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Six ways to handle your hair after braids

 A model takes a selfie              Photo:Courtesy

How we handle our hair when we undo braids can either make it or break it - literally. If you are like me, you probably can rock your braids for more than eight weeks before you remove them. There are women who prefer going back to braids or weaves immediately they undo their braids. It would be prudent to do certain things first before going back to braids, weave or even putting a relaxer so that you maintain your scalp and hair health. Below is what to do:

Limitations: Do not keep your braids for longer than necessary. Doing so can lead to matting where your hair locs and might be difficult to comb when undone.

Condition before undoing: It is prudent that you wash and condition your hair properly before undoing braids. A day before undoing it works well. Conditioning softens the hair and moisturises it while making it strong enough to stand the undoing and not break easily. You can wash and condition again after undoing the braids. While washing the second time, ensure you do so thoroughly since you have had the braids for a long time and product build up tend to occur due to the daily moisturising you have been doing without regular wash.

Detangle: You must detangle your hair using your fingers or hair conditioner. Your hair has been hidden in braids for weeks, so it is not like you have been combing it every day. Once you have undone the hair, do not comb it immediately, work through your hair gently using your fingers focusing mainly on the new growth. This way, you don't damage your hair as would happen if you use a comb. Once done, you can then get a wide-tooth comb and work through the hair.

Deep condition: After you shampoo your hair, apply a generous amount of moisturising conditioner to soften it and avoid breakage while combing. You can then comb through. Start at the ends of your hair and work your way up toward the scalp slowly. A large amount of hair may shed but this should not alarm you. Leave the conditioner on for the recommended time and once you can easily comb through, rinse thoroughly

Trim ends: Have your hair ends trimmed. Just clip off a small amount so that your hair does not look dry.

Rest your hair: It is very tempting to retouch your hair as soon as you undo your braids, but don’t. Your hair and scalp need a break as it is in a weaker state than normal. Braiding the hair places some amount of stress on the hair and scalp from the extra weight of the hair piece and your scalp needs time to recover. Your hair may be looking untidy, but find a style you can rock for a couple of weeks that don't rely on chemicals. This way, you maintain a healthy scalp and hairline.

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