Box Braids Take Down
Protective styles are always great when keeping your hair healthy, moisturized, and away from pollutants. It's also nice to know you won't have to worry about styling your hair for a period of time. For the months of December and January, I opted for box braids. It was the first time I got braids done professionally, and it was a pretty good experience. Between 2 and a half women (one women spent about 15 minutes on my hair and had to leave), my hair was done in 3 hours from start to finish. When I have done it myself it would take me days to complete, of course in 2-3 hour increments. In one sitting, I would spend about 8 hours doing my hair (I don't know how I did it). The braids lasted almost 2 months which I think is pretty good. There was about 1/2 an inch to an inch of growth, but because the braids were weighing my hair down so they had to go.
I will say I wish I did a little bit of research before I decided to take them down. I used the L.O.C. Method (Layer liquid, oil, then seal with crème based product to help with moisture retention) on most days, so the ends of my strands felt soft and moisturized when I took down the braids, but I had build-up of dirt where the braids were anchored. I rinsed my hair with apple cider vineger (ACV) and water (an idea from a post I read from Jen of Just Grow Already before I took them down which I thought would help a little bit with the build up but the roots were pretty matted. So then I thought we'll let me fully wash my hair and see if that would help. I did a pre-poo, washed my hair with peppermint castille soap, did a coffee rinse (to help prevent shedding), then with conditioner in my hair detangled my hair using my fingers and a detangling brush (I bought it years ago so I forgot the brand).
Below is a breakdown of the products I used (no real measurements):
Pre-poo oil mix - coconut oil, sunflower and extra virgin olive oil (evoo) blend, Jamaican black castor oil with peppermint oil. I warmed up the oil blend and rubbed it onto my scalp then slathered Shea Moisture Professional Boatein Precious Oils Complex Vibrant Color Recovery Masque from my root to ends. Cover with plastic cap and towel to trap in the heat for an hour.
ACV wash - 1 part ACV to about 5 parts water
After doing all of that my hair was a still disaster. After washing my hair the entire thing became matted and I wasn't sure why (maybe the coffee rinse or mixture of products), so I had to take each section and carefully detangle using a small tooth comb from the bottom up to remove the dirt build up. I did use the ACV mixture to keep my hair wet and it did help break down the junk in my hair. After hours of doing that I finally got all the junk out and didn't go bald! I rinsed my hair with the ACV mixture again and put in the Shea Moisture Baotein mask again for about an hour, rinsed and did chunky two strand twists in my hair.
My hair is back to normal thank God, but that was an experience! I would love to know how long you keep you're braids in and what you do to keep your hair manageable when taking it down.