There are only 72 more days until summer, which means pool, beach and festival season is truly upon us. More importantly, we have to figure out what TF to do with our hair.
Hopefully you caught our piece about how to stop hair breakage during the colder months. But now, it's time to truly consider which protective style you want to rock to keep those strands thriving.
Listen, Black women look amazing in braids, yet when it comes to caring for them, how many of us can confidently say we know the ins and outs of maintaining the look? Serena Williams recently shared that she never learned how to cornrow—and our FB comments section was lit!
We understand the struggle—that’s why we enlisted the help of two celebrity stylists: Tamika Gibson, owner of The Hair Diagram (whose celebrity clients list includes Faith Evans, Lil Mama and Keke Wyatt), along with professional braider to the stars Susan "Susy" Oludele of Hairbysusy, known for her work on Beyoncé, Solange, Zoe Kravitz, LaLa Anthony and Brandy, to give us the play-by-play.
Believe us, their tips will have you rocking your "Lemonade Braids" without a care in the world!
Washing Is Crucial to Hair Health:
“You can wash your braids once every three weeks, but to ensure a long lasting braided install, within three months you can wash it 2-3 washes in between," explains Suzy.
Editor's Pick: TXTR. BY CANTU ACV + Tea Tree Soothing Shampoo ($10)
Sleep Tight, Sis:
“[The] best way to keep your braids fresh is to always tie them down with a silk scarf. I like to apply mouse to them and then tie them down to smooth out any frizz," explains Tamika.
Editor's Pick: Jane Carter Solution Wrap & Roll Mousse ($10)
Vacay With Ease:
"Try to avoid putting any products before you go in the water," explains Susy. "After [your day in the sun] shampoo your hair with black castor oil shampoo and rinse. Then, use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water to take away all the dirt/sand/chlorine buildup.”
Editor's Pick: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Replenishing Shampoo ($11)
Don't Skimp on Moisture:
“Using an oil such as Jamaican Black Castor Oil will keep the braids moisturized and eliminate any dryness of the scalp," shares Tamika. On the other hand, Susy prefers something a little lighter like coconut oil for added hydration.
Editor's Pick: OGX Nourishing Coconut Oil Weightless Hydrating Oil Mist ($8)
Like Milk, Braids Also Have An Expiration Date:
“[It] depends on what type of braids you have and how fast your hair grows," explains Tamika. "But you don’t want to leave them in too long. For single braids 1-2 months. For cornrows, 2-3 weeks or less.”
Did you hear that, ladies? Don't let us find out you're leaving your hair in so long that it's starting to mold. (Uh, yeah it can happen!)
The objective of a protective style is to keep your hair healthy, clean and bouncy—not to cause more damage to your natural hair. Take notes from Yoncé and switch it up frequently.
As for keeping you hair on 10 whether your on #baecation or #staycaction, it's simple: wash, preserve, moisturize and enjoy!
Doesn't seem so complication, now does it? Let us know how you care for your cornrows, "Poetic Justice" braids and everything else in between in the comments below.
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