Hair Braiding Tips

Question: My hair on the left side of the head is thinning. This was due to years of braids and the stress around the hairline. Presently I am seeing a dermatologist who injects my scalp and gives me minoxidil (not Rogaine itself) to apply topically twice a day. So far, it seems like there is a little growth, but my question to you is, is there anything that can help thicken the hair around the temples? I believe in anything that has petroleum, I do not have a relaxer and haven't had one in 3 years. I am currently wearing a weave to camouflage this. I also take vitamins and vitamin supplements. Please help.

Answer: Your hair being thin around the edges could be caused by previous relaxer misapplications (see my book Thinning Edges) and/or braids. Braids are one of the worst styles for our hair because those that are put in too tightly and continually pull on the hair roots. (I personally have witnessed the devastation caused by them where sisters end up with hairlines back to their ears.) If you continually pluck hair, the hair cells will eventually die. If the hair has been gone for about a year, the hair cells are probably dead. There is no reviving them even with the injections. If the hair cells are simply retarded from the pulling, they can again produce and get rid of waste if a stimulant is used. So is there anything that can thicken the hair? Protein builds on the hair that is there, increasing the circumference of the hair. It does nothing for the hair that is not there already and nor does taking the vitamins!

Question: How long before I start seeing results? My hair is short by choice. I keep it cut because every time I started letting my hair grow it gets to a stage where I have problems w/styles. Are braids good for your hair?

Answer: Most people notice an immediate improvement after the first UBH deep condition because they notice the hair will thicken and stop breaking. I do not recommend braids or any fake hair if you want the maximum benefits of the UBH system.

Question: I am noticing that the hair around my temples is almost gone! I often brush it back and wear my hair in a bun, even though now I am trying not to brush the hairs around my temples at all. Should I see doctor for this condition? Is this commonly seen in African American women? Also, is there any chance that it will grow back?

Answer: Have you ever worn braids or weaves? Are you wearing permanent color with relaxed hair brushing it around the temples to cover gray? It is your call to see a doctor or not. This condition is very common not only in women but children and teens that wear braids, weaves and glued on hair. Also if your relaxer is pushed onto the scalp when it is applied, this will cause hair thinning and balding.

On the chances of it growing back, that depends on what has caused the problem and how long the hair has been gone. If the hair cells underneath the scalp are dead, nothing will bring them back to life. If they are simply retarded there is a possibility that a product with a stimulant can make them reproduce, provided the hair cells underneath the scalp are nourished. In a lot of cases, the condition is permanent.

Question: My hairline has been damaged from wrong braiding over 2 years and I am seeing a dramatic improvement by rubbing a little bit of your conditioner (the oil that settles at the top) into the areas at night. Is it the stimulants?

Answer: The stimulant does stimulate the hair cells if the hair cells underneath the scalp are not dead. It is sad to see our sisters who wear fake hair alternatives. The long term effects are horrifying. All because of braids! I don’t recommend anybody get those things. One lady told me braids are part of our culture. This is true –but at first we had dry breaking hair now we have added receding hairlines and bald spots which are not pretty! I am glad you are finding the benefits of the products. Although it was not intended to be used that way - just don’t put the conditioner on your hair and leave it as it contains protein and should be rinsed out after deep conditioning.

Question: I wear braids. Do I still need to wash my hair every 3 days?

Answer: Braid wearers don’t like to wash braids for fear of manipulating them too much. Not being a braid wearer but speaking from a common sense approach - go no longer than once a week in any style without washing your hair - braids included.

Question: When I take the braids out do I need to wash 1st or deep condition?

Answer: Wash 1st THEN deep condition.

Question: It is frustrating that the other guys in my school who are White and Hispanic are getting braids and then there braids are coming way past their shoulders in like a year or, year in a half and my hair is nowhere near that length. Why is my hair not growing like theirs?

Answer: Mike you must understand that our hair can only grow as long as our natural life cycle allows. Scientist says that is 2-6 years. If your hair grows at 6" per year which is the average growth rate than you too can have 12-36 inches of hair provided your growth rate is average (6"). Also take into consideration that we have type 4 hair, while Hispanics and Whites have 1, 2 and 3 hair types all not dry as type 4. Dry hair breaks easily if it not handled and cared for properly. If it is cared for properly we can keep it our hair and achieve our maximum lengths!

