Caring for your child’s hair after getting African braids is essential to maintain the health and appearance of the hair. Properly washing braided hair can prevent product build-up, scalp irritations, and potential hair damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively wash your child’s hair after African braiding.
- Select a Gentle Shampoo: For children’s sensitive scalps, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo. These are gentler and won’t strip the hair’s natural oils.
- Use a Lightweight Conditioner: This will make rinsing easier and prevent any residue from weighing down the braids.
2. Wetting the Hair:
- Use lukewarm water to wet the hair. Avoid high pressure or direct water jet to prevent the braids from becoming loose or frizzy.
- Gently squeeze the braids to ensure they’re fully saturated.
3. Applying Shampoo:
- Pour a small amount of shampoo into your hands and gently lather.
- Using your fingertips (not nails), gently massage the shampoo into the scalp in a circular motion.
- Work your way from the front of the head to the back.
- For the length of the braids, lightly stroke them with shampoo from the root to the ends.
- Gently pour lukewarm water over the hair, ensuring all the shampoo is rinsed out. It’s crucial to rinse thoroughly to avoid residue build-up.
- Again, gently squeeze the braids to remove excess water and shampoo.
5. Applying Conditioner:
- Squeeze a generous amount of conditioner into your hands.
- Gently apply it to the braids, focusing on the ends (the oldest and often driest part of the hair).
- Allow the conditioner to sit for a few minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt to gently squeeze out excess water. These materials are gentle on hair and reduce frizz.
- Avoid rubbing the braids, as this can cause them to become frizzy.
- Let the braids air dry, or if you’re in a hurry, you can use a hooded dryer on a cool setting.
7. Moisturizing and Sealing:
- Once the hair is dry, apply a lightweight hair oil or hair lotion to the braids and scalp. This will keep the hair moisturized and give the braids a healthy shine.
- If the child’s scalp is particularly dry, consider using a light scalp oil.
8. Nighttime Care:
- To maintain the braids and prevent frizz, wrap the hair with a silk or satin scarf or use a silk/satin pillowcase. This reduces friction and maintains the braids’ smooth appearance.
Conclusion: Taking care of your child’s African braids doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these steps, you can ensure the longevity of the braids and the health of your child’s hair and scalp. Remember always to handle the hair gently and use products that are suitable for children’s sensitive scalps.