Today I’m diving deep into my mini braids wash day routine and how I care for my braids to keep them looking fresh for months at a time.
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I get a lot of compliments on my mini braids and questions about how I care for my natural hair with such small braids. Some of the most common questions that people ask me are, “how long can you keep mini braids in?” and “how do you wash your hair with those tiny braids?”
So today, let’s get to the bottom of these questions.
What Are Mini Braids?
First of all, let’s talk about what mini braids are. True mini braids are tiny braids created with natural hair. They can be box braided or freeform (random parts). These braids range in sizes with the largest being about the width of a pencil and smallest, about the width of thick sewing thread.
How long you keep them in is really up to you. I tend to wear my mini braids for months at a time. But doing so requires a real commitment to caring for my natural hair to prevent damage or breakage.
It’s especially important for those of us with fine or super coily textures to pay attention to tension (tight styles), weight (how large or small you make your braids), and the ends (pixie knots) as you wear this style.
Also, keep in mind that mini braids are not to be confused with micro braids. Micro braids require the use of extension hair to achieve a braided style. They have been known to cause traction alopecia as well as breakage for those with fine hair, due to the added weight and tension on the strands.
Mini Braids Wash Day Routine
I tend to retighten any interior braids that have a lot of new growth, prior to washing. The reason I do this is that the washing process will naturally loosen & soften your mini braids. The key is to prevent as many braids as possible from becoming fully loosened.
So the options are to either retighten OR prep the hair by creating large plaits or ponytails prior to washing.
Mini Braids Maintenance Tip: If flaky scalp or product buildup is an issue for you, you can also prep for washing by giving your scalp a gentle scratching with a rat tail comb. This helps to loosen any dry skin or heavy buildup from products.
Washing Mini Braids:
I tend to gravitate toward conditioning shampoos when wearing mini braids. Retaining moisture while keeping the scalp clean is the goal. Try not to manipulate your braids too much. Keep the focus on the scalp and edges. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
Mini Braids Maintenance Tip: Gently squeeze your braids while shampooing to distribute cleanser and to help loosen product buildup.
I save a LOT of money on conditioner when wearing mini braids. So, I like to invest in a variety of single conditioner packs for quick washes and a good thick deep conditioner.
When drying, I always use a satin scarf. I find that satin helps to keep the hair shaft smooth and is gentler on my strands.
In the shower, I squeeze out any excess moisture after conditioning then immediately tie my hair with a satin scarf while it’s wet.
Upon leaving the shower, I wrap my head in a towel, on top of my satin scarf. Once I’m ready to begin prepping and styling my hair, I remove the towel and scarf. Then, I immediately apply my leave-in conditioner to damp hair and oil my scalp with Jamaican Black Castor Oil or any good scalp loving oil.
Styling Mini Braids On Natural Hair
I can’t say that I have a favorite product to use to style my braids. I do however 100% recommend that you keep a good water bottle on hand to mist your hair before styling sessions. Working with slightly damp hair is the best way to prevent breakage from too much manipulation.
I prefer to use styling creams, butters or gel/oil mixes when styling my hair. I also keep a stash of bobby pins, stylish headscarves, clips and ponytail holders for quick styles. Updos are my favorite!
Retightening & Night Time Care
Satin pillowcases or scarves are a must! Silk is fine too, however, satin removes less moisture and oils. No matter which you decide on, making sure that your hair is protected at night is the most important factor.
I hope this post was helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments feel free to weigh in down in the comment section. If you received this post via email, you can click the little blue comment button and it’ll take you directly to the blog.
Remember, you will still have natural shedding as you take your mini braids down or do maintenance. But, with proper care and regular upkeep, you can wear your mini braids for prolonged periods of time while retaining all of your new length.
Are you ready for mini braids? What’s your current protective style?
Ah, OK, I totally understand. Thanks for the reply. Love the hair!
Thank you for this detailed and informative post. I absolutely love your mini braids! Could you do a YouTube video on them as well?
Thank you! I’m glad you like it. I probably won’t be doing a video of these any time soon as I’m giving my hair a bit of a break.