Braids are very popular amongst African American women and we personally love them here at ThirstyRoots.com. There are so many things you can do with braids such as using them for protective styling. Braiding your hair is by far the easiest and one of the most effective ways to protect your hair.
However, there are some correct and incorrect ways to rock braids. For maximum length retention and minimizing hair damage you should know more about the sizes used in braiding hair.
Pen or Pencil Sized Braids – Tensile strength is important and this particular size is the most ideal. Small enough to easily style and maneuver when washing, conditioning or coating the hair with your favorite products.
Chunky Braids – Very good for length retention but require more take downs for proper maintenance of conditioning and washing. These thick braids don’t work for everybody and look overpowering in presentation at times.
Micro Braids – We can’t forget this popular technique that use to dominate the urban streets years ago. These super small braids look good and many women love them. However, they are the most dangerous for your hairline and hair health. Micros are very stressful on your natural thirsty roots and can cause traction alopecia if worn too long or too often.
So What Is the BEST size for Braiding Hair?
Even though braids come in a variety of sized creations we have found that most African American women have more success with sizes between micro and pen braid widths.
ANSWER: Weight & Tensile Strength
This is particularly important if you are using hair extensions. When you braid a very small section of hair as in micro or mini micro braids and you attach to this section to hair extensions, you are adding stress to your follicles from the extra weight of the extensions. A larger section of hair will be able to withstand the weight of hair extensions better than a small section.
Imagine if you will how easy it is to snap a single strand of hair as compared to snapping multiple strands joined together. It’s the same concept they use when creating industrial ropes. By combining multiple strands they create stronger ropes. Braids will withstand the rigors of your daily styling routine when they are thicker rather than thinner.
To wrap things up, braids and twisting your thirsty roots is good for length retention and protective styling as long as you properly wear them. Good routine maintenance of washing, moisturizing and conditioning is mandatory. Covering them at night and avoiding tight styling options while rocking your braids is also required for maximum results. This will help you maintain 1 to 1 1/2 inches of hair growth per month.
P.S. Rotate braiding your edges if you are a frequent client of braids. This is a delicate area and it will help avoid traction alopecia or balding around your edges.