Growing your hair with braids, whether you've got tiny or big ones.

Written by Kelechi Arinze

While small braids can cause thinning, with big braids don’t pack on too much artificial hair on a little portion of your hair especially around your edges. As the extra weight will pull on your strands and might give you bald patches.

Your hairstylist probably dips your braids in hot water to seal the ends and this is fine. However, it becomes a problem when the full length of the hair (including your natural hair) is dipped. Some hair stylists even go as far as pressing down on your edges with a steaming hot towel. This causes severe heat damage as you are literally boiling your natural hair! Avoid frizzy, brittle and split ends by just dipping the tips of the artificial hair.

Don’t leave your braids in for longer than 6 weeks. Any longer than that and your new growth will stretch and get damaged, this completely negates the point of protective styling. Protective styling is meant to give your fragile ends a break and focus on attaining new growth.

Moisturise your hair while in braids. An easy method is to use a spray bottle with a mix of 50% of your favourite leave-in-conditioners and 50% water. Use this daily. Avoid tight up-dos and buns as constantly styling your hair into high ponytails pulls at your edges and roots.

Most girls use protective styling as an escape from dealing with their natural hair but this is not the best mindset if you are using protective styling to stretch your relaxers or grow your hair because you might end up with even more breakage than you would get without braids.

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