Essential Braid Maintenance According to Stylists

Published 09th Oct 2023 by Sian Jones

Braid maintenance is important to keeping your client’s hair and scalp healthy, and ensuring their braids look as good as they do when your client steps out of the salon.

We spoke to the experts to find out the essential braid maintenance routine to keep your client’s style in the best condition.

What Are The Dos and Don’ts When Maintaining Braids?

Samira Milolo, stylist at Ebony Suite, tells us that when maintaining braids, it’s best not to use too much edge control. “This tends to make the braids look messy. Where possible I would recommend oiling your scalp once a week or every 10 days with the scalp oil that suits you. This moisturises the scalp and leaves the braids smelling nice.” Samira also explains that the maintenance routine should be covered with clients during consultation: “My consultation will ensure that the client understand they need to wrap their hair at night to avoid the braids becoming messy and to leave them down occasionally to avoid the front hair being pulled.”

“Braid maintenance is key when it comes to the longevity of your client’s style,” says Angela C. Stevens, celebrity hair stylist and Cantu Protective Styles co-creator, who shares her top tips for clients who want to keep their braids looking fresh:

  1. Always wrap the hair at night in a silk/satin scarf or bonnet.
  2. If your client tends to find that scarves slip off, then they can try an alternative like satin pillowcases. These will prevent your hair from looking frizzy and dry when you wake up.
  3. I also recommend using a foam such as Cantu’s Protective Styles Set & Refresh Foam to hydrate and set the braids to eliminate frizz. Be sure to apply the foam first - then tie the hair down until it dries fully to ensure that the frizz is smoothed out completely.
  4. If your client is on-the-go I recommend using a hair freshener, which will mask odour and act as a deodoriser to help eliminate unwanted scents that can get stuck in braids, wigs, and locs to keep your client’s hair smelling amazing.
  5. Finally, never forget the importance of applying oil directly to the scalp to hydrate and reduce dryness/ flaking whilst wearing braids as needed. 

Samira adds that if the client’s hair gets messy within three weeks she recommends they come back into the salon, “It is best to redo the front hair line, to avoid the client from have to pay for another hairstyle.”

Looking for some braid inspiration? Check out Rihanna’s box braid charms.

Sian Jones

Sian Jones

Published 09th Oct 2023

Sian is Editor Modern Barber and Deputy Editor Hairdressers Journal International. She has over ten years’ experience writing for print publications covering Youth & Children, TV & Entertainment and Lifestyle. Sian graduated with a degree in journalism, and whilst studying was nominated for the Guardian Digital Journalist of the Year award in 2011.

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