Braid extensions are a popular low manipulation hairstyle used to give hair a break from the rigors of daily styling, protect hair’s fragile ends and promote length retention. Janet Jackson and Brandy made braid extensions in vogue in the 90’s, now they along with celebs like Solange Knowles and Beyonce have taken to wearing a headful of swinging braids again recently.
Before you jump on the bandwagon this spring here are a few things to consider before protective styling with braid extensions. Hair should be healthy before trying waist length braids like Solange Knowles.
1. Your hair’s current condition
Hair should be healthy before getting braid extensions. If you’re experiencing dryness, excessive breakage, traction alopecia or other signs of damage, braid extensions aren’t a recommended styling option. Janet Jackson’s iconic box braids are back in style, but may be too heavy for thin hair
2. Braid style
Consider the thickness of your hair vs. the size of the braids you want to get. For example, thick 90’s style box braids are back, but can be too long and heavy for thin hair. No matter what style you choose, make sure that the braids aren’t fashioned too tightly and that there’s a balanced extension to real hair ratio in each braid. Whether your rockin’ long braids like Brandy or cornrows inspired by Kelly Rowland, don’t neglect the hair underneath
As with hair weaves, when wearing braid extensions you’ll still need to continue to properly care for your real hair. Cover braids at night or sleep on silk pillowcases to keep the fuzz and friction away. With braids installed, wash with a gently cleanser and condition weekly to ensure that the hair and scalp is kept clean and healthy. Keep a water based braid spritz and an oil handy to seal in moisture. A braided style like Beyonce’s can last for weeks! When new growth appears it’s time to take ’em out.
Braid extensions can last for several weeks, but it’s important to make sure that the braids aren’t kept in too long. When you see significant amounts of new growth, that’s a tell tale sign that you’re overdue for a redo or it’s time to take out your braids.
When done right, braid extensions are a fun way to protect your hair from stress during the spring and summer months.