Having hair extensions is not an excuse to neglect washing your hair; the hair underneath still needs to be taken care of. Washing your braids ensures that the scalp remains clean, and prevents you from constantly having to scratch your scalp or pat your head.

You should typically wash your braids about three weeks after putting them in.

Step 1: Cleanse

Start by rinsing your braids. Part braids into four sections, pour a bit of shampoo onto the palm of your hand and apply it to each sections. This helps ensure you haven’t missed any part of the head. We recommend Moroccan Oil Clarifying Shampoo, (available from selected salons) as it deeply cleanses the hair, removing any build-up and impurities.

Use your fingers, not your nails, to work the shampoo into a lather and gently massage the scalp, focusing on any itchy areas. Rinse and repeat the process. This is another important step as the first shampoo removes dirt and oils, while the second allows the ingredients in the shampoo to penetrate the hair shaft.

TIP: Don’t worry about foaming. A common misconception is that the more a shampoo lathers, the better it cleans. Non-foaming shampoos work just as well as those that create a huge cloud of foam.

Step 2:  Condition

After washing, apply a small amount of conditioner onto the palms of your hands and rub your hands together.

Coat the entire the braid with conditioner, then gently squeeze the length of the braids to make sure the conditioner penetrates completely.

Focus on the full length of the braids, but don’t forget to cover the roots as well.

Finally, rinse out all the conditioner. We love Organics Conditioner for Dry & Damaged Hair, available at Clicks and most supermarkets.

Step 3: Styling

When it comes to drying your braids, use a 100%-cotton T-shirt (any old one will do) to help prevent frizz. Towels are extremely absorbent and will remove more moisture than necessary, although you can use a towel on the ends of the braids because they are made of synthetic fibres.

Step 4: Moisturise

Once your braids are relatively dry, use a braid spray such as the Sta-Sof-Fro Hi Sheen Braid Spray, (available from Clicks and Checkers) on the scalp and length of the braids. Then apply an oil to the scalp, hairline and the length of the hair to seal in the moisture from the braid spray. The Earthy Healthy Hair Oil, from www.earth.co.za contains grapeseed, argan, jojoba and arnica oils, all of which are vital for promoting growth.

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1. Moroccan Oil Clarifying Shampoo

2. Organics Conditioner for Dry & Damaged Hair

3. Sta-Sof-Fro Hi Sheen Braid Spray

4. Earthy Healthy Hair Oil

Sources: Earthy, African Hair Blog