Noël Reid-Killings, hairstylist extraordinaire and owner of Noël New York Salon & Boutique, explains how to start the new year off with the right weave.

Avoid Circular Braids
“Every great weave starts with a great foundation. Because your hair doesn’t naturally grow in a circular pattern, that braid formation is stressful on your strands. Tracks should to lay right on top of braids, so in my salon we braid horizontally, starting on the perimeter of the hairline and ending in the middle of the head. We finish with a French braid going the middle (called a ‘spine’).”

Use Human Hair Only
“Don’t let anyone braid synthetic hair into your own. Synthetics are like plastic and if you own natural hair is interwoven with it, the friction will cause your hair to break.”

Protect Your Edges
“Every night comb your hair away from your weave, toward your face. Most people who are leaving their edges out push it back constantly to cover their tracks. As your natural hair comes in contact with the track it breaks off. Give your edges a rest. And when you do push them back, do so gently.”

Wash Your Hair Frequently
“Shampoo at minimum bi-weekly—ideally, every week. Focus on the scalp, not the hair and use a scalp nourishing and cleansing shampoo like Nioxin. When your hair isn’t in a weave, your scalp is free to breathe and regular combing and brushing removes some of the dirt on your scalp. But in a weave, you need to wash frequently to keep your hair healthy.”

Silk Thread is a Must
“Cotton thread soaks up the natural oils in your hair and creates dry brittle strands.  Have your stylist use a silk or nylon thread, instead.  They move with hair and don’t create as much hair-breaking friction.”

Buy Quality Hair
“Cheap hair can be a waste of money. Pay just a little bit more for great quality hair that lasts so much longer—up to a year! If you wear weaves consistently, invest in good hair. Ask a retailer for samples. Tease it, and if it knots up really well, it’s not good for weave. Also wash it and observe how it behaves. Sometimes hair is treated before it’s packaged, so it looks beautiful but it won’t look good long term.”