By Ronnie Williams
Micro-braids are miniature (think the thickness of a spaghetti noodle) box-braids done with human or synthetic hair. Depending on the look desired, this hair can range from bone-straight to a wavy or curly pattern. Another form of micro-braids is Tree Braids. Tree Braids however incorporate more of the client’s natural hair, and the percentage of actual braiding is less, leaving more of the braiding hair exposed. In micro-braids, the braid percentage can vary greatly, depending on the look desired.
One of the major concerns with micro-braids is the depletion of hair around the edge-line of the scalp after time. The reason for this is simply; hair holds weight. Oft times, the hair around the edges is neglected and/or not kept properly lubricated, making it dry and susceptible to breakage. The weight of the braid then begins to pull downwards, and over time this leads to breakage. If the hair is continuously pulled back tightly away from the edges or over-manipulated in styling while in micro-braids, gradually the hair will begin to succumb to the tension and break off.
When speaking of prevention, it is very important to keep the scalp, particularly the edges, well lubricated and free from undue tension and friction during active hours as well as sleep. Olive oil, aloe-Vera gel, and liquid vitamin E work well alone, in combinations with each other, and as based in products. If hair tends to itch often, witch hazel can be applied with a Q-tip or mixed in with an oil based product. Excessive or tight pulling in any direction should be done very sparsely while wearing micro braids. Another option with braiding could be small cornrows in the front of the head instead of box-braids to relieve some tension. Care should still be exercised, no matter the style.
Take care of your hair; it will in turn take care of you.