Having braids is not an excuse not to take care of your hair underneath. These four simple steps will ensure your scalp and hair remain clean while wearing braids.

Step 1: Shampooing 

Start by rinsing your braids to remove any residue dust or dirt. Then part the braids into four sections and apply shampoo onto each section to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Darling hair stylist Emelang Moyo recommends using a hydrating shampoo and lukewarm water once every two weeks.  “A hydrating shampoo doesn’t only cleanse the hair and scalp, but is gentle and won’t leave your hair and scalp feeling coarse and dry,” she says.

Try: Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo

Use your fingers, not your nails, to work the shampoo into a lather and gently massage the scalp, focusing on any itchy areas and the length of the braids. Rinse and repeat the process.

READ MORE: Products to use when wearing a protective style

Step 2: Conditioning

After cleansing the hair, apply conditioner onto your palms and rub your hands together before applying it. Conditioner restores moisture levels and makes the hair softer, as well as improving its elasticity to make it stronger.

“Coat your braids with conditioner, then gently squeeze along their length to make sure the conditioner penetrates completely,” says Mummy Mthembu-Fawkes, founder of Earthy.

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 Earthy Healthy Hair Conditioner 

Step 3: Drying 

We recommend that you use a 100%-cotton T-shirt to dry your hair or braids, as it prevents frizz. Towels are extremely absorbent and will remove more moisture than necessary. Gently squeeze each section of the braids and then leave them to air dry.

READ MORE: 8 things I wish I’d known before going natural

Step 4: Moisturise 

After the cleansing and conditioning process, moisturise the roots and length of the braids with an oil and butter. We also recommend applying a product like Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Gro Balm, specifically around the hairline area to ensure you don’t experience hairline loss when undoing your braids.

Try: Native Child Whipped Shea Butter Cream