Wednesday, 8 July 2015

How to wash natural hair that's braided

Many people are of the notion that hair cannot be washed properly while it is in braids, and from my observation this idea exists both in the natural and chemically processed (relaxed) hair community. However it is a false believe that requires a new way of thinking about hair care!

Why should you wash braided hair?

  • To keep the scalp clean and promote hair growth.
  • Prevent product and dirt build-up that causes hair strands to lock and therefore cause breakage when the braids are taken off. There tends to be a lot of build up at the roots, especially where the main knot of installing the braid is.
  • To maintain the routine of your hair regimen and thus not interrupt your hair's healthy habits.
  • Aid the process of conditioning your hair - obviously before conditioning you have to wash your hair first. 
How to wash your hair while in braids
  • Get a spritz bottle and add shampoo and water to it. Start off with little water till you reach a point where the shampoo fully foams, i.e. the bottle is full of lather.
  • Work you way sequentially along the lines/rows of the plaits and apply the foamy shampoo to the scalp.
  • Once you have the foamy shampoo on the scalp use your finger tips (not nails) to gently rub along the lines in order to remove dirt and product build-up. Also massage your scalp while doing so. Remember to avoid using your nails!!
  • Focus more on the hairline. I find this area to attract lots of build up.
  • Stand under the shower using luke-warm water to rinse the shampoo off.
  • Don't worry about shampoo-ing the hair strands as they will be washed automatically by the water that will run from your scalp downwards the braids while you are under the shower. But if you'd like you could also spray the foamy shampoo along the braids till the point where your natural hair length ends then gently squeeze while under the shower.
  • After this apply hair conditioner from the roots of your hair till the point at which your natural hair strands end and sit for few mins while the conditioner does its magic(15mins or more).
  • Wash off the conditioner and air dry. Once 80-90% dry apply a water based moisturiser (I use a hair spray) from the roots of your hair, all the way through the length of your hair (stop where your natural hair's length ends). If you want you can use a small amount of a light hair oil to seal the moisture (e.g jojoba oil or grapeseed) by applying along the braids up till where your natural hair ends. Personally I don't seal the moisture with an oil, rather I moisturise religiously every morning (sometimes evenings as well if I'm not too lazy).
  • DO NOT rub the braids while washing them as this will result in horrible frizz!
Some pictures illustrating the washing instruction above:

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