How to Maintain Braids & Twists: Prevent Itchiness & Scalp Buildup

9 Materials
20 Minutes

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you guys how to maintain your braids. One of the things about getting braids or twists is the maddening itch. Sometimes your scalp is just on fire and it’s itchy and you’re not really sure what causes it.

I’m going to show you how to maintain braids and how to maintain twists so you’re basically itch-free and your hair is flourishing. Let’s get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Whisk
  • Spray bottle
  • Brush/comb
  • Apple cider vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)
  • (Optional) Baking soda
  • Old t-shirt or microfiber towel
  • Water
  • Bowl

Everyday maintenance

Adding leave-in conditioner to a bowl

1. Add leave-in conditioner to a bowl

There are going to be no measurements here, so you just have to eyeball it. Here, I’m adding a nice sizable blob of leave-in conditioner to a bowl.

Adding water to the conditioner

2. Add water

This can be cold or even room temperature. You don’t need warm water.

Whisking the diluted leave-in conditioner

3. Whisk

Whisk until the two ingredients become a homogeneous solution, meaning all of it dissolves into one. You don’t want to see any blobs or anything.

It’s preferable to do this in a bowl as opposed to adding it to a bottle you can shake up because it makes a smoother, homogeneous mixture and it’s easier to blend.

Pouring the solution into a spray bottle

4. Pour into a bottle

Next, pour the solution into a spray bottle and you can use a spray bottle for this if you want.

Spraying the solution onto the braids

That’s it! I use this solution for my day-to-day needs and I spray it directly onto my scalp and along my edges. Don’t get too heavy-handed with the spray because you don’t want your hair to be wet, you just want your scalp to be moisturized.

How to maintain your braids

To finish, I just brush my edges and this really refreshes my scalp and moisturizes my hair. The water and the leave-in conditioner keep it soft and take away all of the itchings.

Once-a-week deep clean

I learned the hard way not to shampoo or co-wash my hair when I have braids in. The hair inside my braids reverted back to its natural state and made my hair really messy.

So, I came up with this solution to clean my scalp and prevent build-up and itching. 

Mixing water and apple cider vinegar

1. Add ingredients to a bowl

For this, you need equal parts water and vinegar. I’m doing a quarter cup of each. You can use apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, it doesn’t matter.

For the water, you can use tap water but it has a lot of impurities and things that can cause build-up, so I recommend filtered water.

This solution alone is enough to clarify your hair. Apple cider vinegar has really great clarifying properties and it breaks up any build-up. You want to dilute it with water because it is too acidic to put directly on your scalp. 

Adding a small amount of baking soda

If you want a stronger solution to aid in build-up breakup, you can add baking soda but you only need a smidge. 

How to maintain twists and braids

2. Application

When you add baking soda, you will get a bubbling reaction and this is the best time to apply it to your scalp. Use an old t-shirt or a microfiber towel and dip it in the solution before rubbing it on your scalp.

Don’t be too aggressive; you want to do it gently because you don’t want to cause friction. This helps break up build-up from natural oils, sebum, and the leave-in conditioner you’ve been applying. 

Cleaning the edges

Don’t forget to rub on your edges, especially if you use gel to lay them down. I like to use this solution about once a week. 

Spraying conditioner onto the braids

3. Conditioner spray

After I apply the vinegar solution, I like to go back in with the leave-in conditioner spray as this helps mask the apple cider vinegar scent. It also helps with acidity. Spray on your scalp and lightly on the braids themselves.

Applying oil to the length of braids

4. Apply oil

For braids and twists, you don’t want to use a heavy oil like Jamaican black castor oil because that will just build up quickly. You want to go for lighter oils like coconut oil, marula oil, or argan oil.

Rub a little of it in your palms and then rub it all over and along the length of your braids. Don’t put it directly on your scalp.

How to maintain braids & twists

How to maintain braids & twists

Brush your edges and you’re done. Here are my finished, refreshed braids. This regimen helps tremendously. There’s no itching and no flakiness. It’s an absolute game-changer for me, but let me know how useful it is for you!

Suggested materials:
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Whisk
  • Spray bottle
See all materials

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