7 Steps to Caring for Braid & Twist Extensions

If you’re like me, Protective styling is your number one choice for growing your hair. When the hair is in braids or twists (and weaves, manipulation is low — which means better growth and retention. As we know, retention is important! Here are the “7 Steps to Caring for Braid & Twist Extensions.”

1. Prep your hair by deep conditioning
Before you get to twisting/braiding, make sure you deep condition your hair first. Choose your favorite deep conditioner for the treatment. I usually go with a cholesterol-based conditioner (Queen Helene Super Cholesterol Conditioning Cream). Why? Fats, oils, and cholesterol are great for the hair strand since they help the hair absorb more moisture.

2. Braiding/twisting the hair
When you’re braiding or twisting your hair, make sure that you use less braiding hair for the hairline. The hairline is very delicate and too much of the braiding hair can put a lot of stress on it. As for the rest of your hair, don’t braid/twist too tight. Tension on the scalp can cause growth retardation (lack of or slow hair growth).

3. Washing braid & twist extensions
Every two weeks, wash and condition your braids/twists. Make sure to dilute your shampoo and conditioner with water (50/50). When washing, pour the mixture over your braids/twists and scalp, let it sit for a few minutes, rinse, and repeat with the conditioner mix. When you finish, blot the excess water out with a t-shirt (T-shirts absorb more water, which means faster drying).

4. Moisturizing & oiling
To keep your hair soft and supple, it is imperative that you moisturize a few times a week (2 times a week is the minimum). Oiling the scalp with a natural oil (Coconut oil, Jojoba oil, etc) can also help.

5. Re-do your hairline, nape, and sides every 2-3 weeks
While you don’t necessarily have to re-do the nape and sides, re-doing the hairline is important. As mentioned in Step 2, the hairline is fragile, so as it grows, the added hair puts a lot of weight on it. Re-doing the hairline will help save your hairline from breakage!

6. Protect your hair nightly
Even though your hair is braids/twists, you still have to protect it at night. Sleep with a satin/silk scarf every night!

7. Taking down braid & twist extensions
After taking out your braids, make sure you detangle your hair thoroughly. Detangle with your fingers and then a detangling comb/brush. Afterward, deep condition with a conditioner of your choice (I would go with the one I use in Step 1). You can either let your hair breathe for a week or two or you can go back into extensions. Your choice. Most opt for letting the hair breathe, but some go back into braids.

Remember to always keep extensions in for a maximum of two months.

Twist Extension Suggestions
Janet Collection Afro Marley Braid
Janet Collection Afro Kinky

Braid Extension Suggestions
Deni Cali Jumbo Braid
Janet Collection Jumbo Braid

Product Suggestions
Queen Helene Super Cholesterol Conditioning Cream
Lekair Cholesterol Plus Strengthening Conditioning Cream
Luster’s S-Curl Moisturizer/Activator
African Royale BRX Braid Spray
Coconut Oil
Jojoba Oil

Transitioning? Stretching? Helpful Tips!

What is the most difficult part of transitioning/stretching? Keeping the new growth soft and manageable of course! We here at TCHD present you with some awesome product suggestions that can help you along your transition or stretch:

Hair Rules™ Quench Deep Conditioner

This daily, ultra-rich conditioning and softening treatment promotes suppleness, manageability and shine in parched, spongy, frizzy and lackluster hair. Formulated with honey and glycerin to enhance moisture penetration, protect against breakage and encourage hair’s natural tendency to curl. Super-conditioning Shea butter, coconut and olive oils, with extracts of avocado and jojoba keeps kinky, curly and wavy hair healthy and lustrous.

Hair Rules™ Kinky Curling Cream

This amazing, ultra-moisturizing curling cream transforms spongy ‘fro and kinks into bouncy, luscious spirals, simply and effortlessly. Stretches and defines tightly wound tresses without chemical or thermal manipulation. Eliminates shrinkage and banishes frizz in a single step for wash-and-go results.

Curls™ “Transitioning Diva” Kit

This kit is packed with four products designed to ease the stress of transitioning. It includes a sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, a moisturizer (with Sunscreen!), and of course a finishing cream that has ingredients to help soften the line of demarcation.

Mizani™ Thermasmooth

THERMASMOOTH is MIZANI’s Salon-Exclusive Synergistic Smoothing System designed to smooth, treat and protect hair throughout its 4 step process. With serious consideration of the effects of heat on hair, it is critical that conditioners protect against breakage and internal moisture lost. MIZANI, the global leader in hair conditioning treatment technology for excessively curly hair continues to lead the healthy hair charge with the new innovative technology of C3 SMOOTHING COMPLEX – Ceramides, coconut oil and Cationic Polymers, that offer weightless protection for long-lasting, frizz-free, smooth style.

