Wearing braid extensions is a good way to manage African American hair. With the hair braided in extensions, you can style your hair in different ways and skip the pain of daily combings. You will also handle your hair less and therefore promote growth. Wearing your African American hair in extensions does not make your hair care free. There are still things you must do keep your hair in good condition.
After getting braid extensions, need to moisturize your hair as you did before it was braided. To moisturize your hair, massage your scalp and hair with a natural oil like coconut oil, Shea oil, or extra virgin olive oil. There are also some store bought moisturized you can use such as braid sheen. Do not use products that contain mineral oil. You should do this two to three times per week.
It is important to wash your hair while it has braid extensions. Your braids should be washed biweekly with diluted shampoo. Use a simple shampoo that does not have any conditioner added such as baby shampoo. Massage your scalp gently after sudsing your hair, and rinse thoroughly. Next apply diluted conditioner to your hair, but try to avoid your scalp so you don’t cause braids to loosen. Make sure you leave no residue in your hair. Use a towel to squeeze the water from your hair, and then allow it to air dry.
While keeping African American hair braided reduces the amount of breakage due to handling, keeping it in braids for too long a period will cause more damage than if you combed it every day. The extension hair can become so entangled in your actual hair that taking out the braids can cause excess breakage and damage. For this reason, extension braids should be removed within four to six weeks of braiding.
To remove extensions, clip your extensions just below the length of your natural hair with scissors. Then remove the remainder of the extension hair with your fingers by unraveling the braid. When the braids are removed, add coconut oil or olive oil to your hair and wrap it for one half hour. Then shampoo.
As you shampoo your newly liberated hair with your best conditioning shampoo, run your fingers gently through your hair to pull apart and remove any mats that may have formed at the base of your hair. You may notice that hair is coming out, but don’t panic. That is normal shedding. Remember, we shed 100 strands a day normally, so if your hair has been braided for 30 days, you can lose up to 3000 hairs. After shampooing, add conditioner and continue to run your fingers gently through your hair to remove loose hairs and mats.
After shampooing your hair, gently towel dry your hair by squeezing it. Next, you will want to oil your scalp and part your hair into sections and allow it to dry.
You will be tempted to have your hair re-braided immediately to continue enjoying the braided extensions style. However, you should assess the condition of your African American hair and make sure it is strong and springy before re-braiding it. For one to four weeks it is wise to do a natural up-do hairstyle, while conditioning your hair regularly. Some styles to try during this period are pulling the hair back and using an afro puff extension on the back. You can also have your hair loosely braided or twisted into an up-do. Stylish scarves, head wraps, and wigs are also great for this time of rest for your hair.