When you think of a protective style, you think of braids, buns, twists, ponytails, and even wigs*–but you rarely think of weaves as a first option.
It’s unfortunate that weaves are often overlooked because having them in for 1 to 2 months can bring you a ton of healthy hair growth. However, like every other protective style, there’s an important list of dos and donts you have to follow.
If you’re thinking about installing a weave as your next protective style, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Proper Hair Prep Before Weaving
Before you install a weave, you need to make sure your hair is in the best state it could possibly be in. This means you need to take care of any damage or general hair concerns that you may have before your install.
First, clip your ends! A nice trim beforehand will keep your hair healthy, prevent it from splitting further, and promote hair growth. After that, do a quick protein treatment and deep conditioning*. This will strengthen and moisturize your hair to prevent any damage or unnecessary shedding after you take down your weave. Finally, go through with your preferred wash day routine.
You should probably start prepping your hair a whole week before you planned to get your weave installed. This will give your hair time to rest and breathe between manipulation.
What Weave Installation Is Best For Your Hair
Simply put, the only weave installation that will protect your hair 100% is a full sew in. Partial sew ins where you have leave out that you have to manipulate is ultimately damaging to your hair.
Quick weaves and any installation using glue is also not ideal because weave/bonding glue will rip and dry your hair out if not done properly. Not to mention that most formulas damage hair strands and follicles and can even be hazardous to your health.
A full sew in–with wefts and a closure*–where your hair is completely braided and tucked away underneath is your best bet. You can even grab a wig* and sew it down around the perimeter if that’s what works best for you.
The Foundation and Braid Pattern
How you braid and sew in your hair is important because it determines two things: how long your installation will stay fresh, and the health of your hair while it is weaved.
Your whole foundation will fall apart if your braids are too loose, but a whole host of problems will come if your braids are too tight. Traction alopecia, breakage, split ends, scalp swelling, and headaches are all caused by braids being too tight.
Likewise, loose and tight sewing will have the same effects. You’ll know that your hair is tight enough when you feel that it is sturdy and snug, but not causing intense itching, burning, headaches, or a pulling sensation on your hair.