I know oh too well the feeling that comes over us ladies when our braids get dirty and our scalps get itchy and the feeling gets too much to bear that you just want to run into the shower and soak your head away with whatever shampoo and conditioner you can find within hands reach. I mean you could use that as a method but that is not the one I’ll be focusing on in this article.
Since going natural in 2014 I have worn a variety of protective hairstyles inclusive of box braids, Senegalese twists, crochet braids and the like in an attempt to take the best care of my hair. While wearing these styles I found that one of the main goals when washing my box braids etc was minimizing on frizziness. Other goals of mine included making certain my scalp was clean and itch free!
In the beginning, I used the method mentioned above just a bit more refined. If you wish to use the ‘jump in the shower’ method I would advise you to dilute your shampoo with water and apply it to your scalp using an applicator bottle. This would allow the shampoo to be concentrated on your scalp. Use the pads of your fingers only and gently rub your scalp to remove the dirt. When you rinse the remaining suds will clean your braids.
Next, apply a healthy dollop of conditioner to your scalp repeating the process of rubbing gently and rinsing so your braids get the remainder of the product. Keeping the conditioner on your hair for 15- 20 mins is optional but could prove beneficial in putting much-needed moisture into your hair. Dry your hair thoroughly with a diffuser or with a shirt so as to absorb the excess water without snagging your hair (and making it fuzzy!). Afterwards just moisturize with oils or a leave-in conditioner and use tea tree oil to prevent itching. With that, you should be good to go!
I, however, do not use this method anymore and if you’re like me and do not appreciate how heavy the braids get when wet and or find the drying time to be tedious and far too long then my current method is for you! A year and a half ago I came across a video by “aquariouschic” on YouTube entitled “How I Maintain a Clean Scalp With Braids or Twists with Apple Cider Vinegar” and since then I have never looked back!
This simple method with a few extra tidbits entails the use of cotton wool balls, apple cider vinegar, water, a bowl, peppermint oil, tea tree oil and a moisturizing product or hairspray of your choice.
Firstly grab your bowl and start to prepare your ACV rinse mixture by putting two parts water to one part ACV in the bowl. I usually put in a few drops of tea tree oil as well to make certain that my itching definitely stops! I then would take my cotton balls and soak them in the mixture, squeezing out the excess liquid and rubbing it gently between the parts of my braids onto the scalp.
The ACV rinse is great for removing the buildup of product on the scalp and you will see the product buildup come off onto the cotton balls. Change the cotton balls as they get overly dirty and continue until you have completed your entire scalp. I usually let the ACV rinse dry in but if you prefer to rinse it out I would again advise the use of cotton balls soaked in water to prevent the drenching of your braids.
All in all, the only downside I have found with this method is the smell of the ACV rinse but truthfully it doesn’t last for more than a day for me and I have found that using peppermint oil mixed with water on the scalp reduces the scent and helps to stimulate growth of the hair at the same time…one stone, two birds!
After the scalp has dried I usually take a mixture of my favourite oils or moisturizing products and apply it lightly to the scalp and hair. Lastly, in my day-to-day hair care routine I finish off by using the Organic Root Stimulator-Olive Oil Nourishing Sheen Spray to give the braids a nice healthy sheen and to further moisturize my hair inside the braids.
This method helps me to accomplish all of my hair washing goals as it cleans my scalp well, stops itching, minimizes on hair wetness and drying time and minimizes on hair frizziness so as to ensure I can wear my braids for much longer!
By curls understood