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View Full Version : Please Help- Caring for Jamaican Braids



prismatic
March 8th, 2015, 03:49 PM
My in-laws recently took my daughter on a cruise, & she had Jamaican braids put in at one of the stops. Imagine my shock when she comes home- her lovely, fine & straight, strawberry-kissed blonde hair is now bound up in 57 little beaded braids! I love it, she loves it, & it's ~adorable~, but I have NO IDEA about how to care for this style. Her hair tends to tangle easily, & like mine, is prone to damage- so I'm concerned about keeping it healthy through this.


*Is this hairstyle possibly going to cause damage/hair loss?
She has not complained of it hurting one bit, and she would if it did- so I'm sure it's not tugging on her scalp. The braids are so small & tight though, I wonder if they will cause breakage if kept in too long.


*How are the braids supposed to be washed?
Do they need shampoo, or will a simple water-only rinse be fine?


*How long can we expect to keep them in?
The stylist said two weeks, but I would like to hear from others with similar experience. If she can safely keep them longer, that's fine with me.


*What is the best way to release them?
Should it be done dry, or water misted, or oiled to keep the waves from tangling?


*How should the hair be cared for when they do come out?
Any recommendations?

Any help/suggestions with this will be appreciated! <3

Hairkay
March 8th, 2015, 04:00 PM
Hi,

with hair like hers it may be best to leave the washing until you take out the braids. That's the way it can last the two weeks. If you wash the hair in the braids it'll last just a few days. There's dry shampoo solutions if the hair really needs to be cleaned before the two weeks is up. If it's not too tight it shouldn't cause breakage. To avoid her hair getting too dry you can mist a little water and a little oil over it every other day paying close attention to the ends of the hair. If the front starts to look a little messy she can wear a hair band there to neaten it up. The braids can be undone dry just be gentle and make sure you have the time to undo them. After undoing you can wash the hair and treat it to a deep conditioning treatment.

Kina
March 8th, 2015, 04:16 PM
she should sleep in form of a headwrap to keep the braids from fraying and looking messy

gthlvrmx
March 8th, 2015, 05:26 PM
OK first, are they cornrows or individual braids? Cornrows are like smaller dutch braids attached to the scalp and individual braids are loose braids. Some people get a mix of both sometimes. If the braids cause any sign of discomfort, remove them. Braids SHOULD NOT hurt or give discomfort when done right. If there is itching, take them out. It is not worth getting a bloody scalp from scratching the scalp.
*Is this hairstyle possibly going to cause damage/hair loss?
She has not complained of it hurting one bit, and she would if it did- so I'm sure it's not tugging on her scalp. The braids are so small & tight though, I wonder if they will cause breakage if kept in too long.
It is very good that she has not complained of it hurting yet. The thing with cornrows and individual braids is that they sometimes are made too tight. Sometimes the added fake hair adds too much weight on your natural hair and that causes hair loss. Cornrows sometimes do cause a certain kind of hair loss if it is too tight. Also, your hair might feel drier since you can't get the conditioner or oils straight into the hair. Plus, the rubbing on the fake hair (IF fake hair was added) might cause damage. It did cause damage to me when I got individual braids. Breakage may occur because of how the hair is being stretched in the braid if it is too tight and if your hair get's too dry.

*How are the braids supposed to be washed?
Do they need shampoo, or will a simple water-only rinse be fine?
I think it is advised not to use conditioner because it will make the hair more slippery and cause some braids to come out, but I honestly think your hair needs more moisture when it is in braids! You can wash it how you normally wash it and it will be fine. If she has oily hair, it will make the braids come undone a little faster.

*How long can we expect to keep them in?
The stylist said two weeks, but I would like to hear from others with similar experience. If she can safely keep them longer, that's fine with me.
I would advise that you keep them in for about a few days or a week. 2 weeks is already stretching it. My only concern would be how tight it is, which can cause hair loss, especially from when you sleep and your hair is being pulled. I kept my individual braids in for 2 weeks but I couldn't stand it anymore. I got blood from the intense itching my braids gave me and I lost A LOT of hair as well. The braids were not even that tight but I went from a iii to a ii thickness or even a i real fast. I would not recommend leaving your braids in very long. 2 weeks is already quite some time for braids. I've heard of people who left their braids in for a month or even 3 months, but that is a little much for your hair and scalp.

*What is the best way to release them?
Should it be done dry, or water misted, or oiled to keep the waves from tangling?
You mean undo them? Go one by one and try not to rush it. It'd be best to take all the time you need to avoid tangles. Start from the ends of the braids and work your way up. Slide your fingers through every stitch (so where the hair strand crosses over the other hair strand to make the braid) to undo them. You can separate the hair in sections while you take them out. This could take at least 1 hour or longer to undo them all. It took me 2-4 hours to get my braids out. Be careful while removing the shed hair that comes out of the braids. All the hair that you shed will stay in the braid until you undo it. Most of it will come out as you are washing it. You can try adding conditioner to make it more slippery. You might notice a lot of crusty white stuff where the scalp meets the braid. This is normal. All the sweat and sebum that was produced during the time the braids were in couldn't travel down the hair, so they got "stuck" behind the braid and stayed near the scalp.

