For the weave and wig lovers among us, braids are like the poor relation that you don’t visit very often. I get it. Braids can be an awesome protective style and they can be aesthetically appealing as well, but they are not everyone’s cup of tea.
This might be because individual braids can take quite a lot of time to install. In addition, because of the time and skill involved in installing them, they cost a pretty penny too.
I love braids and have used them extensively in my hair journey as they are a very effective protective style. They look great and are ultra-easy to care for and with the advent of ready-done crochet braids, it means that installation time can be cut drastically, usually to around 2 hours!
If you have no aversions to braids and wish to make them part of your regimen then you are in the right place because I would like to clarify a few things about using braids as a long-term protective style.
We will be looking at the best braid size for maximum length retention and I would also like to look at other braiding techniques which are equally important to the health of your hair. If you have fine hair, this video should be extremely beneficial for you, since fine hair tends to get slaughtered by braiding mistakes that will be addressed here.
If you want to start wearing braids as a long-term protective style, here are some things you must consider to keep your hair in great shape both during the install and after the take-down.
1. Braid Sizes
They are very popular with braid wearers because they look beautiful and depending on how they are installed, they can also resemble loose hair. BUT they are also the most stressful braid size to your hair follicles and they typically take the longest time to install. Sometimes up to 8 hours!
Some people have found success with micro braids but many more have found themselves with traction alopecia and excessive breakage. To install them, your sections have to be very small, exposing more of your strands to manipulation that comes from parting, combing, and gripping the hair during the braiding process.
In some instances the length and the volume of hair added to each section can be heavy and pull on the follicles, resulting in stress which inadvertently leads to hair loss. This happens because so few strands are in each section that they can’t handle the pressure of the added hair or manipulation. Result? Massive breakage that may only be evident upon takedown.
Davida Tuten says
Mary Chege says
the pencil size is also not good, according to me because, they are the reason for my thinning edges, if I was to have braids on, I would go for the chunky braids and make sure to tell my stylist to braid more of my hair with the extension, kinda like Beyonce’s box braids 🙂
Yvette Martin says
The key is the START THE BRAID LARGE, THEN, braid the rest of the hair that is NOT attached at the scalp small(er), to your liking.
Olive Skovski says
Pencil size braids are safe enough..just tell your stylist not to grip the front hairline too tight to avoid thining…my cent..
Naomi Summage says
I do mini braids on my own natural hair. I can trust myself not to ruin my edges or hair
Courtney Fluellen says
As a liscensed cosmetologist & also having thin edges…..I’ve found that despite the type of braid u get, you have to style them with minimum to no tension. So this means buns ect. Best results are to wear them hanging majority of the time! And not pulled up
Chante Morris says
Or bigger parts around the edges…or leave the shorter thinner edges out…….
Staci Cook says
Tension is everything. The lighter the braid is in weight the less likely it is to weight the hair out of the head. More important than this is what I call the Hair to Hair Ratio. We must section greater amounts of our hair to be braided than the added amount to ensure the extension doesn’t over power and weight the real hair out. I braid micro size all the time and clients report Zero hair loss. Because my braids are both painless and have a good hair to hair ratio through out.
Staci Cook says
I teach hair braiding for a living and find it amazing how uneducated most black people are about one of our oldest hair practices.
Carmen Judeh says
Wish I was near, so I can learn.. my granddaughters hair is mixed, soft, curly, and dried… my son has a friend that braids her hair like every 4 days cause it won’t stay in…
Missthickthang Thickthang says
I would love to be in that class were are you located
Danielle So Blessed Footman says
When is your next class
Staci Cook says
Hair braiding is God’s gift to black hair even the time consuming aspect. There’s no other opportunity like it. When will you ever just sit and think or connect with another sister for 8 plus hours? Never. Hair braiding is our time out to regroup and reconnect. However very few people see it this way. Our impatience with our hair is why it’s in the condition it’s in. Much like fast food, quick isn’t the approach to black hair. Believe it or not. That’s why is so great when styles have a great return on investment such as lasting a few months.
i can rock the the pen sized ones, but the chunky ones i cant. the bulkiness of the braids when i lay down cause me to have headaches. not from them pulling on my hair, but from the size of them and the pain when i lay down. i cant even do big twists on my natural hair because of the pain. i think its mostly because of my fibromyalgia, either way, im going to stick with the pen size.
Dalis Sailor says
I’m trying to get some now! I didn’t believe you until I tried them lol
Maya Dennies says
The chunky one weighs my hair down an pulls my edges out.
Robin Cabell Lapsley says
Remiah BaddnBossy Makel says
Micro braids are the worst,( If the africans do it,) they braid bits of hair ( to damn tight! n the glue for micro minis damages hair..n when they r taken out…UR HAIR COMES OUT with the fake hair. When i do my own hair/ micros, my hair never came out..I WILL NEVER LET ANOTHER AFRICAN do my hair….I GOT THIS..
