For some of us, rocking them has become a signature style of choice. For others, wearing braids is simply a chic way to cool off during the season's high heat and humidity (not to mention enjoy a swim without care). The key to ensuring a modern rather than "I just stepped out of my fifth-grade school photo" look? Mimic some of the latest trends: "If an asymmetrical crop is in, then achieve it with individual braids. If fades and the pompadour are back, rock them with cornrows," offers Tonya Reed of Uncle Funky's Daughter Salon and Boutique in Houston, Texas. You can also experiment with scale and play with different parts to create exciting styles.
KEEPING IT FRESH
Suzette Boozer of Sulon Hair Studio in NYC shares essential braid care tips
When strands begin to frizz and fuzz, Boozer suggests taming them with a conditioning mousse. Spray two pumps in your hand and rub hands together. Then smooth all over your head and tie down hair with a silk scarf. This softens the braids and flattens the flyaways.
To smooth edges, try a dollop of pomade. Avoid excessive use, as this could dry them out and lead to breakage.
Make sure your hair and scalp are hydrated with natural emollients, like shea butter and Argan or Moroccan oil. Don't look to sheen spray for adding moisture. "Sheen is a top coat for a little shine but not for nourishing the scalp and hair," explains Boozer.
1. Jane Carter Solution
Wrap & Roll ($9)
2. Galen Labs
Shea Oil SPF 6 ($20)
3. Paul Mitchell
Elastic Shaping Paste ($14)
THINGS TO CONSIDER
• Do avoid using extenions for braiding if you have fine hair. They add extra weight and can cause breakage.
• Do wait at least two weeks after a chemical treatment to have your hair braided.
• Don't overdo it. You can't braid your hair every two weeks and expect it to grow. Because of the constant pulling and tugging, you'll need to give your strands time to recover.
• Don't braid the hair too tightly, especially around the hairline. This unhealthy practice is linked to many cases of breakage and traction alopecia.