If you are going to wear braids, braid your own hair as I don’t recommend fake braids. Just ensure that the choices you make temporarily don’t cause long term problems that cannot be fixed.

Question: I am an African American woman in my middle forty's. I have worn braids for years, due to the fact when I put a perm in my hair after about six months to a year my hair falls out. My hair grows really good as long as I wear the braids, which can become very costly. My hair has always been short most of my life, so does that mean it will stay short if I come out of the braids? I would like some advice on what to do to keep my hair a nice length. What to buy and what to do to keep my hair up when I come out of the braids. There are a thousand plus products which promise you any and every thing for your hair, but can you tell me which is really a true product for African American Hair, as you know our hair is truly NAPPY! What I would like to know is how do you save your hair when you want to come out of the braids and go to a perm?

Answer: The requirements (washing, conditioning etc.) are detailed in my UBH book which you really must read. The problem you will have is that when fake hair covers your hair the UBH products cannot get to that hair underneath. The UBH conditioner actually builds on the hair making it thicker. With repeated use, your hair closest to the scalp will become thicker while the hair underneath the fake hair will be thin when the braids are removed. The requirements are the same for you as everyone else if you want to grow your own hair. Just ensure you use the program religiously to get the best possible results.

To save your hair after braids before relaxing your hair, I don’t recommend relaxers however if you choose to do that I would say make sure your hair is very strong. So I recommend UBH deep conditioner or a protein treatment before you choose to have your hair relaxed. Afterwards you have to maintain your weakened hair so read my book to understand how to keep it.

Question: Until I receive your book can you give me a jump start on caring for my hair? I wore individual braids for 3 months. When I took the braids out I noticed about a 1/2 inch of my ends broke off. So, now I'm trying to reconstruct my hair back to health. I've been washing my hair once a week with a shampoo for damage hair by aphogee along with the 6 week reconstructing conditioner.

Answer: That conditioner you are using provides no benefit for your hair. Please wait until you get the book as the requirements for caring for your hair are detailed there.

Question: I received your book and I must add that it has very good information in it...one thing I wanted to ask you is can the UBH hair conditioner, and the UBH hair spray moisturizer grow bald edges and if I apply these products on my bald edges should I massage it?

Answer: Balding caused by tight braids and weaves is a huge problem for black women. We used to enhance our short hair with wigs and clip-on hair pieces, now with the fake hair weaves and braids we are seeing balding temples and sides, hairlines back to our ears and patches out all over. Fake hair in my opinion is bad news!

If the hair cells underneath the scalp are NOT dead the stimulant in the conditioner can help them. If they are dead, nothing will help them grow again. How can you tell if they are dead? If the hair has been missing from the spots for more than several months, the cells may be dead. If it has only been recently gone, the hair cells could be simply retarded from the constant pulling of the hair from the root. If hair is still in the spot but is very little, it is possible that this will help.

As far as putting the conditioner on your scalp, the product is actually intended for the hair. The stimulation will get to the scalp from the product being put on the hair. If you put it on your scalp it will not hurt you, however, the hair will benefit most by its application. Using it on your scalp to stimulate hair growth in the bald spots will not hurt you but it may not help either.

Question: I have read the question and answer session and I wanted to ask my own questions. I wear braids twisty braids to be exact. Can you use UBH products with any kind of braids?

Answer: Yes

Question: Do you have to wash the braids every three days?

Answer: You cannot go longer than 1X per week with any style - braids included!

Question: I haven't read your book yet but I wanted to know if you have anything about braids in your book?

Answer: No - braids are a style. I don’t discuss style. I discuss hair care before and after whatever style you choose to wear.

Question: I really need help with my hair. It is very thin and short. I had braids for a while, when I took them out some of my hair came out with the braid. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Yes - read my Ultra Black Hair book.

