Why Should I Braid My Hair?

Q's sporting Box Braids again!
She actually let me do them all in one sitting this time! Must have had a captivating movie. :) lol - well, a new one anyway.

The dress is Happy Green Bee - I absolutely LOVE them!

I used to do something similar to this on my own hair in high school and college! :) I just thought it looked neat. But it wasn't until just recently I've been learning (prompted by a protective hair care challenge over on Beads, Braids and Beyond) that there are some big benefits to braiding.  Note: However, like with anything, there are those  who claim the opposite! 

Benefits of Box Braids:
* This style is easy and fast to maintain once it is in the hair.
* It prevents tangles and knots.
* Doesn't require daily restyling.
* Keeps hair secure (even layered and short hair!)
* Can give the hair a break from the "daily grind" and allow it to rest.
* Less likely to get damaged (therefore the hair can just focus on growing longer!)


Beware of the Braiding Pitfalls! ...

* Do not braid too tight.
* Do not leave the braids in too long (Two months is the limit generally agreed upon - however I don't think I'd want to leave box braids on a little toddler for anywhere near 2 months! I'd say 3-10 days is about all I'd feel comfortable with for the next few years.)
* If you notice stress on the hairline or little bumps on the scalp - take the braids out immediately.

Continue to care for your hair even while it's in braids - 

* Wash your scalp, condition your braids, add moisture! (just like normal)
* Sleep with a silk or satin scarf (Lycra swim caps or sleep caps can work, too) over your braids to keep them from getting frizzy as quickly. A satin pillowcase works, too, for kiddos who won't keep a cap on overnight!
* Avoid drying your braids with a regular towel (actually it's best to avoid drying unbraided hair with a towel, too - it can cause breakage.) instead use a microfiber towel or some T-shirt material and gently squeeze out the water - do not rub!
* "Braid Spray" is recommended for daily use - to make your own combine distilled water with a natural oil (like jojoba or almond or grapeseed oil) and an essential oil, like lavendar. A mixture like this is good for your hair and your scalp! It can also be used instead of washing the scalp as a means of cleansing.   (Q's review on this recipe is found HERE!)
* Tea tree oil can be used to clean the scalp if it becomes itchy - always use diluted and be reserved about using tea tree oil on kids! (it's strong stuff! Often used for dandruff.)

When it's time to take out the braids -

* Remember that the average head of hair loses 100 hairs a day! You should and will have more hair falling out than normal when you remove the braids! It seems like a lot - but that hair that would have come out earlier hasn't been able to get out of the braid - so if you've kept the braids in for 4 days - the average head of hair would now have 400 hairs fall out when the braids come out! It looks much worse than it really is. :)
* Another tip (depending on your texture needs, etc) that I've read is to gently detangle the hair before you wash it. Getting rid of the "shed hair" first makes for much easier combing and washing.


Great Times for Box Braids!
* Camping
* Spending time away from the "usual hairdoer" (if the default hair person is unwilling or resistant, especially)
* Swimming
* Busy days (box braids are quick and easy once they're in!)
* Windy seasons!
* When you want the fun of wavy hair after the braids come out. Braids add waves to straight hair (especially if they're braided when wet and then allowed to fully dry before being removed.) Braids also give curly hair a funky wavy look - known as the "Braid Out." :) Very cute!  Plus, this method of getting wavy hair doesn't involve a curly iron , crimping iron or other heat method which can be damaging to any kind of hair!

Here is a quote from buzzle.com, "It is believed that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Africans, and Asian peoples all wore their hair in braids, which not only looked good but also helped keep hair off the neck in hot climates."  Interesting! I didn't know that so many cultures embraced braiding like this! But I can sure see why!


    1. Once again great info! I love doing braids for my girl and me. I'm amazed you can leave braids in for two months that seems like a long time! Another culture that used braids was Native Americans. I'm sure its one of the oldest and most used hairstyles in alot of cultures.

    2. Thanks! I'm loving all your comments! Thank you!!

      I know! 2 months seems like a really long time.

      -oh sure! Now that you mention it I've seen pictures of this style in pictures of Native Americans. It would be interesting to research more cultures history of braiding, too!


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