Tuesday, April 17, 2012

STOP THE WEAVE ABUSE... Luv Your Hair Extensions

How to Care for Your Hair with Hair Weaves & Extensions


Hello Beautiful Ones,
Anyone who knows me knows that I love my hair weaves. Weaves and braids are a  great way for me to add spice and variety to my hair regimen. In addition, they are so convenient. You can wear them straight or curly, go from one color to another color, and wear them long or short. They are also great protective styles because they can be worn for several weeks at time, they are extremely low maintenance (the ends of our hair are completely hidden), and they require minimum to no heat. Many of us use weaves or extensions to give our hair a break from daily manipulation and heat styling. Weaves actually help me transition into my natural hair.

Traction Alopecia: www.naturalchica.com

It is the misuse of weaves and braids that can lead to breakage, thinning, temporary hair loss (traction alopecia) and worst, it can lead to permanent hair loss. Too many people think weaves are magical… basically, it is the misconception that you are absolved from caring for your hair underneath. Yes, the ends of your hair are protected which will help you retain length, but if you neglect to care for your hair, it can break those ends that you spent so much time trying to grow.

Let’s take a look at how weaves can go wrong:

You know your weave is too tight or too old when…
·         Within one hour of getting a sew-in, you have to stand in a hot shower to loosen the “tight” feeling of your scalp
·         You cannot sleep the night you get your sew-in
·         When you chew food or gum, you get a headache instantly
·         You have an instant face lift appearance
·         You notice small red or white bumps forming along your hairline, parting and the edges
·         Excessively dry, flaking along the parts, particularly at the frontal hairline
·         Scalp where the parting lies has an extra shiny appearance
·         White tipped hairs sticking up from your braids where it starts from the hairline
·         Your hair develops a mildew smell
·         Rough dry-looking ends of the extensions
·         See your hair through the weave or the tracks are visible
·         Only a few hairs are left on the weft
·         Hair weave looks like a birds nest

If you have experienced one or more of these conditions that is a problem!
How to Correct Weave Abuse

Preparing for a Weave
  1. First, you must evaluate the condition of your hair. If your hair is experiencing extreme breakage, thinning, and shedding, please resolve those issues first. Weeks of not having access to your hair can aggravate these conditions. So, when you take the weaves out those problems are amplified. Only choose to wear braids and weaves when your hair is in a healthy condition.
  2. Fully detangle hair, shampoo, and deep condition your hair before your installment. Moisturize your hair with a water-based moisturizer or a water-based leave-in conditioner. Sealing with an oil is also beneficial. If your hair is kinky or curly, blow dry hair or a low/cool heat setting. This will reduce breakage and tangles since some stylist can handle the hair roughly when braiding. *Ask the stylist to comb your hair from tip to root and be delicate with your hair. Only get hair braided with clean, conditioned and moisturized hair.
During the Braiding Process
  1. Always remain involved with the braiding process, even for sew-ins. Let the stylist know if that are braiding too tight. Ask that they are most careful with your edges, the most delicate part of your head. The edges of the hairline cannot withstand extreme tension for extended periods of time.
  2. Never leave the salon with a damaging style that is too tight. Your goal is to maintain healthy hair during and after the style.
Maintaining Your Braids and Weaved Styles
  1. Keeping your hair clean and moisturized is a must. Try to shampoo and condition your hair weekly or bi-weekly. Hair can become extremely dry with extensions, which can lead to dandruff and breakage.
  2. It is a good idea to dilute your shampoo and conditioner with water to decrease product build up.
  3. Place shampoo and conditioner in a applicator bottle for easier placement between the tracks or along cornrows lines and along the length of the braid extensions. Be gentle when shampooing your braids or weaved styles. For weaves, keep hair in a downward position to prevent tangling and frizzing. For big, curly weave (pictured below), I would twist my hair before I washed it to prevent tangles. Pat dry with microfiber towel.
  4. Moisturize with protein and moisturizing sprays throughout the hair. This will combat dryness and keep your hair strong. Avoid oil-based sprays and creams with a sew in. They can weigh your style down. For braids and twists, it is recommended to seal with oils and butters. Braids sprays are good, just make sure the first ingredient listed is water.
  5. Fully dry your hair under wigs, weaves and braids once you have washed it. Damp hair in a warm environment can brew bacteria & mildew and can cause unpleasant odors.
  6. When detangling, start from tip to root. Always wear a scarf or satin bonnet at night to protect the hair.

I recommend these styles be worn at maximum, eight to twelve weeks (this is stretching it).

What I have learned through my journey is that my hair needs regular rest periods between braids and weave applications. I continuously wore sew-ins for about four years. BIG MISTAKE! I should have had those breaks to evaluate the health of my hair. It was until the end of last year that I noticed my hair was thinning badly in the crown area. Now, when I wear wigs, braids or weaves, I need at least two to four weeks of a rest period to apply the correct moisture and protein treatments to keep it healthy and growing without dryness and breakage.

When you take down your braids or weaves, it is normal to have lots of shed hairs. Hair sheds everyday, even with the most healthy head of hair (average 50-100 hair strands per day). Remember, your hair has been confined to braids for several weeks, and your shed hair has not been about able to fall from the scalp. It has been trapped by braids. The problem is if you have not maintained your style with the proper care, your hair can become matted and tangled and lead to extreme breakage.

I had to learn through my personal journey that weaves and braids are not a permanent solution to my hair care regimen. They are convenient and low maintenance and should only be use as an expressive and protective style option. Not as a crutch. Please do not despise your own hair or love the weave more than your own hair. Always nurture your hair.


Favorite Weaved Style: Bohyme Brazilian Wave
 How do you prepare & maintain your braids or weaved styles?

 
Luv,

Hair Kitty Kitty

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