Food for Healthy Hair

Black woman eating an apple --- Image by © A. Green/zefa/Corbis

Often we concentrate on the application of products to make our hair look and feel soft, shiny and strong. While these products certainly do play a part, we often overlook our diet and the real importance of nutrition in achieving a healthy head of hair.
Foods contain the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) needed to nourish our bodies and enable us to grow. When available in sufficient quantities, these nutrients contribute to radiant hair, skin and overall good health.
Some foods are particularly rich in the nutrients required for healthy hair. By incorporating some of these foods into a balanced diet, you may be able to reduce the product stash in your hair cabinet.
Protein is the single most important nutrient for hair because it contributes to the hair’s primary building blocks. Protein gives the hair its strength and minimizes its susceptibility to breakage and split ends. Protein-rich foods include seaweed, salted cod (salt-fish), chicken, yogurt, tofu, eggs and cottage cheese.
Iron is an important hair nutrient as well, as iron deficiencies have been clinically linked to hair loss. Hair follicles rely on haemoglobin for their nutrient supply and iron is a key player for maintaining healthy haemoglobin levels. Haemoglobin is the component of red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. Beef, shrimp, oysters and turkey are good sources of iron which is easily absorbed by the body. Vegan sources of iron such as blackstrap molasses; baked potato (with skin) and cooked lentils are less readily absorbed and should be consumed in conjunction with absorption enhancers like citrus juices or white wine.
A sufficient supply of B-vitamins is also mandatory for healthy hair. B3 (Niacin) promotes blood circulation to the scalp thereby aiding hair growth. B5 (Panthenol) and Biotin prevent hair loss; while B12 (Folic acid) assists in the production of red blood cells and ensures that iron functions properly. Vitamin B3 is present in chicken breast, yellow tuna and salmon while mushrooms, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, corn and broccoli are excellent sources of B5. A salad of tomatoes, romaine lettuce and carrots is rich in biotin but for B12, consider snapper, venison and scallops. Due to their water-solubility however, B vitamins cannot be stored in the body making it even more crucial that they are incorporated into the diet in adequate amounts on a daily basis.
Omega-3 oils have been long touted for promoting faster hair growth. While this has not been proven, it is widely agreed that Omega-3 oils contribute to overall hair health. Omega-3 is found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It can also be found in nuts, olive oil, avocado and flaxseed.
A healthy scalp needs Vitamin A & C as they aid in the production of sebum (the natural oils produced by the skin). These essential vitamins can be found in carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.
This article wouldn’t be complete without the mention of water. Water accounts for a quarter of the weight of hair and is credited for making the hair supple and flexible. A lack of water can lead to dry, brittle hair that lacks shine. Drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day will help ensure that you’re getting enough water.
Being aware of a variety of foods containing the nutrients needed for healthy hair makes it easier to make the appropriate choices. You can appreciate that by just making small but consistent changes to your diet you can reduce your dependence on hair products and not only boast beautiful hair and skin, but overall good health.

writerbiopicbrown
HairObsessed is a Bajan living in Canada, who takes great pleasure in caring for her hair. She spends her days working in the IT field, but on occasion takes time to nurture her artistic flair for card making and event planning. She manages the blog Diary of a Hair Obsession which chronicles her journey towards healthier relaxed hair. The blog features product reviews, DIY styles and just about anything else hair related. You can find out more about HairObsessed’s hair journey at http://www.diaryofahairobsession.com.

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A Transitioning Story

My name is Alaina, or Alaina bee (because I’m hyper and free like a bee!), and I’m currently transitioning (waaaay long term, now about ten months, and I plan on doing my BC after my spring break in March). I am so excited to be writing here, and sharing the knowledge that I’ve gained in just a few short months from the caring community of beautiful natural women like you. I first decided to go natural for financial reasons – I, as a broke college student, couldn’t afford to spend $60-80 a month on a relaxer, and I was also going away to school in a place where black women and salons and stores that cater to them are few and far in between (beautiful Santa Barbara).
So I kept stretching relaxers until I realized that the excessive amount of hair that I found in the shower was not natural, and certainly not healthy. I was doing so many things wrong, and not properly caring for my hair, and the chemicals that I was putting into my hair to relax it were certainly not helping. I, unwittingly, began to transition, but I still wasn’t deep conditioning or properly moisturizing my hair. It wasn’t until about three months ago that I was turned onto this site by a friend, and my mind was blown! I immediately bought a deep conditioning treatment and conditioner and moisturizer, and well, went on a bit of a rampage (beginning product junkie status!), but three months later in December, I see so much of a difference in my hair. It feels so much healthier and thicker, and I’m so happy with it. I know that being natural is really for me. Now all that is left is to trim off those thin, straight ends that are hanging on for dear life.
I’d like to begin my stint here by briefly talking about the psychological effects of transitioning and well, I like to say “returning” to one’s natural hair. I’m in my second year of college, and I’m still discovering myself – my likes, dislikes, what I want to do with my life, and things like that, and I feel that stumbling upon all these wonderful natural hair care sites such as this one, is a huge part of this process. I’ve always struggled with loving my hair – mainly because I did not know how to take care of it, so it rebelled and broke off, and became depressed, really. I believe that life is a journey to figuring out oneself, and for me, especially since I am so young (nineteen on December 11th!); I know that I have so far to go. Now in the final stretch of my journey to natural hair, I finally feel like I’m finally being true to myself and my hair.
With natural hair I can be my wild self, switching styles up daily, or I can dial it down a bit if I need to be professional, or just desire to look different that day! I am constantly getting compliments on my different styles and it just encourages me to try out more things. I feel that working on my hair is an extension of working on and bettering myself. Do you all feel like that? Learning about me and the things that are good for my body and my life can be challenging, but it’s so fun. I have so much to learn, and college has really taught me to do my research and to learn from others.
I can’t wait to learn from you all, and hello again!
writerbiopicbrown
ALAINA
Alaina “Alainabee” Roberts, is a second-year college student at the University of California Santa Barbara. Working towards her B.A. in History, Alaina hopes to go on to write historical articles and historical fiction novels as well freelance. You can find more about Alaina’s hobbies, hair journey, and college experience at http://alainabee.tumblr.com. Her home is in the Bay Area, and she enjoys running, reading, and getting As in her History classes.
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Hair of the Day

streetstyleessence

Special thanks to Lola for directing us to this ever-so fly gallery from Essenceentitled Street Style Tributes Michael Jackson. Check out the gallery for more naturals!

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