Here's How To Keep Your Braids From Frizzing

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Braids are one of the most popular protective styles that have stood the test of time. Traced back nearly 5,000 years ago and originating from African tribes, braids have evolved in countless ways over the years. Adopted by almost every culture, plaits can be worn long, shoulder-length, in updo styles, and even in a bob. The classic French braids, bohemian braids, jumbo braids, micro braids, and the single fishtail braid are just a few types out there that hold natural hair tightly together, keeping it safe from the elements. 

Sadly, regardless of the preferred technique, length, or width, frizziness is a bothersome aspect that will plague all who enjoy them. Humidity, swimming, sweat, new hair growth, and even cotton pillowcases could contribute to braids becoming frizzy. This is bound to happen whether you braid only your natural hair or use a braiding weave to add extra length and fullness. Nevertheless, there are a few ways to get this beloved style to behave.

Gently moisturize your scalp instead of washing your braids

Once your hair is neatly braided, remember to take care of your scalp. It's not always wise to fully submerge your hair in water, especially since you're trying to prevent frizziness. However, spraying your hair lightly with a water-based leave-in conditioner once a day can help reduce dryness on the scalp, which will help prolong the dreaded frizziness.

Rice Water Mist by Mielle offers a fantastic solution for scalp moisturizing. This gentle mist is lightweight, consisting of essential ingredients such as coconut and argan oil. Its key ingredient, rice water, is a crucial element that strengthens follicles, adds shine, and prevents dandruff, among other excellent hair benefits. 

Steer clear of using braid mists that include mineral oil, however. While it may aid in detangling and can decrease flyaways, mineral oil can also leave a thick buildup on the scalp that may require washing your braids immediately, which is counterproductive to your attempts to reduce frizz.

Mousse and a silk headscarf is the right combo for your braids

A quick way to reduce frizz is by using mousse. Gently lay this fluffy holding product over the frizzy parts of your braids for instant smoothing. As with similar products, try to find a brand of mousse that is alcohol-free. TRESemme Extra Hold Mousse is one promising and surprisingly cost-effective solution. Depending on your location, you can pick up a can at your local Walgreens for roughly six bucks. Even better, this alcohol-free formula is humidity-resistant and offers 24-hour frizz control. 

Another option that is a bit on the more expensive side is No Nothing Sensitive Mousse. This 100% vegan mousse works especially well for those with tender scalps. After you've spread your mousse of choice across your braids, you'll want to cover your hair with a tightly-wrapped headscarf. Make sure the wrap is well tied, applying some additional pressure to the braids to help the mousse keep those frizzies from rising. 

You can elect to sleep in the headscarf or wear it just for an hour or so — long enough for the mousse to dry. Once you remove it, your braids should appear smooth, with not a single hair out of place. Repeat this process once or twice a week for the duration of the style. If you find that sleeping in a silk wrap is too uncomfortable for you, at least try sleeping on silk or satin pillowcases to keep frizz at a minimum.

Preventative measures can stop frizz before it starts too

How your braids are done in the beginning can significantly help to stop frizziness too. Whether you use only your natural or feed-in hair, celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa suggested to Refinery29 that neat sections with few crossing strands will reduce frizz. After properly parting the hair, use a lightweight gel to prevent frizz at the root before initiating the braids. A popular option among braiders is the SoftSheen-Carson Let's Jam, Shining, and Conditioning Gel

This product is water-based and does not feature heavy greases, so even when using this on the scalp, Let's Jam doesn't leave any unwanted residue behind. ​​MyTresses salon owner Simone Cremona swears by quality gel or pomade to keep hair sleek when having braids completed. "This will ensure your hair, and any synthetic hair you are using, lay flat for an extended period," Cremona explained. 

Considering that braids are time-consuming and costly, depending on their length and size, you want to guarantee that you get your money's worth out of them. This means taking every step possible to keep your braids looking fresh. However, towards the six-week mark, frizz may be inevitable. It might therefore be time to say goodbye to this low-maintenance style and get an entirely new set.