Best Braided Hairstyles for African American Women

There are so many reasons why I love braided hairstyles, even though I hate sitting for more than 3 hours just to get the installed. Braids look good on everybody regardless of the shape of your face and you can style them however you desire. Before I teach you how to take perfect care of your braids, I will just quickly tell you why you should get braids:

Advantages of Braided Hairstyles

  1. They are very easy to take are of
  2. They can be styled however you desire since you can get them in different types and sizes (box braids, twists)
  3. They are easy to take out
  4. They help retain hair length (they don’t make your hair grow!)
  5. Braided hairstyles protect the hair from harsh weather conditions

Now, having mentioned the above pros, it is also important to know how to maintain your braids, not only so they keep looking good, but to also protect your hair underneath. If you are not careful, hair might break from the constant pulling during styling, your hair will become very dry, knots and flakes will form, giving you an itchy scalp. To ensure that your braids look fresh for longer, follow the few tips below.

Braid Maintenance Do’s

  1. Deep condition your hair before getting braided hairstyles installed. Deep conditioning will help keep your roots strong. When conditioning, always make sure to use a natural leave-in conditioner for non-greasy moisture.
  2. Moisturize your braids every day as dry hair can lead to breakage. Always go for natural oils like shea butter, coconut oil and almond oil. Avoid mineral oils as these may damage your hair.
  3. Wash your braids every three weeks so as to remove any product build up and dandruff. A dirty scalp can block the follicles and prevent hair from growing. Cleaning your hair will also prevent a dry scalp.
  4. Oil your scalp once a week. Oiling hair will moisturize hair strands and transport protein into the hair shaft.
  5. Wrap your hair with a satin or silk head scarf because cotton scarfs tend to absorb the moisture and dry out your hair. You must also prevent slumber induced frizz and lent gathering in the hair. Satin or silk material also aids in keeping tresses well moisturized.


Braid Maintenance Don’ts

  1. Don’t braid recently relaxed hair. This is when the hair is more fragile and might break, especially the hairline. You must retain hair strength before you can start putting any kind of stress on the hair.
  2. Do not wear braids that are too tight. This will cause thinning edges, and you have a higher chance of experiencing traction alopecia or increased hair loss.
  3. Don’t wear braids for more than 6 weeks. It will lead to a decrease in length retention. Wearing braids longer than six weeks risks severe hair dryness, leading to breakage. Braids left in too long can stretch and damage fragile new hair, and also look untidy.
  4. Don’t wear very small braids (micro braids). These put a lot of tension on the hair, which may lead to thinning hair.
  5. Never wear the same braided hairstyle always. You must prevent traction alopecia from repetitive pulling and tension from doing the same style. Always change the way you style your braids.

Here are some examples for braided hairstyles. You can click on the images for the larger versions. Enjoy :-)

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