessive styling and pressure in the same places could cause damage to those hair follicles and weaken the hair in that position. To avoid this, give your hair breathing time and braid it in a different style to lesson tension build-up.
2. Moisture and protein treatments
Most of the time, we battle to keep our hair moisturized and properly cared for when it is braided. We don’t wash it as much as we should, as dry shampoo is more suitable for enhancing braid lifespan. During this time, our natural hair loses tons of moisture and can be quite dry and brittle after braiding, especially if it wasn’t properly cared for in braids.
This is why moisture and protein treatments are super necessary post-braiding. Moisture treatments such as deep-conditioning are amazing at quickly restoring your hair’s hydration. Protein treatments aid at strengthening your hair strands that could have suffered damage from the weight of the braids.
3. No tense hairstyling
As we have shared in the first point, your hair is in desperate need of a break after being braided. Braiding is a tense hairstyle that sometimes puts pressure on your roots and hair follicles.
It is therefore important to give your hair a break after having it braided. Avoid any hairstyles that will cause strain to your roots and hair follicles like further braiding, ponytails, buns, and anything else that applies pressure. Instead, opt to wear your hair down for a bit.
4. Stay away from chemical treatments
As we have previously stated, your hair can be quite brittle after braiding. This means that requires recovery time and definitely doesn’t need to go through intrusive treatments that will further weaken and strip your hair.
It’s important to wait a minimum of two weeks before attempting to use any form of invasive chemical treatments after having your hair braided.
5. Go for a trim
We often forget to take the general hair care tips and tricks into consideration when we have been braiding our hair. Maintenance and styling are super easy when our hair is braided and it sometimes leaves us in a bit of a lazy place for hair care thereafter.
Try to remember to watch your hair and its overall health. Make sure that you get your regular trims and take care of it even when your intention is to re-braid or relax.