*How should the hair be cared for when they do come out?
Any recommendations?
Give the hair A LOT of moisture! Try an SMT or just grab some fresh aloe vera or raw honey and apply it when the conditions are right to get moisture into the hair. Damp oil it (which means, oil the hair after you wash it when it is damp or wet). Maybe try a CO wash. Do some sort of deep treatment so that the hair can feel better after not getting enough oils from scalp. Since the braids were in the way from the sebum and oils traveling down, the hair might be a bit dry. Try to get as much moisture as possible into the hair to avoid that frizzy look.

I hope her hair does not get ruined! I had a disaster with my braids and I would never recommend anyone to get them. I got hair loss from it and it's been since 2011 when I had them and my hair still isn't growing back the same. It's not the same thickness as it used to be. I'm not balding, but my hair just never grew back in where it got pulled out. I'm still waiting for some of it to grow back out but we will see what happens. If there is any sign of discomfort, take out the braids.

butter52
March 8th, 2015, 05:37 PM
I had them done when I was a teen and unfortunately I dont remember much.

I think I had them for more than a month (If one or 2 got messy I would rebraid it I think) and defenetely washed them every other day with shampoo, but I dont remember how, I gess just gently. Also my hair is wurly so it keeps well in braids.

To take them out I cut the little rubbers and let the water open them. Now I do remember FREAKING OUT with all the hair that I shed, but it actually was the usual shedding for more than a month in there.

chen bao jun
March 8th, 2015, 06:22 PM
Honestly, I'd take a photo for the memories and take them right out. follow gthlvrmx 's detailed instructions for this. The point of a yarn needle may be helpful in undoing them (a metal one) and perhaps some sort of detangling spray. Do go very very very slow.

I would not leave them in for two weeks, nor would I try to wash the hair with braids and beads in it, especially not fine hair.

I had them done 30 years ago ONCE and I did not get serious hair damage from them but they are not a happy memory. Cute, yes. Detangling hell and yes, I did lose hair, that is, there was quite a bit of breakage, nothing permanent but why get breakage if you don't have to?

The photos are great, though. My son was admiring one the other day.

truepeacenik
March 8th, 2015, 09:19 PM
I didn't get them as the braider panicked when she was my length. Ha.
But, a buddy did, and we had to take out baby dreads two weeks later.
So keep an eye on the roots as long as she keeps them.

We soaked her hair in conditioner to remove the braids and knots.

endlessly
March 8th, 2015, 10:16 PM
I haven't personally gotten them done - never been on a vacation to have them put it! - but I've heard from others that have. So far, after reading through other comments, you've gotten a lot of really helpful information, so definitely keep their ideas in mind. That being said, with fine hair that is easily tangled, I would strongly recommend removing them sooner rather than later in order to prevent as much damage as possible. With 57 tiny braids, it's going to take a very, very long time to remove properly to avoid causing her pain. For tangle-prone hair, it always tends to work best to undo the braids when the hair is dry since it has a tendency to stick when wet. I know it was mentioned to use a metal yarn needle and that would be very beneficial to avoid tiny knots and tangles in the individual strands. Also, keep a detangling spray on hand just to be on the safe side to avoid causing any breakage.

Best of luck and hopefully everything works out well for you and your daughter!

Colochita
March 8th, 2015, 10:45 PM
I agree with Chen.

I'd take a photo and take them out. They can be trouble if you're not careful.

lapushka
March 9th, 2015, 05:10 PM
I know it was mentioned to use a metal yarn needle and that would be very beneficial to avoid tiny knots and tangles in the individual strands. Also, keep a detangling spray on hand just to be on the safe side to avoid causing any breakage.

I think maybe a rattail comb would be better in getting them out (the metal rattail comb ones). If a yarn needle is not an option.

dellad
March 9th, 2015, 05:32 PM
Please don't freak out when you read what I'm about to write. My hair is very fine and fragile and I did not have any knowledge of how to take care of or remove mini-braids. Your daughter probably will not have as bad of an experience as I did.

I got them done when my hair was about APL. I took them out after only a few days. I tried to be as gentle as I could with detangling, but still ended up with an entire head of breakage and splits. My hair felt much rougher to the touch than it was before I had the braids. It wasn't just the tips that felt rough, it was my entire head from root to tip. I tried to rescue it with deep conditioners, but after about a month, I was so frustrated and upset with my hair that I shaved my head.

Again, your daughter probably will not suffer through a similar experience. I was clueless about how to handle those braids and clearly I did something horribly wrong. Just be super careful when you're taking the braids out and heed the advice of the people who posted above.

lacefrost
March 9th, 2015, 06:10 PM
Honestly I wouldn't be super concerned. I wouldn't leave it in for 2 weeks with her hair type. Maybe a couple days to a week. Or if you're freaked, just take a picture and take them out.

