How to Care For Your Braids (Properly)

Posted by Mylene Fotso on

So, you’re considering braids — or maybe you pulled the trigger without doing all of your research first. Whether it’s your very first time or your full-time look, a solid haircare routine is essential. 

Braids are a popular, low-maintenance protective hairstyle, but proper braid care still remains somewhat of a mystery. Luckily, caring for your braids isn’t rocket science, it’s actually quite simple. In fact, a little bit of extra effort and TLC goes a long way when it comes to extending your style and maintaining your freshness. 

Ahead, we break down everything that you need to know about caring for your new style including the do’s, don’ts, and a crash course on how to tackle wash day. 

The Do’s and The Don’ts


  • Do Moisturize — Feed those thirsty braids! Seal in moisture with a small amount of your favorite loc butter, liquid leave-in, or hair oil. Apply the product just a few times a week, sparingly to your roots, working the product throughout your braids. 

  • Do secure your hair before you workout — Before you work up a sweat, protect your braids. Securing your braids in an up-do pre-workout tamps down on tension and prevents excess frizz from forming after a sweat sesh. Tie your braids up in a high ponytail or top knot before working out and put a scarf on over it. Afterwards, make sure you wait to remove the hairstyle until your braids are completely dry. 

  • Do opt for a refresh — If you want your style to last just a *little* longer, schedule a refresh. A refresh is an opportunity to tidy up your hairline and include new growth in your braided style. 

  • Don’t 


  • Don’t catch Z’s without a bonnet — The secret behind smooth, glossy braids? Proper nighttime care. Protect your braids from friction and frizz by wearing a bonnet at night. If bonnets aren’t your style, opt for a loose ponytail with a silk scrunchie and a satin pillow case. 

  • Don’t skip wash daySeriously, don’t do it. While braids are a low-maintenance style, they’re not a total vacation from haircare. Build-up doesn’t take time off, so your scalp will still need some TLC between braiding and take down. When you hit week two or three, give your scalp a good rinse and a gentle scrub. If you’re a swimmer or workout regularly, sooner might be better. 

  • Don’t keep your braids in too long — Braids should stick around for a good time, not a long time. As a general rule of thumb, braids should be worn for no longer than six weeks. Otherwise you risk abrasive tension on new growth and weakened strands. 


    Wash Day

    Avoiding frizz after wash day is all in the product application and drying technique. When it comes to tamping down on frizz, spray bottles are your bestie. 

    1. Start with a diluted mixture of shampoo and water in a spray bottle (about 1 pump of shampoo per 8 ounces of water). Spritz the solution directly onto the roots and massage as you work your way down to your ends. Then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. 
    2. Next, repeat the process with your favorite conditioner, mimicking the same ratio. Focus the application on the ends of the braids and try not to rub or create friction as you apply. This time, rinse thoroughly with cold water. 
    3. Once you’ve got clean braids, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Top off the routine by spritzing in your preferred liquid leave-in conditioner or apply a small amount of your favorite loc butter. 
    4. When you’re ready to dry, you’ve got options. Cut down on frizz and use mousse before spending 30-40 minutes under a hooded dryer. Or squeeze excess moisture out of your braids with a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt and let it air dry. Whatever you do, do NOT style your braids until they are completely dry. Doing so too early will create excess frizz and creates a cozy habitat for mildew and bacteria — gross. 

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