You should wash your hair every two weeks. If you work out, wash weekly, “it varies because people’s lifestyles are so different,” Mack explains. King confirms that you can use a clarifying shampoo weekly, but it’s not necessary to reach for it every time if your hair isn’t that dirty.
Step 2: Cleanse
If you don’t have as much buildup, you can skip straight to cleansing. Mack recommends using “a moisturizing shampoo as step two.” (If you don’t need a clarifier, you’ll be using this kind of shampoo first.) As Cooper explains, “protective styles give your hair a break from heat styling, but it’s important to try to keep your hair hydrated while it’s braided up.” For moisture, Cooper uses the Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Shampoo “Rinse until the water runs clear. If you have settings on your shower head, try to use it on the hardest water pressures to thoroughly rinse product out.”
Step 3: Condition
When you’re done with cleansing, it’s time to move on to conditioning. “Be sure to dilute the conditioner with water so it can easily rinse out of the braids,” Mack advises. When you are done, follow up with a leave-in conditioner like the Best of Beauty-winning Pantene Miracle Rescue 10-in-1 Multitasking Spray.
“When it comes to hair-care, conditioner matters more than shampoo because the function of shampoo is to clean but conditioners can leave different effects,” King explains. “Usually, you want some quaternium compounds in the conditioner.” Now, before you ask us what the heck quaternium compounds are, King has an explanation: “They are known as ‘quats’ and have the ability to soften hair and serve as an anti-static and anti-flyaway.” When perusing an ingredient list, you will find them listed as cetrimonium chloride or quaternim.
Step 4: Dry
When you are ready to dry, Cooper warns not to rub the hair, “simply place your braids in the towel and wring out the excess water.” Remember, a lot of frizz comes from too much friction during the wash or drying process. Use a microfiber towel for this like the Best of Beauty-winning Volo Hero Towel.
When you’re drying, it’s absolutely imperative that you are sure to remove any excess water from the hair. Braids that stay too damp could lead to mold. “Moldy box braids are definitely a thing. I found out the hard way,” Cooper shares.