Question: I'm thinking that maybe I wore the braids too long. The maximum time that I usually wear the braids is between 4 and 6 months and I have never had any problems. I probably went too long in between braids without washing my hair and using your conditioner. My hair is very thin after my relaxer. What can I do now?

Answer: Rowena, my conditioner contains protein which builds onto the hair making it thicker. When you wear hair extension braids, the hair covered up by the braids does not benefit from the conditioner. Leave the braids out and use my conditioner to possibly thicken your hair. This is the only thing that I think is wrong with what you are doing. You may also want to ensure the chemical is not pushed onto your scalp when it is applied as this will cause hair thinning also.

Question: I wear braids a lot, but I have no idea if they are growing or damaging my hair. My hair seems really strong when it is natural, but really weak once it is permed. What is the problem?

Answer: If your hair is growing, it has nothing to do with the braids. Hair grows anyway about 6" per year. If you still get your hair relaxed and new growth is being retouched, then your hair is growing. If you are going bald then your hair is not growing. Most weak hair due to relaxers results from improper application and being left unmaintained.

Question: I've waited for 2 days before putting a relaxer in my hair. It's VERY dry and unmanageable. I have found a stylist that uses Affirm and I NEED a relaxer. My hair is typically strong but I am concerned about its strength since it's been braided for almost 3+ months. What would you suggest?

Answer: I would do a protein treatment before the relaxer. If your hair becomes very tangled after the protein treatment, use UBH Silky Spray moisturizer to detangle, and to smooth the cuticle! After the protein treatment put lots of my Satin Crème moisturizer on your hair to soften the hair again and wait about a week before applying the relaxer so your scalp won’t be too irritated from pulling and tugging of the hair to remove the braids.

Question: My hair is shoulder length but I have nothing to do with it. I decided to just keep it braided up. I wanted to follow this routine every 6 months, is that safe?

Answer: Following the UBH maintenance routine every 6 months will NOT help you. Your hair has to be taken care of with daily moisturizing and weekly deep conditioning treatments to maximize your results!

Question: I just got through browsing your website and I have a few questions for you before purchasing your products. First, I have natural hair and have braided my hair for three years now and it grows but it also breaks. My crown is very difficult to grow and also the center of my hair is now very thin from me constantly pulling my hair. I guess my question to you is: Can I follow your treatment with the braids? What can I do about the crown and the center of my hair?

Answer: Yes, many of my clients have braids and use my system. It is recommended that you do NOT wear hair attached to your own braids because the products will not get to the hair that needs the products. Read my UBH book and Thinning Edges to determine what may be causing your hair to look like it is "not grow" because it is growing I suspect, but breaking. The braids could also be causing some of your problems if they are being put in too tightly. My conditioner contains protein to improve the hair making it thicker. As far as the thin hair in the center of your head, I am not sure if ANY topical solution can fix it.

Question: I brought a protein pack and I plan on getting a touch-up in a couple of days I wanted to know if after I get the touch up should I use the protein pack on my hair, I deep conditioned my hair after I took out my braids, and it is holding up pretty well but of course hair came out as I was taking out the braids and there was breakage when I was combed out tangles, It was snapping a lot (the hairs) If I shouldn't use the protein pack now, when should I use it?

Answer: Although I have never had braids, one of my customers just recently told me her experience after braids with using a protein treatment. Her hair actually matted to the point that she had to cut it off! The only thing that I think could have caused this problem is the hair cuticle raised (which protein will do) causing the hair to tangle and the hair was not combed out before it dried. Hearing this I would avoid the protein until AFTER the retouch.

Question: I usually take my braids out and re-braid them in the same weekend. Is it ok to get a relaxer (done by a professional) during this same weekend before I re-braid it or does the hair need to rest?

Answer: If you choose to condition a week before putting braids back in, sure that is okay. Re-braiding should not be a problem if the hair is not damaged during the relaxing process. Just remember relaxed hair is very porous so the braided-in hair, generally robs the hair of moisture. If the hair underneath becomes very dry, your braids can cause hair loss problems. Just ensure that you constantly replace needed moisture.

Question: Does your book address how to take care of your natural hair in braids?

