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Having sleek, tight braids or twists looks great in theory, but caring for them isn't as easy as stepping in the shower, washing, and letting dry. You've got to take extreme care not to rough up the braids or pull any strands out of place, which can truly be a bit exhausting. To help ease the styling pain a bit, we spoke to Mezei Jefferson, director of education at L'Oréal Multi-Cultural Beauty Division and Edward Tricomi, lead stylist and co-founder of Warren-Tricomi Salons.
Keep reading to see what they had to say!
According to Jefferson, your best bet is to invest in a spray bottle (like Hot Tools Spray Bottle, $4): "The best way to wash braids and twists is to spray between them with a mild astringent. Use a cotton ball or Q-Tip to remove any buildup as needed," he explains.
As far as actually shampooing, Jefferson says to do so every two weeks with a moisturizing shampoo like Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Hydrating Soak Shampoo. Before working your fingers into the hair, however, Jefferson says to just let the water run over your head and to pat the shampoo into the braids (don't massage!). When you're done, rinse thoroughly.
In terms of conditioning, Jefferson says to break out the spray bottle once again (we told you it would come in handy!): "To condition, spray with Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture Loc Super Quench Leave-In Spray and apply a small amount of Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture L.O.C. Soak It Up Oil Cocktail to add shine and moisturize the scalp."
To keep braids and twists in perfect condition, Tricomi suggests using a shiner or a wax on the braid, especially when they start to look dull. We suggest grabbing The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Shine.
Lastly, instead of towel-drying (which you should avoid in general!), opt for a microfiber towel to gently soak up the water like the Aquis Hair Turban.
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What some braid inspiration? Check out these 10 dreamy braid styles.