Five Essential Things You Need To Know Before Getting Braids

It’s always braiding season somewhere, if you’ve decided it’s about time you get braids, there’s no doubt that you’re about to step into your black girl magic era because we can’t deny the beauty of good braids.

  • written by Joy Onu
  • 5 min read
  • 16 May, 2023

Honestly, getting your braids in will save you a lot of stress, but you can’t skip to the good part without knowing the things you need to do before sliding into your hairstylist’s comfy armchair.

The misconceived proverbial tale that pretty should hurt is way behind us, as a black woman going from one protective style to the other, it is important to rid yourself of the idea that getting your cornrows done or your braids in should hurt. Over time, health experts and stylists have connected the dots between protective hairstyles and hair loss for black women, which is why it is quintessential to know that beauty isn’t pain, you could easily get your braids done without feeling like your scalp has been to hell and back.

The great thing about braids is that they look terrific if you choose the right stylist, braids also save you a lot of time in the morning if you’re looking to just roll out of bed without having a bad hair day. Some women may get worrisome right before getting their braids done because of that morning-after pain that could even last a week, but that’s where these quintessential tips come in.

Know What You Want And What You Don’t Want

There are so many protective styles under the sun, from box braids to cornrows, sometimes it is draining to even know what you want or what your hair can take. Just as there are many styles, you need to remember that there are different hair types. What’s your hair type and what can it handle? You might be tempted to get a style that could be damaging to your sensitive scalp, you could even back yourself with the idea that “beauty is pain”, but pretty shouldn’t hurt.

There are so many other styles that could suit your hair needs, learn from past experiences and pain, it is best to stay away from hairstyles that have a track record of causing pain, hair loss, and damage to your hair. 

Wash And Don’t Forget To Moisturize

The average time you’d want to keep your braids in could span from four to eight weeks, so you need to remember that your hair would be tucked away for a while, be very intentional with the kind of shampoo you use to remove dirt and oil from your hair, and don’t forget to insist on a good, relaxing scrub to remove any residue from your scalp.

Some people prefer not to use heat on their hair, and that’s completely fine. In cases like that, you should stretch out your hair by moisturizing and dividing your hair into cute bun sections after you wash it. Conditioning after washing your hair puts in some much needed moisture in your hair, you should use a conditioner that has the necessary properties to take care of your hair.

 Deep Condition And Detangle Your Hair

Do not underestimate the importance of a pre-braiding ritual. There are certain things you need to do if you don’t want to feel like you’re carrying the entire weight of the world on your shoulders after installing your braids, and one of such things is to deep condition and detangle your hair.

Remember that your hair is about to be tucked in for a while, the last thing you want to do is leave it in a disastrous state, which is why it is important for you to make sure it is in the best condition possible. Choose the best products, from your shampoo, to your deep conditioner, you need to detangle your hair thoroughly but gently to make sure your hair is super smooth to braid, that way you’re avoiding any sort of painful friction.

Don’t Be Scared To Communicate

Your hair is yours to protect, do not shy away from speaking up when it’s too tight or feels too heavy. The chances are, the outcome of how your braids turn out lies in the hands of your stylist, literally. Find the right hairstylist for you and be open to having open communication with your stylist, whether that’s about their technique or the type of products they use on your hair.

Mentally prepare yourself to have those tough conversations with your stylist, make sure to let your voice be heard if your stylist is pulling your hair too tightly, or handling your edges aggressively. Your braids would look nice either way, it’s about how good your stylist is and not how tight your braids are, don’t be scared to go with your gut feeling.

The Aftercare 

Preparation Is key before getting your braids done, whether that is before, during or after the process. You need to think long term and long term care, before you get your braids done you need to stack up when it comes to bonnets and scarves that will help you protect your braids at night.

What you do before you get your braids installed is just as important as what you do after it is installed and even after you take it down. After you have your braids in, make sure you oil your scalp every couple days, and an occasional wash can help keep your braids fresh and clean. The upside of getting braids installed is that your hair is protected overtime, but it is also important to nourish and take care of your hair in all the possible ways you can while your braids are in.

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