A haircut that eliminates bad hair days forever? Permanent braids – we’re talking about box braids and cornrows – can keep your hair looking sharp at any time of day (or night). These styles see hair braided into multiple braids. Their thickness will depend on how full your natural hair is. As a starting point, hair should be at least two to four inches long. To make your braids look longer and fuller, you can opt to have synthetic hair weaved in. Braids can last for several months – provided, of course, that you get them done by a skilled professional. Permanent braids involve a little more commitment than just trying out a braided trend style. You’ll be wondering: How should I care for them? And this is crucial! Here’s your step-by-step guide to keeping this trend style looking good.
The right care for your braids
The good news first: In general, braid maintenance isn’t difficult. They’re easy to clean and very practical for those who prefer fast hair styling. Follow these tips, and caring for them will be easy.
- Washing braids: You’ll only need to wash your braided hair about once a week. This way, you can avoid exposing your braids to unnecessary friction and they’ll stay looking fresh and well-groomed for longer. Tip: Use a clear shampoo. It’ll leave no visible residue in your hair. The easiest way to distribute the shampoo is to press your braids together. Finally, give your hair a thorough rinse.
- Drying braids: Wring your hair out in the shower. Then wrap a large towel around your head. Wait about five to ten minutes (by now, the braids will have stopped dripping – the towel will have soaked up most of the moisture). Let your hair air dry if you have the time. To speed up drying time, you can gently blow dry your roots. Apply a heat protection product before you start.
- Scalp care: Particularly when you first get braids, your scalp may feel tight or itchy. This is simply the scalp adjusting to the slight tension caused by the braids. Tip: Fill a spray bottle with hair tonic and spray any irritated areas. Ban that itch!
- Extra care for braids: To keep your braids well-groomed and moisturized, use a leave-in conditioner regularly. This is created so as not to leave any residue in the hair. Nourish dry tips by applying a few drops of hair oil now and then.
Note: At first, the braids are going to feel a little stiff. But warm water and time will soften them up.
Braids are super easy-care – and very versatile. So that you don’t get into a rut by “just” wearing them loose all the time, here’s some of our favorite hip braided styles for your inspiration:
1) Knot updo: To get this updo, you gather a handful of braids together, knot them and secure with hair slides. The number of knots you make per section depends on the length of your hair. The bigger and wilder the knots, the more extravagant the style is going to look.
2) Mohawk style: Here, the braids on top of the head are styled into something like a quiff, while the sides are pulled back tightly and secured in the back. This creates the impression of a mohawk from the front. Wow!
3) Space buns: Try space buns for a girly look. Simply twist your braids into two buns, one on either side of your head. Make it even ‘spacier’ by styling a third bun in the middle on top of your head!
4) Braided braids: You can easily weave your braids into a classic braid. Using braids as a starting point (as opposed to natural hair) gives plaited styles an even more refined edge. A crown braid is really beautiful and great for special events. Discover how to get the look here.
5) Styled with a headband: Try a headband for a change to your look. To make your headband stand out among your braids, choose an embellished one. Try one decorated with flowers or gemstones.
The perfect care, post-braids
When you release your braids, you might notice more hair loss than you normally would when your hair is natural and not braided. Don’t worry! These are just fallen hairs from normal hair loss over time. They’ve been trapped within the braids and haven’t been able to completely fall out. Braids themselves don’t damage natural hair, but a trim is recommended when the hair is released to encourage healthy growth and keep hair looking well groomed. You should also use a regular hair treatment, and a revitalizing shampoo and conditioner from the same line of care products.