By Mary Wolff
When it comes to hairstyles that make life easier, braids are a top choice. They look great, last for weeks, and protect strands from damage. When it comes to care, some curlies are confused about washing braided hair. Let’s break down the basic and put your mind at ease.
The biggest mistake curlies make when washing braided hair is using the same shampoo they used before they braided their hair. The hair that is braided needs to be washed with a more diluted or gentler cleanser to avoid causing frizz. A good tip is to dilute the shampoo with water for a gentler clean. You should also use a gentler shampoo formula since your scalp tends to get itchy with braids in so choose an option that is gentle or consider using a co-wash only method. A few of my favorites for washing my braids are DevaCurl No-Poo Original and Carol’s Daughter Marula Curl Therapy Gentle Cream Cleanser. Another great option is Alikay Natural Caribbean Coconut Milk Shampoo. This shampoo is milky and the bottle comes with a top so you can easily target the scalp.
Your scalp will be the area to give the most care while washing braided hair. The scalp is the foundation for healthy hair so you never want to neglect this important area. Make sure you spend more time washing the scalp between the braids than the actual braids themselves. Make sure you massage the scalp while cleansing to keep blood circulation flowing for a healthy scalp.
When washing your braids, you may be tempted to rub them clean, but there is a much better method. After running your gentler diluted shampoo over strands in a downward motion to avoid causing friction, squeeze your braids instead of rubbing. You should especially squeeze them closer to the scalp where hard to reach dirt and residue likes to hide.
Again, the key here is to avoid rubbing. When rinsing a good tip is to rinse with your head upside down. This will take all the dirt and residue and move it downwards through the bottom of your braids instead of trapping it at your crown.
Just because your hair is in braids, doesn’t mean you get out of this step. Make sure you use your favorite conditioner and apply it to braids one by one until saturated. A personal favorite of mine is Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream because it is super rich and repairs hair while moisturizing. After conditioning, apply a shower cap for about twenty minutes to really lock in that moisture.
My final tip is to never blow-dry your braids. I know plenty of curlies that do this and they end up with flyaways and frizz. Just let it air dry or loosely wrap a large microfiber towel to soak up excess moisture.
With these easy to follow steps, washing your braided hair has never been easier. Follow these guidelines and rock your braided style with confidence!