Jazman Nicole says
Looks to me as if it just depends on you and what YOUR hair likes.
Wednesday Wagner says
I will never let another African do micros on my hair EVER AGAIN… big, big mistake!!
Chimere Chi-miracles Williams says
The best to ensure your hair will not come out with any braid or size is to PREP ur natural hair by using a light, non greasy mosturizer,deep condition ,or simply do a co-wash. After that, safely DETANGLE and safely blowout to stretch the hair for better manage. Also, whenever gettin weave style it is highly important to take care of what under there.! Dryness leads to breakage so moisturizing is the key. Fresh braids, u shld already kno to at least wait a week before major style . After that week is gone u can wear as many buns and ponytails as u like but still keep the tension down a lil. I am a master cosmetologist, i am fully knowledged with this
Penny McPherson says
Whatever the size it shouldn’t pull so right that it strains the hair roots.
Elvenlen BriteEyez Harvey says
My hair is VERY soft and a Lil thin but I’ve seen worse…whatever style I’ve gotten, sew-in, kinky twist, braids, updo or whatever my hair comes out in big wads even after being up only two weeks….I’ve been told, “everyone hair sheds after being up for a while”, although i think its not shedding as much just coming out, but i don’t like seeing it come out like that, so im just going to leave my hair alone…i don’t know what to do!
Randi Gary says
Nah. i did micro twists and while i was sleeping..or slanging my.backpack over my shoulder… i pulled out a twist or two…too nervous to attempt that w/braids…i like my edges
Dree Shivon says
I wud never go micro. .#luvmyedges
Miko HairCare says
A lot of braiders are self taught & aren’t licensed professionals. Braiding is a skill that isn’t even taught thoroughly in cosmetology school, it’s barely a part of the curriculum which is why I think we have so many issues with people losing their hair. Braiding isn’t even a part of the licensing test smh.. however, one thing I’ve learned through experience is that tension plays a huge role in hairloss. Also, the density of the section to be braided vs. the density of the extension hair is key. A really small section of natural hair with a big, heavy, dense amount of extension hair added to it is a bad idea.. the weight of that hair alone pulling on delicate areas can cause problems, even with minimal manipulation. Less really is more..
Tatianna Staples says
Question: So if this is true about braids then what about weaves ?
Rad Dot says
What about “Micro-Twist” ?
Davina Anthony says
Frankye Campbell says
Very Good Information!!!
Melanie Rucker says
The bottomline is if your hair was weak from the roots before the braids, it will be the same after them. Never had a issue with edges coming out and I stay in my hair, pulling, braiding, twisting for years. But I take care of my hair and scalp so it doesn’t easily break. Inside and Out
Renicka G-west Scott says
O no I jus installed mini braids (no weave added) for length retention. They aren’t tight and plan on keepn them n 4 weeks!! I’m a lil under APL. I’m down with moisture, I washed and DCd before I put them in. I hope my hair doesn’t fall out
Maria Hart says
Sistas, stop committing crimes against your edges. Lol!
LaToya Frasier says
Sherri Williams says
Are any of the cosmetologist in the Birmingham Alabama area?
Poterressia Barnes says
Renicka, your hair will be fine! Just make sure u take them out gently! This post is mostly for people with micro braids or other small braids.
Kimberly Champion says
iv been wearing pensized extentions for almost 6 yrs now and u have to wear them hanging free or loose bun and dont get them too tight. this is why i taught myself to do them bc the braiding shops always did them way too tight despite me directing them not to
Rasheeda Williams says
Did anybody notice that it says pen size but showing a pencil…lol
Alexis VincentmartinWife Flowers says
I like tha Pen Size & the Chunky
I would like to know if I should rinse my yaki hair in vinegar and water before I braid my hair.
Phoenix McGee says
That is actually brilliant. I learned something valuable.
Theresa Marie Bryant says
But still make sure they’re not too tight because my first set of professionally done box braids where medium (pen) size but my edges still thinned out a lot after I took them out
Shaketta Shannel Singleton says
It’s not about the size of the braid it’s about the size of the section of your own hair that is taken to attach the braiding hair to.
Most brides take large sections in the back, middle, and sides and do tiny sections in the front the small sections of hair are too weak to hold the weight and as it grows out it becomes even weaker.
Additionally you don’t want them too tight either because that is why so many black women have traction alopecia (missing edges).
Latoya Aaliyah Small says
I’ve been doing my own hair for 5 years natural for 4 I’m mid back length and my first 2 years I wore strictly box braids taught myself and never did micro always pen size and this is very accurate it really did help me a lot.
Should I get braids if I have alopecia areata?
Brenda Kincade says
Good Job, Thanks for your tip.