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Keeping Your Scalp Healthy When You Wear Braids


3 min read

Nov 2, 2020



Braids are a popular protective style and for good reason. They are convenient and long-lasting and when installed properly, can help protect your own hair and allow it to thrive. Fall and winter, because of the lower temperatures that define them, and the potential for damage to hair under those conditions, are prime seasons for protective styling, a great time to put your hair away though that doesn’t mean you should just forget about it. Your hair and scalp still require love and care while you wear protective styles, but it can be difficult to do so while wearing protective styles such as braids. A proper scalp care routine will aid in keeping your hair and scalp healthy, promote new growth, and make your scalp comfortable during the duration of your braids.

Proper scalp care begins even before you install your braids. Let us look at things you can do to keep your scalp healthy for the duration of the protective style.

Before the braids

In preparation for your braids, you should wash and deep condition your hair. A clarifying shampoo to remove any preexisting buildup is an excellent idea. Once your hair and scalp have been thoroughly cleaned you should ensure that they are also thoroughly moisturized so that dryness, which can cause the scalp to itch does not develop. Deep conditioning and moisturizing the hair prior to braid installation will prevent the hair from becoming overly dry for the duration of time that you wear your braids.

Cleanse Regularly

It is very important to clean your scalp during the period of time you wear your braids. How often you do so will depend on how long you keep your braids in, but it’s a good idea to cleanse your scalp with at least the same frequency you would wash your loose hair. Most people are afraid of washing their braids for fear of causing frizz, but if you keep your focus on the scalp, you should be able to successfully wash your braids without generating too much frizz. There are lots of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to wash your braids. There are also videos showing how you can get your scalp clean using witch hazel as an alternative to washing.

Braid loosely

Make sure your braids are installed loosely. There should be no tension on your hair or scalp which can lead to irritation and discomfort as well as hair loss. Braids need not be tight in order for them to be neat.

Keep hair and scalp moisturized

Spritz your scalp daily or every couple of days with a braid spray that features a lot of natural ingredients. You can make your own or purchase any of the number of braid sprays available in beauty supply stores. Focus your spray on your scalp and not on the length of your braid. If you decide to purchase a commercial braid spray, look for one that is free of mineral oil which can lead to build up and attract dirt and lint.

A simple DIY braid spray recipe is below.

Braid spray recipe

  1. 2 cups of water

  2. ½ cup witch hazel

  3. ½ cup jojoba oil

  4. 10-15 drops tea tree oil

  5. 10-15 drops lavender oil

  6. 10-15 drops peppermint oil

Reduce Styling

Constantly styling your braids can put stress on your hair and scalp. The whole point of protective styling is to protect your hair and scalp so, go easy with the styling so that your scalp can get a break along with your hair.

Keep Product Use to a Minimum

Try as best as possible to not fuss with your braids. Keep the use of mousses and gels to a minimum, especially if you won’t be shampooing your braids and scalp. The less product you use, the less buildup, dirt, and itchiness that you’ll likely have to deal with.

Use Jojoba Oil on your Dry Spots

Jojoba oil is naturally close to the sebum produced by your scalp. Apply it to areas that are particularly itchy and flaky to help the scalp balance itself.

Don’t Keep Braids in for Longer than Two Months (8 weeks)

Braids are great for protecting the hair and promoting growth, but too much of a good thing can do damage. No matter how well you maintain your braids there is bound to build up from dirt, oil, sweat, and product which will need to be removed thoroughly. Your hair and scalp need to rest and breathe and your delicate edges will need relief from being subjected to the weight of extensions as well. Keep that in mind as you decide how long to keep your braids in.

An itchy and irritated scalp is no one’s idea of a good time and many of us have taken out our braids prematurely because we just could not endure that torture. With the tips above, you can hopefully escape that discomfort.


3 min read

Nov 2, 2020



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