WITHOUT A DOUBT, when dealing with natural hair all year around... Braids and high-quality hair extensions are great way to get a break from daily manipulation and an awesome option to use for freeing up hours and hours of time that you would have spent styling and prepping your hair every day.
And to top it all off.... You can take advantage of this time to let your hair grow!
Look... After following a strict natural hair regimen that includes cleansing, strengthening, moisturizing and protecting your hair for months on top of months on end, shoooooot...
It's a RELIEF to go ahead and install a weave or braids especially if you have a busy schedule.
Braid and Weaves MUST Be Used Correctly (or else)
Beware: Improper use or abuse of braids and weaves can lead to...
- Fungal growth
- All types of follicle damage and complications
Benefits Of Weaves & Braids For Naturals
Aside from giving you a beautiful way to switch your style up once-in-a-while... Weaves and braids are extremely low maintenance, help you avoid one of the hair growth sins because you won't have to manipulate your hair much and they don't require daily styling.
What To Do BEFORE Installing Braids for Hair Growth
These are the things you should remember before installing braids in your hair...
- Before sitting in the chair you must have a conversation with your stylist, , clearly express your expectations with them.
WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT: Many stylists automatically assume that you want your braids or twists on super-tightly so that it lasts longer, but if you want to maintain the health of your hair and scalp you must express to them that you want them done loosely.
Loose enough that you feel no tension of any kind of your scalp, so that's pretty loose. Due to habit some stylists will make the first braids loose but then slowly start to make them tighter and tighter, if this happens, stop them and ask them politely to continue to make them loose. This is VERY important.
Because when a braid or twist is installed too tight the tension you feel is your follicle nerve endings reacting to almost having your hair completely plucked out and since it's in a braid or twist your hair strands are stuck in this tense state with no relief until you start to get some new growth that's why you don't start to get any relief until almost a week later.
The problem is that the strain causes your blood vessels to constrict and dilate, which triggers a signal to activate pain centers in your brain most likely causing a pretty bad headache amongst other things, this can EASILY lead to permanent damage to your hair follicles and over time you'll start to notice traction alopecia meaning you will stop growing hair from those damaged follicles.
Remember this, traction alopecia is a progressive condition caused mechanically by you.
It sneaks up on you over time, so it's best to eliminate the risk now before it's too late.
Getting braids installed tightly in order for them to last longer can lead to balding later on, before installing braids twist or weave, you should do a real protein treatment, this will properly fill in all the damaged areas along your hair cuticles, causing your hair to look, feel and behave perfectly healthy.
This way your hair will be in the best condition to withstand all the pulling and tugging without causing more damage and snapping off.
Lastly, try to book your appointment earlier in the day.
The job of a hairstylist can be mentally and physically draining.
Look... They're human too. And by the end of the day they've washed, styled and braided many heads of hair and they will be worn out and less likely to follow specific orders.
This can mean the difference between growing lush hair OR stepping down alopecia avenue (also known as BALDwin drive).
So it's best to catch them early in the morning when they're at their peak, before anything, have a conversation with your stylist where you can clearly express your expectations.
One of your expectations should be that your braids are installed loosely, also doing a real protein treatment beforehand will patch up the weak spots of your cuticles putting your hair in the best position to withstand the pulling and friction associated with braid installation.
A great thing about real protein treatments is that they can be used with any moisturizing conditioner so you can take it with you if your stylist plans to wash and treat your hair.