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