Answer: My book addresses how to take care of hair no matter how you style it. Care comes before and after the style. My Ultra Black Hair book is geared towards the worst case scenario with is chemically processed hair that is dry, however it also addresses hair period that is dry which includes about 80% of the black population.

Question: I see people with balding areas on their heads especially in the front area. Is it a good idea to just keep doing the relaxer and then have my hair braided?

Answer: It is a personal decision to continue to relax or braid however, the balding in the front can be caused by braiding too tightly and the misapplication of the chemical relaxer. Hair can actually become thin from constant pulling on the hair shaft which pulls the root. It is just like tweezing your eyebrows or facial hair eventually the hair will become so fine that it is almost nonexistent. When the hair cells stop producing no hair grows at all.

Question: What makes braids smell?

Answer: Not washing them and putting stuff on them that stinks!

Question: Is it okay to go 3 months before I re-do my braids?

Answer: I am really not a braid person so I have to speak from a common sense hair care perspective. Leave your braids in for as long as you can stand them, provided you take care of the hair underneath. You still must wash your hair, condition and moisturize, no matter what style you wear.

Question: I wanted to know can I still do what's in your book and have braids (extensions). I plan on buying your book this week! I really believe your book can help me?

Answer: I have lots of women who write me and tell me they have braids and use my system. Styling has nothing to do with lack of care. You still must maintain the hair underneath the braids. Depending on how long you wait to have them "redone", new growth will still occur. Women who use the conditioner with braids dilute it just a little and spray from a bottle as opposed to rubbing the conditioner on the braids.

So the answer is YES you can use my systems with braids!

Question: Can I still take care of my hair with human hair braids when can I put in protein treatments, etc.?

Answer: Personally I don’t know what protein will do to synthetic braids however human hair will absorb the conditioner if used with heat. Unfortunately your own hair won’t benefit much because the fake hair is covering your own hair. To provide the best benefit for your hair, I would suggest after taking the braids down you do a protein treatment. Many sisters will relax their hair then put it back in braids. Right after a relaxer is a great time for a protein treatment.

Question: Is it okay to get a relaxer, wait 2 weeks, get hair washed, protein treatment, moisturize, and then get hair braided?

Answer: This is not a problem - however, you still must moisturize every day even with the braids in.

Question: Does your Silky Spray moisturizer leave your hair sticky like braid spray?

Answer: Answer: Absolutely Not! I develop my products and I use my products. I would not use a product that is "sticky" on my hair! So you can count on my Silky Spray moisturizer being light, nonstick and non-greasy!

Question: Can you think of any adverse effects of washing my hair every 3 days while it is in braids (apart from the fact that it looks less neat?).

Answer: No, I cannot think of any.

Question: I've gotten my hair braided over a year ago. The braids were too tight which caused many sores. I cannot get rid of the sores. I use a box relaxer by Soft & Beautiful. My hair is very coarse and I have to have something to manage it. What do you recommend?

Answer: My suggestion is get rid of the sores before you do another chemical. In the past when I would get burns from the chemical relaxer, I applied Neosporin to the area until it is healed. It concerns me that you can’t get rid of them. If they do not go away, this could be another issue if you are no longer doing anything to cause the sores. I don’t recommend Soft and Beautiful because I have never used it. When I was relaxing my hair I only used and recommended Affirm.

Question: I want to get corn row braids, how can I deep condition my hair in cornrows?

Answer: People with braids don’t want to manipulate the braids to avoid messing them up. Many women have resorted to diluting the conditioner and putting in a spray bottle. This may be a successful alternative

Question: I just finished reading the shampoo section of your book. Since I wear braids, I usually clean my hair with Sea Breeze antiseptic or Dudley's antiseptic, but I don’t actually wet it with water and shampoo. Is this an okay method for shampooing or do I actually need to lather with shampoo and water? What shampoo do you currently use for dry hair?

Answer: Oh my goodness! What a mistake you are making! YES you need to actually shampoo. The methods you are using are the reasons we have no hair! Since we introduced our shampoo to our product line, I only recommend UBH cleaning shampoo for all dry damaged, chemically treated or colored hair.

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