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Braids are a fantastic protective hairstyle, offering a chic look while safeguarding your natural hair. However, once it's time to bid adieu to your braids, you may face the challenge of post-braid buildup. Over time, braids can lead to matting at the roots and accumulate unwanted debris, product residue, and even shedding. If you've encountered this issue during braid removal or want to learn more about keeping your scalp healthy while wearing braids, we've got your back.
In this guide, we'll explore steps to prevent and manage the buildup that can occur with braids featuring products from GIRL+HAIR's Curl Cloud collection.
When braids remain in place for an extended period, buildup becomes almost inevitable. This buildup is typically a combination of dirt, debris, your scalp's natural oils, and any hair products you've applied during the braiding period. It's not limited to braids alone; it can affect any protective hairstyle and can be quite challenging to remove.
How Long Should Braids Stay In?
The duration for which you should keep braids in depends on your hair type and scalp condition. To maintain scalp health, it is recommended to wash your scalp and braids every week or every two to three weeks.
While some individuals prefer to extend the life of their protective style, it is recommended a maximum of four weeks for this purpose. Going beyond this time frame may result in significant buildup, which can hinder nutrient absorption and overall hair health.
When it comes to removing your braids, patience is key to prevent hair breakage. Rushing the process or tugging too hard can lead to unnecessary damage.
To keep your braids clean while they're still in place, it is recommended preparing your hair for the cleansing process and using an antiseptic oil like tea tree or peppermint oil to soothe your scalp. Using a fine-tooth comb, such as a rat tail comb, is ideal for removing excess dandruff, flakes, or product buildup while your hair is still braided. The fine-tooth comb can navigate between the braids, effectively eliminating tiny flakes on the hair shaft and between the braids.
After taking out your braids, it's essential to address any residual buildup. It is advised to start by applying gentle pressure or rinsing your hair lightly with water to hydrate the previously tucked-away ends before shampooing. Then, use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle from the ends to the roots. This process helps remove dead hair and product buildup efficiently.
Using a wide-tooth comb minimizes tension and potential damage to your curls. If you encounter stubborn areas, applying a natural oil or lightly misting your hair with a conditioner can ease the combing process. While detangling, you might notice oily flakes within the buildup, which is normal in this situation.
When washing your hair between braids, it is recommended co-washing, as it's highly hydrating and moisturizing while still providing cleansing benefits. After removing excess buildup from your braids, you can opt for either a hydrating or clarifying shampoo or rotate between the two based on your preference.
For post-braid hair washing, ensure your hair is thoroughly saturated before shampooing, preferably in the shower to avoid tangling. Begin by focusing on your scalp, and taking your time to work in the shampoo. Depending on the extent of buildup, you may need to lather up multiple times, which is perfectly normal. Only work the shampoo through the rest of your hair during the final shampooing.
Individuals with sensitive or dry scalps, or those dealing with conditions like psoriasis, may find it challenging to keep braids in for extended periods. It is recommended to use oils to soften and hydrate the scalp. Oils offer a gentle way to remove buildup and excessive flakes without causing irritation to sensitive skin. For those with scalp issues, regular use of a tail comb to remove weight is crucial.
Many people are hesitant about using oils as they fear it may penetrate through the hair, but rest assured your hair will absorb what it needs. Some of the oil may remain on the hair shaft's surface, ensuring adequate hydration without overwhelming the hair.
To effectively address buildup during and after braid wear, consider products from GIRL+HAIR's Curl Cloud collection. These products are specially designed to cater to various hair types and offer an extra layer of protection and hydration for your hair and scalp.
Enjoying braids as a protective hairstyle doesn't mean you have to tolerate unsightly buildup during or after their use. With proper care, maintenance, and the right products like those from GIRL+HAIR's Curl Cloud collection, you can keep your scalp and hair healthy and refreshed. Follow these steps and say goodbye to post-braid buildup, welcoming a cleaner, healthier, and more vibrant hairstyle.