Braid lover! Since you want to know how to make braids last longer, I know a thing about you.
I will tell you: You love braids and want to get the most out of them!
As one of the trendy protective styles out there, braids protect your hair from the dangers of over-styling, everyday combing, and harsh weather while still helping you look your best.
But no one likes being told ‘your hair looks a bit rough,’ either by others or by the mirror just a few weeks after investing a whole lot of time (and money) in making braids.
I know, right?
I’ve been there!
Read on to find out what you can do to rock your braids for as long as possible – no, for as long as you should!
How to Make Braids Last Longer on Natural Hair and Relaxed Hair
How long your braids last is mostly determined by things you do before braiding, when braiding, and when your braids are all done.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
1. Prepare your Hair
Your hair should be prepared for braids.
Well, you can’t just pat your hair and say, ‘hey, you are going to be braided soon.’
So how do you get your hair ready?
You see, conditions such as dry hair end, knotted ends, or tangled hair ends are significant causes of frizzing just a few days after braiding.
So, the first step on how to make braids last longer?
Check your hair for such conditions and correct them.
Here are a few tips.
- Check your hair for split ends before braiding and trim if you notice any.
- You may ask a friend for help with doing this.
- Deep condition your hair a few days before braiding.
- Detangle your hair before you braid.
- Try African threading before braids to stretch your hair.
- If you choose to use a hair straightener, ensure to apply a heat protectant, and avoid frequent use.
2. Prepare your Scalp
It’s not just your hair that needs to be prepared; your scalp does too.
Sometimes, I see braids that still look stunning and neat, but the scalp, not that much.
This isn’t the fault of the braider.
Your scalp should be clean and moisturized before you make any braids.
This would prevent the roots from looking dirty, rough, or frizzy even when the braids still look neat.
After all, what’s a neat braid without neat roots?
- Use hair oils to keep the scalp moisturized. Do not overuse, though, to avoid clogged pores.
- Using a sulfate-free shampoo, give your scalp a good wash a few days before braiding.
- Arrange to steam your hair few days before braiding.
3. Prepare extensions
Even with a moisturized scalp and hair, your braids might still end up frizzing quickly if your attachment hair extensions are not prepared.
Hence, the need to pre-treat your extensions.
Yeah, that’s another tip on how to make braids last longer.
- Ensure that your attachment is thoroughly combed and detangled.
- Moisturize extensions using an oil spray.
4. Choose the right style.
Braids aren’t just ‘braids’.
Yarn braids, goddess box braids, Senegalese twists, crochet braids, knotless braids, the list goes on and on.
The braid style you choose should not just depend on how ‘wow’ you went when you saw it on a celebrity star.
Your hair texture has a significant role to play if you want your braids to last long.
For example, if you have natural hair that tends to pop out of braids quickly, you might want to do more wool braids, faux locks, or micro braids for long-lasting styles.
Also, small braids are less prone to frizz, so they last longer.
- Consult your hairstylist for advice on the best braids for your hair type.
- If you notice that a particular braid style roughens quickly on your hair, try another.
This part depends mostly on the braider.
It is therefore applicable if you’ll be braiding your hair yourself or doing it for someone.
1. Use styling products
Using styling products when braiding will help conceal inevitable fly-aways.
It helps your hair and attachment to lay flat for a longer time.
- As you part each braid section, apply a hair cream/pomade.
- Occasionally apply pomade on hair extensions as you braid.
2. Neat parting
Who wouldn’t agree that neatly parted braids equal gorgeous braids?
You see, it’s not just beautiful braids, but also long-lasting braids.
Crossed hair strands, undefined parting all contribute to the early frizzing of braids.
Therefore, a key to keep braids from frizzing early is to ensure that they are neatly parted.
Especially when the scalp is already clean and moisturized, sis, you’re so rocking those braids for long.
- Use a rat-tail or a thin, metal-tipped cutting comb to part hair.
- Use a hair clip or band to hold other parts of the hair in place when parting.
- Apply pomade as you part hair to make it slick.
3. Ease up on the scalp
Fine, braids should be tight so that they can look neat.
But when it becomes too tight that it causes tension on the scalp, that’s a danger.
In the end, it doesn’t guarantee that the braids will last longer as you likely end up with bumps or flakes – things that would move you to take out braids.
Good braids (that would last long without causing damage) shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve just had a head-hitting experience when you walk out of the salon.
- Ease up when ‘catching’ the hair; exert your energy to tighten the hair’s ends to the attachment instead.
