Going for protective styles is a great way to encourage hair growth and give your hair a break. After getting your braids done, you may feel relief knowing that you can now take a break from hair washing. But, installing braids doesn’t mean you can’t wash your hair.
On the contrary, if you don’t wash your braids or fail to wash them enough, you risk losing out on the benefits of protective styles. When the scalp has some buildup, it becomes itchy, encouraging you to scratch it. Forceful scratching makes it more likely for the hair to fall out. So, properly cleansing your braids is a must.
How Often Should You Wash Your Braided Hair?
You should wash braided hair every two to three weeks. After installing your braids, you don’t need to wash them immediately. All you need to do is moisturize your scalp.
Synthetic hair is prone to drying out natural hair. So, moisturizing the scalp will help bring back moisture to your hair to make it look great.
You can moisturize using oil, leave-in conditioner, or rose water. Rose water prevents excess oil production, dandruff growth, and hair loss while soothing your scalp.
While you can wash braided hair daily, it’s not a good idea. Washing it every day can put stress on the hair. Overstressed hair can lead to dryness and thinning. Plus, you may not have time to undertake the long process of washing your hair daily.
Having an oily scalp or an active lifestyle that makes you sweat a lot means you may need to wash braided hair once a week. But, if you have a dry scalp, stick to the recommended two to three weeks.
How To Wash Different Types of Braids
A common question among people rocking braided hairstyles is how to wash them without making the braids look frizzy or stripping them of essential oils.
Step 1: Address Buildup
The first step is to eliminate product buildup. Whether you have twists, box braids, or cornrows, you may have a lot of product buildup from the weeks before wash day. So, start by clarifying the scalp with a clarifying shampoo, then rinse it out.
Use water to dilute the shampoo. Shampoo may be too thick, making it hard to penetrate the hair. Diluting it helps get it everywhere. Using a bottle with a nozzle to apply the shampoo is a good idea.
The bottle lets you direct where the shampoo goes and how much to use. Massage the cleansing shampoo gently into the scalp to prevent frizzing. Be extra gentle with cornrows. They tend to look old faster.
Step 2: Cleanse
Step two entails cleansing while focusing on the scalp. The simplest way to wash braids is to “pay attention to the scalp.” The scalp forms the foundation of healthy hair. Take more time to wash it than the actual braids.
Use a moisturizing shampoo to cleanse the hair further. Massage the scalp as you cleanse to encourage blood flow and thus healthy hair.
Step 3: Rinse
Step three is rinsing. Avoid rubbing the hair while rinsing as it may cause frizzing. Instead, rinse out the shampoo with your head upside down. Doing so will ensure all the residue flows downwards rather than getting trapped in your scalp.
Step 4: Condition
Step four involves conditioning. Dilute the conditioner and gently massage it through your braids and scalp. Then rinse it out. You can then go in with a leave-in conditioner until saturation.
Step 5: Dry
Lastly, dry your hair. Do that by placing it in a towel and squeezing out the water by twisting the towel. Make sure you wring it out gently to avoid too much friction and thus frizzing. For the best results, use a microfiber towel. Avoid blow-drying braids because they can cause excess frizzing.
Dos and Don’ts While Washing Braids
There are some things you need to embrace and avoid when washing braids. Some of the things you should do are:
- Apply diluted shampoo directly on your scalp in the parts
- Gently massage in the shampoo with your fingers, avoiding the use of nails
- Thoroughly rinse the product without rubbing
- Let the conditioner sit in for about 25 minutes before rinsing
- Give braids enough time to dry to prevent bad odors
Some things you should avoid are:
- Rubbing braids together during washing. It’ll cause frizzing
- Leaving the products in your hair. It will lead to itchiness and flakiness
- Neglecting your edges
- Styling wet hair
Braids are the go-to choice for many people because they are low maintenance and last long. Plus, they look and feel great! Like all other hairstyles, braids require maintenance, which includes washing them. Washing braids helps you look your best and keep your scalp healthy.