Micro braids are tiny, delicate braids that are tightly woven into hair, and generally last for several months. The braids are most commonly seen on African American women, but can be done on nearly any hairstyle.
Before Getting Micro Braids
The decision to get micro braids is one that should not be taken lightly. Many people get these type of braids because they require little daily maintenance. However, individuals who get their hair micro braided should be prepared to wear this hairstyle for a long time; the process of getting the braids put in generally takes several hours, and getting the braids removed can take just as long. Very small braids can also be very damaging to hair and can cause extensive breakage. Women with dry, brittle hair should be especially cautious when getting these braids done as they can also cause hair loss, particularly when they are removed.
Before getting the braids done, it is important to find a professional hair hairstylist that specializes in the style. If you have African American hair, you will also want to find someone who specializes in black hair. Prior to making an appointment, schedule a consultation with the stylist. At this time your stylist can asses your hair, and make sure it is in proper condition for braiding and will tell you how long the braids should take. Expect braiding to take several hours at a minimum.
Prepare the Hair
Prior to getting braids, it's essential that the hair is as healthy as possible so that it has the least chance of becoming damaged.
- Either perform a hot oil treatment at home, or have a professional hair stylist do one so that the hair is as full of moisture as possible.
- Make sure to use a deep conditioner several times prior to braiding.
- Get a haircut prior to getting the braids. The haircut can be as simple as cutting off all the ends so that none of them are split before the braids are added.
How to Micro Braid the Hair Yourself
Although micro braiding hair takes a long time, the process itself is fairly easy. The one difficulty that comes with micro braiding is that the braids themselves are so tiny that braiding an entire head of hair can take a long time.
- Section the hair with a comb, leaving 1/4 of hair down at the nape of the neck. Secure the rest of the hair with a clip.
- Take a tiny section of hair, about 1/8 of an inch in thickness and begin braiding the hair. Separate the hair and cross the strands left over center and right over center. Pull the braids tightly, but not so tight that they hurt your scalp.
- Continue braiding the hair all the way down. Secure the ends with braid sealer or tie off with a slipknot. Repeat until all of the hair on the nape of the neck is braided.
- Once this section of hair is complete, section off a new portion of hair, similar in width to your first portion and begin doing more individual braids.
Micro Braiding Extensions
Another popular trend with micro braiding is to have extensions braided into the hair. This is one way of adding extensions to the hair to prevent them from falling out and can also make a braided hairstyle look fuller and longer. Doing the extensions is very similar to the general process, but requires a few additional steps to secure the hair. When considering additional length, make sure to choose a professional who has experience in braiding in extensions.
Caring for the Braids
A few important things to remember about caring for this hair style include:
- Wash your micro braids as needed with a gentle shampoo. Carefully massage into the scalp and braids. Don't rub too vigorously or the braids can come undone.
- For daily moisturizing, apply a light leave in conditioner to the hair. This will keep braids looking shiny and healthy, while keeping the hair and scalp nourished and moisturized. If your scalp is exposed, look for a leave in conditioner with SPF in it to protect the scalp from burning.
- Add extra moisture to the hair while it's in micro braids by using a light hair oil. By no means should the hair oil drench the hair, but enough should be used so that the hair does not feel dry and brittle to the touch.
- Don't ever get dehydrated. Not drinking enough water on a daily basis has an effect on the hair. So, while wearing micro braids, make sure to drink a healthy amount of water every day.
Considering the Style
Getting micro braids is a big decision for any person. If you are willing to keep up with the simple daily care of your micro braids, you may just find that these braids are the perfect low maintenance style for your lifestyle.