Don’t think for a second that just because you have a sew-in that you don’t have to take care of your hair underneath. You would lose valuable time and growth if you make that mistake. Having a weave provides you with many benefits, and due to low manipulation it allows your hair to thrive and grow at what seems like warp speed. It’s not that you hair really does grow faster when you have a weave installed, it’s just that you can retain the majority of your length if you go about it correctly. I will walk you through the steps I take to make sure my weave stays fly while keeping my hair intact.
I must have been 19 years old when I got my first sew-in. It was my birthday and the summer time, I wanted wet and wavy hair and it turned out beautiful. The problem was, I was uneducated about how to maintain my own hair under my weave, but even worse was I had no idea what was waiting for me when I took it down. A couple of months went by and I started getting bored with the wet and wavy style, so I took it out. I was amazed at how much my hair had grown, but what upset me was how thin my ends and the middle of my hair looked compared to my roots. As if that wasn’t enough, I was devastated to see that my hair was so weak. I washed my hair and conditioned as usual. Once I began to comb it, I noticed that not only was there massive shedding, but my hair was breaking off in the middle of the strands. When I discussed this with my stylist, she asked if I had been doing protein treatments. I had not. As it turns out, you should do a protein treatment on your wash day. When I get a sew-in these days, I use Aphogee Intensive Two Minute Keratin Reconstructor. I usually keep my weave installed for two months. I tend to use the protein treatment once every two weeks. This brand of protein treatment is usually meant for permed hair, but it works on natural hair as well, especially if it will be immobilized for an extended period of time. It keeps my hair strong and I do not experience breakage or a massive amount of shedding.
Another mistake I made with my first install was my lack of deep conditioning. Even without a weave, you must never skip this step. Conditioners that are very thin in nature work best when you condition your hair under a weave. Just think, you have a head full of added hair on your head and you have to get through that before you can even get to your own hair, which is braided tightly. The goal is to make sure that every strand of hair from the root to the tip gets the benefit of the conditioner. Thick conditioners will just sit on the top layer of your braided hair. Sometimes a stylist will braid extra hair in with your own hair, making it even more pertinent that you have a conditioner with a very thin, almost watery consistency to be able to move through the bulk to your scalp. VO5 Moisture Milk is an excellent conditioner that will be able to penetrate through the hair and down to your scalp. .
I guess by now you are saying that I just did everything wrong with my first sew-in. Well, not everything. I provided extreme amounts of moisture to my hair on a daily basis. Being that I had a wet and wavy style, I sprayed an activator-like spray on the weave daily after wetting my entire head in the shower. So, moisture was never a problem. In fact, I had too much moisture and not enough protein as stated earlier. If you are wearing hair that is not wet and wavy and you wish to keep it dry, you must use a moisturizer that will not wet your hair, but still get the job done. African Royale Braid Spray is one such product that will not make your hair wet, but it will give it a mist, thus providing the daily moisture you need. You can use any brand of braid spray that you prefer, but make sure it has a nozzle or a spray mechanism. In other words, you do not want a moisturizer that you have to pour into your hand, this will make it harder for you to get down to your hair and get an even coverage.
Dealing with Weave
As far as keeping the style of your weave and keeping it fresh looking, I just want to say that you do not have to compromise the look of your weave while taking care of your hair. You can still practice healthy hair care and rock a sew-in at the same time. Sometimes women make the mistake of thinking that if they mess with their own hair, then they will mess the weave up. Trust me, your braids will not come loose because you are deep conditioning. You will be able to curl the weave again and style it back daily. You probably tie it up, wrap or bun it at night anyway. Go ahead and make good use of your time, by growing your own hair longer while you have your weave. If you have wet and wavy hair installed, make sure that there is a protein balance since you will be wetting your hair often. When I had wet and wavy hair in, I braided the hair and tied it up to sleep. Having a weave is a very simple and easy style, but it is also easy to miss steps, and that could be at a detriment to your own hair.
- After the stylist braids you hair, look in the mirror to see the pattern. Once the hair is sewn in, you will not be able to see your scalp that well. If you know the pattern that your hair was braided in, this will help you with moisturizing or if you wanted to oil your scalp directly.
- A protein treatment should be done once every two weeks. I like to do my protein treatment before I wash, but you can do it after you wash if your wish. When I do my protein treatment on dry hair, it just seems to make my hair that much stronger versus when I do them on wet hair. Either way, do not skip this step!
- Deep condition using saran wrap and a plastic cap under a dryer. I put my conditioner on, making sure it is through my braided hair and scalp and I carefully massage to ensure proper distribution. I take a sheet of saran wrap and wrap my hair up. Then I put a plastic cap on over the saran wrap. I sit under the dryer for an hour. We all know the shower cap provides a level of occlusion, but by the saran wrap being snug and tight to the scalp it traps the moisture in even more. Both your own hair and your weave should feel fabulous after this process.
- Wash the conditioner out and sit under your dryer until your braids are dry. Check under your braids to make sure that deep within the braid is dry and not just the top layer of your hair.
- Spray your styling product on your weave and your braid spray on your braids to moisturize. Style as usual.