I consider myself a weave connoisseur. I’ve had them all: sew ins, weaves with leave out, bonded weaves, crochet..the list goes on. I’ve dealt with everything from wearing the wrong hair type or leaving weaves in too long that resulted in damaging my naturally thick hair. I want you all to learn from my mistakes. If you're getting a weave for the first time or just need to brush up on your skills, here are 15 tips to keep your weave, and natural hair, in tact.
Get A Weave That Makes Sense
A long, Pocahontas-inspired weave may get the most likes on IG but it may not be the best look for your lifestyle. If you work out often, getting a weave with leave out may not be the best option. As you sweat, your leave out will begin to revert back to its natural state and it won’t blend well. Going with a curlier texture which is easier to manipulate everyday will save you time and energy later.
When you sit in that chair, and your stylist transforms you from Cleo in Set It Off to Beyonce, make sure she is properly caring for your real hair too. If you’re like me, you suffer from natural dry scalp which in turn causes flakes, itching, and dandruff which can get worse with extensions. Make sure you are keeping your natural hair moisturized with the right oils and products, as well as regularly cleansing and conditioning according to your hair type.
It’s Okay To Combine Textures
Nothing is more frustrating than when your weave screams India and your leave out looks like Zimbabwe. If you know your natural hair is a certain texture, what makes you think it would blend with one that is the complete opposite? It doesn’t matter that you straighten your natural hair with flat irons set at 500 degrees to blend in, at some point, once that rain or heat or wind hits, your hair that’s left out will frizz right back up. Buy hair that resembles your hair texture and if your natural texture is in between two different types of extensions available, a common practice is mixing two similar textures to give the hair a more natural look and feel. You’re spending the money anyways so you might as well go all out!
Wash Your Hair Just Like You Wash Your Body
If you purchase virgin hair, you have to care for it just like your natural hair in order for it to last and stay fresh. I can’t understand why some spend upwards of $1,500 on hair just to not take care of it properly. In between salon visits, wash and condition your weave. After you shampoo a weave, it should be dried properly to prevent mildew and odor caused by damp hair.
Use Less Heat
Virgin hair reacts to heat the same way your natural hair will. Repeated use of heat styling tools will result in damaged and frayed extensions. Instead of curling irons, try a rod set. It stretches out that cuticle and makes the hair nice and shiny while also giving your hair full volume.
Spice Up Your Life
I change my hair up pretty often as far as curl pattern but I recently started adding pops of color and it makes a huge difference! It gives your hair and overall self a new look. I recommend getting your hair colored by a professional stylist or buying pre-colored bundles.
Straight Backs or Beehive?
I’ve learned from experience that a braid pattern can make or break your weave. It seems easy to use a universal braid pattern for weaves across the board, but your braid pattern should work with your head shape and hairstyle. For example, a full weave works best with a beehive braid pattern because the braids are hidden on all sides. A weave with leave out works best with hair braided straight back in the middle and down on the sides to allow the weave to lay better. Make sure your base braids are small for a flat and natural appearance.
The Leave Out
I’ve mentioned weaves with leave out a few times. A common mistake is leaving too much hair out which can end up damaging your hair if you’re constantly manipulating it to look like your weave. Always leave out as little of your natural hair as possible - but still enough to cover the tracks - as it’s more manageable. The less you leave out, the more natural it appears and blends.
On the Edge
As great as they are, just like other protective styles as braiding and twisting, weaves can cause huge damage to your edges. Tight braids applied close to your hairline not only causes breakage but can lead to more serious problems like traction alopecia, which is more extensive than normal hair breakage and is difficult to reverse. You can take preventative measures such as massaging your edges and moisturizing your hairline at night.
Wrap It Up
As with our own hair, weaves tend to appear dry over time, especially if you are not protecting it at night. Wrap, braid/twist, or pin curl your weave at night and cover it with a satin bonnet or scarf. Keeping the weave covered at night prevents the hair from drying and tangling.
Use The Right Products
Extensions have gone through certain processes before being packaged and shipped to you. As beautiful and as “natural” as the hair promises to be, you can’t always use the same product lines you use on your own hair with the weave. Talk to your stylist or read the packaging of the hair to see which products work best to maintain it.
Stuck Like Glue
Luckily, sew ins aren’t the only options. If you choose to wear a bonded weave be sure to place the glue half an inch away from the scalp to avoid damage and to allow your scalp to breathe. When removing the weave glue, apply a generous amount of bond glue remover or even shampoo to the track after allowing it to set for a minute to become loose. DO NOT pull your tracks out without doing either of these steps. Remember, your hair is still attached and you can lose hair this way.
What I love most about weaves is how versatile they are when it comes to styling. Use a wig brush or a wide tooth comb to style your weave and detangle it. Wig brushes are made with bristles that help prevent shedding and tearing so he hair won’t look thin. The larger the tooth of your comb, the better.
Get Professional Touch Ups
Most stylists recommend scheduling a touch up about four or five weeks after your initial install. Your stylist can re-braid the parts of your hair that have grown, touch up loose hair extensions, and trim dead ends of the weave. Regular upkeep will result in healthier, and stronger natural hair and will also help your weave last longer while maintaining its appearance.
Cut It Up
Tired of walking around with the same look but spent too much money on your extensions to throw them away? With a few snips here and there - voila! - you have a brand new look. . Light layers can frame your face while long layers can create body and movement. Cutting your weave also helps with maintenance because it keeps the weave fresh in appearance.