Protecting Your Hair From Heat

Hair Braiding: How To Prepare Your Hair And Select Your Braids

Braids are an excellent style option because they can last upwards of a couple of months and make caring for your hair easier. Before your appointment, preparing your natural hair and selecting your braids will be necessary.


The day before your appointment, wash your hair and scalp with a simple shampoo that doesn't leave any residue. Skip any conditioners or other hair products. These can make it harder for the braids to grip your natural hair. Avoid hair grease and other forms of moisturizer. The person braiding your hair will often add hair grease to your scalp as they go if they feel it is necessary. Ideally, natural, unprocessed hair is the best for braids because it has more texture, helping grip the extensions and preventing the braider from needing to braid as tightly.

If you have relaxed hair, you might want to schedule your braiding after you have some "new growth." Thoroughly comb through your hair to remove mats and tangles which will slow down the braiding process and make parting your hair more painful. This can also be a good time to trim your hair, if needed. Many braiders consider the length of your natural hair when determining the price, with shorter hair being less expensive than longer hair. If you happen to need a trim at this time, it might save you money.

Types Of Braids

There are numerous types of braids, such as micro braids and Senegalese twists. For the most part, braids fall into two categories. Individual braids will require the braider to take a small section of hair and create an individual braid with the hair extension. Another option is crochet braids. For crochet braids, your braider will braid your natural hair, keeping the braiding close to your scalp. This "braid pattern" will provide the anchor to which a pre-packaged braid will be attached. This technique is similar to attaching a hair weave or "tracks."

Crochet braids will be the easiest and quickest to install. Your braider may choose to add some individual braids to crochet braids to make it look like you have all individual braids when the hair is pulled up or parted in different ways. Individual braids are often preferred because they look neater at the base and can be parted and styled in virtually any way. However, since these braids take longer, they are more expensive to install.

Size And Length

Individual and crochet braids come in a range of styles, sizes, and lengths. Depending on the particular style, the cost of hair may be included in the price or it may be extra. Sometimes, you can bring your own extensions. Often synthetic extensions are included in the price because they are less expensive than human hair extensions. The size of your braids will dictate the price, as well. Many types of braids can be done in varying thicknesses. For example, microbraids can be small, medium, or large. If these are done individually, the small micro braids will be more expensive at time-consuming.

Some braid styles are inherently larger than others. Senegalese twists are a thicker style of braids, whereas kinky twists tend to be thinner, but not as thin as micro braids. The length of the braid may not matter so much if you are getting crochet braids, but if they are individual braids, the longer the braids, the more expensive they will be.

Having your hair braided, especially for the first time, can be overwhelming because of seemingly unlimited options. Thinking carefully about your selection will not only affect the look and price of your style, but will also affect how long they last and your comfort. For more information on African hair braiding, contact a professional near you.