A summary on popular hair braiding styles

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Hair Braiding
Hair Braiding styles have been used by women for ages to style their hair. It can be of different styles ranging from school girl single braiding to the complex micro braid hairstyles. They are the most popular hair styles for long hair. Other than making a fashion statement, it keeps the wearer cool during warm summers.

Some hair braiding styles can be time consuming but they wear well and last for days if treated properly. On an average, general braiding of hair takes a few minutes but some complex styles can take 2-3 hours. The most common hair braiding approaches are:
  • Normal hair braiding
  • Micro hair braiding
Normal hair braiding styles
Normal hair braiding can be done on clean, washed hair to get a smooth hair surface and avoid flyway hair blow-dry it is best done after cleansing. Then braiding is done after dividing the hair into three sections and it is continued till the desired length of hair. It is recommended to maintain equal tightness among the three sections of hair. Imbalance in the tightness of the three hair sections can twist the braid. The twisting of the braid will make it difficult to lie flat.

The braided hairstyle can be incorporated into buns, chignons or left loose. Also dress it up with flowers, jewels ribbons, beads, pearls and colored string. Besides the normal 3 section braiding, it is also possible to make a braiding hair style using 5 sections of the hair for making the braid.

Micro hair braiding
Micro hair braiding is the modern trend in the braiding hair styles. Though this hair style has a universal popularity it is largely taken up mainly by African-American women.

Micro hair braiding, or black hair braiding in African hair, is done mainly by attaching hair fibers or hair weaving. But it is generally seen that average African hair is weak and brittle, If the texture of hair is weak it is recommended not to practice micro-braiding which may cause severe hair breakage. Also African hair needs to take extra care after the completion of braiding hair.
The most safe form of black hair braiding

Cornrows are one of the healthiest of all micro braiding styles particularly for black hair braiding. They lay flat against the scalp. The additional hair that makes cornrows in black African-American hair should be approximately 5 cm in length while it can be about 7 to 8 cm for straight hair. If proper maintenance is taken, cornrows can last for about four to six weeks.

Hair care after micro braiding

Micro braided hair or black hair braiding doesn't require daily combing and tyeing but needs extra care and nourishment. Avoid using heavy and thick shampoos, conditioners, and pomades on the braids. It is best to use oil to moisturize the hair. (Read about the effective cleansing and conditioning system in detail).

Also, after hair braiding it is best to use a cotton cloth, or scarf to cover and protect the braids. Cotton cloth is the best as it absorbs any excess oil in the hair and allows it to breathe.

Harmful effects of micro hair braiding

Hair braiding styles can induce hair breakage but with appropriate skill and technique, complications can be minimized. Very tight braiding of hair can cause traction alopecia and folliculitis in the scalp. Also if the braided hair is kept for a longer period it can form dreadlocks or result in hair matting.

Braiding, especially micro braiding or black hair braiding, can offer significant benefits for hair that has been damaged by chemical relaxers or pressing. They can make the hair appear voluminous. To have a healthy hair braiding it is necessary to take a healthy diet and keep the scalp clean and well conditioned.
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