From my experience and those around me, the difference between having damage and not having damage is ALL in the take down. Clip some hair out of the way, add some olive oil to your hands and undo them one by one, from the ends up. Take your time! If you get frustrated STOP and come back to it.

meteor
March 9th, 2015, 10:33 PM
Wow, I'm glad I stumbled on this thread, because I had NO idea mini-braids could be this damaging... :bigeyes: I actually thought they must be an excellent protective style and only unraveling those braids could be problematic (lots of detangling sprays, cones and oils and even more patience, patience, patience).
I tend to use lots of tiny accent braids, and, after reading all this, I don't know, maybe I should reconsider... :(

chen bao jun
March 10th, 2015, 12:11 AM
Its in the Jamaican/AfricanAmerican/African heritage culture to make the little braids or cornrows SO tight in a lot of cases(the idea being that then they won't get untidy looking fast) that you can see the scalp pulled upwards where the hair is braided. Do this over and over again and you not only get bald patches but you get permanent baldness where the hair will not grow back, like ever. I really put these braids into the big three reasons why so many black women are bald, balding or have very short damaged broken off hair with nothing at the edges. Heat, chemicals and teeny little braids pulled much too tight that can't be unravelled without ripping your hair off, literally. Of course adding lots of heavy fake hair onto the ends of the little braids makes it worse, as the weight then drags your hair out at the root, but the braids in themselves can be damaging without the weave attached.

Of course it is possible to do all of these things and keep some hair, if you have patience and knowledge and everybody can point to the one black woman they know with a perm who has long, healthy hair anyway, or the one who grew hair down to her butt with her box braids or corn rows. But its not the general experience with these hairstyles and yeah, even one experience with them if you don't have ANY knowledge (which I didn't) can lead to a lot of hair loss, better safe than sorry.

Even more than my own very mild experience though, my mom had a habit of going to the hairdressers for braids, and it was a miracle that we got the bald patches to fill in with castor oil, like a lot of people, she went from braids to a wig to try to hide the horrible hair loss. I have a sister in law who looks like she has pattern baldness after years of tight braiding. the braided hair styles look awfully cute and then people do these patterns and designs that look like works of art. But the hairloss is not cute at all, and its so endemic now that people are literally like, black, check, hypercurly hair, check, bald, well, of course--and its just not supposed to be that way.

JMHO, no offense meant.

Hairkay
March 10th, 2015, 06:56 AM
It all depends on how it's done and who does the braids. Ideally it shouldn't be done so tight to pull up hair. I grew up seeing some people using braids all the time. Most didn't add extensions. Some did it too tight and some didn't. Those that did it too tight also would pull their pony tails too tight that you could see scalps buckling under the pressure. My own mother plaits hair so loose that it unravels on it own. She didn't even like putting those tight elastic hair ornaments on our hair. Occasionally she used to do our hair in a bell cornrow hairstyle or a semi-bell. Once we even got beads put on the ends. It would last a week or two. She wouldn't do it too tiny either. Family took their time taking them out too so no breakage problems even with my younger sister who's hair was the finest of us all.

My older sister can do lots of wonderful braid and cornrow hairstyles but we don't let her do our hair because she's adopted the too tight habits. She once studied to be a hairdresser when she was around 16 and picked up those habits from the ones she knew. I let her do my hair once and I felt as if my eyebrows were going to come up with my scalp. I had to take it all out. Never again with her.

I must be fortunate because I have personally never known anyone to abuse hairstyles so badly to end up balding.

I use braids/plaits a lot. I tend to do them in boxes around at least 2-4 inches wide. I also don't do them tightly and by the end of the week the ends are unravelling which makes it easy for me to undo them without getting knots.

allierat
March 10th, 2015, 07:35 AM
Wow, I'm glad I stumbled on this thread, because I had NO idea mini-braids could be this damaging... :bigeyes: I actually thought they must be an excellent protective style and only unraveling those braids could be problematic (lots of detangling sprays, cones and oils and even more patience, patience, patience).
I tend to use lots of tiny accent braids, and, after reading all this, I don't know, maybe I should reconsider... :(

I think a lot depends on the size of the braids, if you have fake hair or beads added in creating extra weight and your hair type. When I had longer hair in the past I would often braid it in the summer, my daughter used to like me doing cornrow style braids on her with ribbon accents added in, neither of us ever had any problems. Though both of us have hair that doesn't tangle too easily and isn't fine. I found the only hair I ever lost was what I would have naturally shed anyway (if you wear braids for a long length of time, they braid prevents your shed hair falling until you take it out, making it seem a lot.

jeanniet
March 10th, 2015, 06:55 PM
I had braids put in once on vacation. They weren't done too tightly, but as I recall my hair was pretty trashed afterward, because I'd been in the ocean, pool, sand, etc. That was before I was more careful, so I'm sure I just yanked out the elastics (eek) and ripped through the braids with a comb. Don't do that!