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How to Wash Different Types of Braids

If you’ve ever had a question on how to wash braids, you’re not alone. How do you tread the fine line between washing your scalp but not stripping hair? We checked in with Felicia Leatherwood, one of our favorite celebrity hairstylists (responsible for Issa Rae’s hair) and owner of Brush With The Best.

So, How Do You Wash Braids?

Regardless of whether you’re washing cornrows, box braids, locs, etc, Felicia wants us to know that it’s pretty simple. “You just wash your scalp,” she continues. To do this, she recommends Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight Water-to-Foam Sulfate Free Shampoo with Aloe as she loves the packaging and nozzle. It’s this nozzle that allows just the right amount of shampoo to go where it’s supposed to—weirdly a first for the category. “The cleansing agent is perfect and goes directly on the scalp. The nozzle allows you to reach into parts of your hair without disturbing the actual hairstyle. Especially given that braids can get frizzy quickly with water exposure,” says Felicia.

For the best way to avoid the hair and only wash the scalp, Felicia notes how you position yourself underwater matters. “I recommend generally standing under the showerhead, like a rainfall for braids, twists, and protective styles,” she offers.

How Often Should You Wash Your Braids?

According to Felicia, “hair should be washed every 10 to 14 days.” This differs depending on a few factors. “If you work out or have an active lifestyle, it’s best to wash your hair more frequently, such as every seven to 10 days,” she notes.

While you definitely want to wash the scalp, we’ve always been semi unsure about conditioner. Do you condition your scalp too? According to Felicia, that’s a no. “It’s best to condition the hair and oil the scalp. Applying conditioner to the scalp can block the pores because it’s sitting directly on the scalp, which can lead to dryness and possible breakage. Applying oil on the scalp allows for the right nutrients to penetrate and feed into the scalp,” she continues.

Felicia’s Tips and Tricks

Though longer braids may look amazing, they’re definitely not a “woke-up like this” style. “I have noticed many people are rocking the waist-length braids, and those are a lot to manage,” notes Felicia. “When you’re washing your hair, depending on if it’s in the shower and you’re holding it back, you’re putting a strain on the neck because once the water gets on the braids/twists/locs, it makes the hair really heavy. So, what some women find easier is to basically ponytail the hair, and in that way, they can kind of maneuver it, bring it around and focus on the scalp and let the water run through the braids/twists/locs without pulling so much and putting so much weight on their hair,” she adds, giving us a major hair hack.

Washing your braids regularly isn’t always possible, which is why a dry shampoo is essential. HERE are the best dry shampoos for braids!



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