Haircare

Baldness to dandruff: 5 common questions about braids answered

Frika stylist Jimmy Shibambu debunks popular myths about braids and shares expert tips on how best to care for your protective hairstyle

16 May 2018 - 14:20 By S MAG
Braids are low maintenance and offer great flexibility in styling.
Braids are low maintenance and offer great flexibility in styling.
Image: 123RF / Karelnoppe

WILL BRAIDS MAKE MY HAIR WEAK?

Hair shedding is inevitable with any protective styling. However, there are ways of minimising hair breakage. The trick really lies in the application process. Your hair should not be plaited tightly and close to the scalp because pulling the hair from the follicle weakens it.

Also giving your hair a break in between styles is important.

Lastly, avoid braiding your hair immediately after chemically processing.

ARE BRAIDS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY RECEDING HAIRLINE?

Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia, or gradual hair loss, caused primarily by a pulling force being applied to the hair. If braids are pulled too tight to achieve a certain style, or are not installed properly, this will cause strain on the hairline.

The weight of the hair used must also be taken into consideration, because the heavier the hair, the greater the strain. 

That said, traction alopecia is not specific to those wearing braids. Ballerinas who wear tight buns, for example, can also suffer from the condition. 

Seek advice from a trained professional when choosing the type of braids best suited to your needs. 

DO BRAIDS CAUSE DANDRUFF?

Dandruff occurs when the scalp becomes dry or greasy and produces white flakes of dead skin that can be seen in the hair.

Washing your braids with a gentle, anti-dandruff shampoo will get rid of residue and allow your scalp to breathe and give you some reprieve. Don’t pile on product though, because this will make the problem worse. 

WILL WASHING MY BRAIDS MAKE THEM SMELLY?

If your hair smells, it means your hair and scalp are dirty. This reaction also indicates that your current hair care routine is not working. Wash your hair to get rid of oil build up, sweat, and product build up. Refresh your braids with a dry shampoo or lightweight braid spray.

Also, when braiding choose the thickness of your braids carefully. Thicker braids take a little longer to dry after a wash, and if your braids don't dry completely, mildew will form and cause an unpleasant smell. It is advised to have your braids washed by a professional stylist as they have the right equipment to ensure that they are properly dried.

You can also try a rose water spray diluted in a bit of water to cleanse your hair and scalp. This will leave your hair refreshed, and won’t dry it out because rose water has no alcohol in it. 

DOES BRAIDING YOUR HAIR DURING PREGNANCY LEAD TO BIRTH COMPLICATIONS?

Wearing braids during your pregnancy will have no effect on your labour or the health of your baby because braids do not require harsh chemicals to install or maintain. Simply ensure that you thoroughly prepare your natural hair for the braids, by washing with proper products and conditioning well beforehand. 

• This article is adapted from one published by S Mag on the SowetanLIVE website. Read the original article here.  S. Magazine is a must-read fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine sent out with The Sowetan newspaper.

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