Braid Cleanser Hacks: 5 Frizz-Free Tips For Washing Braids

Protective styles, whether you are fully natural or not, are integral to maintaining the overall health of your hair. From twists to braids to weaves, these chic styles protect your curls and coils from heat styling, breakage, and environmental damage while contributing to moisture and length retention. Oh, and they look pretty great too. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about wearing protective styles however, is that you can just set it and forget it. While putting your curls into braids, twists, or other protective styles will definitely require less daily upkeep, they will still need your care and attention. 

This is especially true if you’re an active person who goes swimming, works out, or engages any activity that leads to increased sweating (good for you!). Similarly, anyone with coily hair knows that even just being outdoors and exposed to excessive sunshine during the hotter summer months can also contribute to sweaty strands and a drier scalp.  

We love braided styles year round but especially during the summertime. Braids are relatively low-maintenance and are a great option for protective styling since they can last anywhere from two to eight weeks depending on the style type and your unique hair texture. 

The misconception however, is that during this time you can skip washing your strands and in doing so, preserve your style and help lengthen the time in-between wash day. Unfortunately, skipping braid cleanser, braid spray, scalp cleanser for braids, and more important maintenance steps can lead to irritation and build-up that causes flakes, dryness, frizz, and the dreaded itchy scalp. 

We know you might still be a little skeptical (because why should you have to do more maintenance than you absolutely have to?) so read on to learn why washing braids is important to maintain healthy, hydrated, and happy curls. Plus, get five expert-approved tips and tricks for how to easily wash your braids the right way.

Why Should I Use a Braid Cleanser?

The fear of frizz, breakage, or ruining the protective style that took forever to get just right is what usually stops us from washing our braids. Also hey, sometimes we just get lazy. But it’s a necessary step to ensure tighter textures and curls are effectively protected, healthy, and looking fly now and in the future. 

Keeping your hair in a braided style without properly cleansing can lead to a multitude of ongoing hair and scalp issues. The biggest problem? The dreaded dry scalp. 

Not thoroughly  cleansing your scalp allows build-up to accumulate on your scalp. Think: sweat, pollution, dirt, hair products, grease, flakes, and other gross stuff. 

This build-up essentially blocks the hair follicles from natural growth. Similarly, it causes severe itchiness, redness, and dryness. A healthy scalp is important on it’s own, but don’t forget that a healthy scalp is also the key to healthy curls.

Pro Tips For Washing Braids

While proactive styles like braids are relatively low-maintenance they still need proper upkeep. When considering the best ways to care for your protective braids, remember that your hair is unique. 

Some textures may be able to go longer between cleansing their curls or some may experience more scalp irritation than others. Find out what care routine is best for your hair type, keeping in mind that 4b and 4c hair types tend to need less washing but typically have drier scalps.

Use a Scalp Cleanser for Braids

Reaching for your favorite hydrating shampoo might be second nature, but when it comes to washing braids it’s important to update your normal wash day routine. Braids are delicate and it’s important to further avoid anything that could lead to weakening the hair shaft. Also, you don’t want to get your hair soaking wet. 

Instead, reach for a braid-specialized formula like our gentle Braid & Scalp Cleansing Rinse. The fine nozzle tip will allow you to easily apply the rinse to edges, scalp, and part-lines. Our pro tip? Apply the rinse formula to a cloth and gently massage into the scalp for at least a minute.  

braid and scalp cleansing rinse

Once you’ve successfully shampooed (and given yourself a nice little massage) rinse gently with cool water. Your scalp will immediately feel clean, soothed, and refreshed.

Never Rub Braids

The most important thing to remember when washing any protective style is to focus primarily on the scalp. This is where all the buildup is collected so be sure to concentrate on cleansing this area the most. 

However, if you want to give your braids a quick rinse, focus mainly on the tops of braids. Using a very gentle touch, dilute braid cleanser with water and softly squeeze into braids. Never rub! Rubbing braids is what leads to frizz and potential breakage.

Don’t Skip Conditioner

Yes, even with braids you still have to use a conditioner. However, the method you’ll use to condition braids will be very different from how you’d normally do it on wash day.

Because we want to be as gentle as possible (and avoid overly-touching or getting braids too wet) there are a few different ways you can approach conditioning your braids. 

African pride honey chocolate and coconut oil conditioner

You can repeat a similar method to how you cleansed your hair, focusing mainly on the scalp and gently massaging into hair and squeezing into individual braids. Another effective method is diluting a nourishing conditioner with water and putting in a spray bottle to lightly spritz hair before a quick rinse. 

Dry Hair Safely

This is the step that takes the most patience as wet braids can take a full day to properly dry. Styling braids that aren’t completely dry can lead to some pretty gross consequences like mildew, fungus, dandruff, scalp irritation, and more unpleasant issues. 

To ensure you avoid these potential issues get ready to practice patience since taking shortcuts will only make things worse. Never, ever blow dry your braids. This will lead to untamable frizz and flyaways. 

Not to mention that excessive heat use on textured hair, whether in a protective style or not, makes it more susceptible to damage and breakage.  Instead, air-dry or gently squeeze hair into a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt to soak up any excess moisture. Wait until the next day to pull braids up into any style.

Moisturize Braids Daily

Now that your braids are clean, fresh, and dry, it’s easy to accidentally neglect them until the next wash session. Caring for your braided hairstyles in-between washes however, ensures that your strands stay hydrated, healthy, while also helps to eliminate itchy, dry scalps. 

For hydrated, frizz-free hair, use a daily Hair And Scalp Sealing Oil. The easy-to-use nozzle makes it a breeze to apply. Simply massage into the scalp, around edges, and gently onto braids. 

Sheen Spray

Crafted with Black Castor Oil, tea tree oil and more, this formula helps to soothe itchy, dry scalps while conditioning hair and helping to lock in moisture. Similarly, using a daily braid sheen spray will help add luster while helping to relieve itchiness and the stress of tight braid pulling.

Knowing exactly when to wash your braids can be slightly difficult. It can be tempting to leave protected styles in for a long time and become a little lax on upkeep but the most important step you can take in caring for your braided style is to pay attention to your scalp.

Your scalp will tell you when it’s time to wash your braids. If you notice increased dryness, flakes, or itchiness for instance, this is a major sign that it’s time to give your protective style a rinse. Just remember to use a gentle touch. Happy washing!