- Leave out hair edges and lay them instead, using alcohol-free products.
- Apply hair oils (coconut oil, for example) to edges.
- Opt for knotless braids if you have a tender scalp.
- Avoid making heavy braids repeatedly to protect your scalp.
Plaiting the last piece of hair isn’t the last thing to be done during braiding.
Finishing touches go a long way; that’s something I’ve always heard.
And now, I know just how important that is to how long braids last.
You’ll see, too, once you apply these tips.
- Trim out attachment fly-aways. You may use a fire-lighter, candle, or sharp scissors for this purpose.
- Ensure to dip braids in hot water properly.
- Use a styling mousse for extra hold.
Once your braids are all done, you sure want to rock them as much as you can.
Here’s how to take care of your braids so you also rock them as long as you can.
1. Night care
When you move while sleeping- which almost always happens- friction occurs between your hair and pillow and that contributes to frizzing.
Exactly why you should take care of your hair at night!
Wondering how to?
Here it is.
- Tie your hair with a silk or satin scarf before going to bed.
- Alternatively, tuck your braids in a satin bonnet before sleeping.
- Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase.
2. Moisten scalp
Your hair is styled in braids isn’t an excuse to forget about your scalp.
It is more reason to give attention to it.
Keeping your scalp moist will help prevent it from drying out or becoming itchy.
By the way, consistent itching also aids frizzing.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner to your scalp twice a week.
- Mix natural oils such as tea tree oil or coconut oil with water and apply to your scalp at least thrice a week.
- If you experience itching repeatedly, use scalp treatments that contain charcoal or apple cider vinegar.
- Use hair products to make your braids last.
3. Keep Braids clean
Another tip on how to make braids last longer is to ensure that the hair and scalp are kept clean while you have the braids on.
Residues from hair products may form buildup on the scalp, making it look rough and dirty.
While you may not want to do the usual washing because of the stress involved in washing and drying braids, you should opt for alternative ways to keep your scalp clean.
- Use a dry shampoo to wash your braids every two weeks.
- Make washcloth damp- using shampoo and warm water- and use it to clean your scalp every two weeks.
4. Pack with care
Yes, we all love getting creative with our braids and styling ’em in different ways.
A note of caution, though;
Like your natural hair, braids can get damaged with excessive styling.
By damaged, I mean looking rough and frizzy and yes – getting pulled out with your hair.
Hence, the need to be careful when packing your braids into styles.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Avoid over-styling braids.
- Ensure that your nails do not scratch the braids while styling; this could contribute to fly-aways.
5. Restyle all-round
Sometimes, braids may get all frizzy in a few weeks, no matter how hard you try.
It could be because of the hair texture.
When that happens, you don’t have to take them all down angrily.
A tip to prolong your braids stay is to redo it all around – the front, sides, and back.
After all, that’s all people see of our braids.
That way, your braids get to look all new again, and you have a longer time to rock them.
Just ensure that when you eventually take out the braids, you give your hair time to breathe (about a week) before installing a new style.
- Takedown your braids in the front, sides, and back, and get them done again.
How to Make Knotless Braids Last Longer.
Unlike the usual knot braids, knotless braids are started with your natural hair, and then gradually, the extensions are fed in.
Hence, the substitute name ‘feed-in braids’.
Knotless braids are loved by many because they are almost painless, not heavy, look natural, and reduce the hair’s risk of breakage.
If you choose this braid style because of one or more of those reasons, here’s how to make knotless braids last longer:
- Use natural cleansers like apple cider vinegar (ACV) to clean braids every week.
- Avoid over-styling.
- Apply night care tips.
- Pay attention to your scalp care.
- Conceal frizz with a hair mousse or light gel.
How long do Braids Last?
By applying the tips above, you will be able to rock your braids for a longer time.
But for how long should you keep in your braids?
Hair experts recommend a maximum of eight weeks.
Anything more than that, and your hair’s under-growth starts to matt and tangle, making it prone to damage.
Residues from moisturizing products, oils, and dust stick to our natural hair roots, causing a buildup that may be hard to remove.
This might call for forced combing or even cutting the hair when trying to take braids out.
Plus, your hair would be due for proper washing and conditioning after eight weeks.
Anywhere between six to eight weeks, you should take out your braids.
Now you know how to make braids last longer.
For your next braid style, don’t forget to start by preparing your hair.
Ensure that you keep your scalp moisturized and protect your braids at night.
You can be sure to see your braids last longer than before!