It all started my senior year of high school when I got the prom weave from hell. For prom the look that I was going for a Kardashian-esque middle part with my hair tousled in soft waves to frame my face.
What I ended up with though was much hair loss, a scabbed up bloody scalp and many sleepless nights from the throbbing pain of the tight sew-in weave. The damage of that one sew-in lingered behind for years to come. From the day after I took down that horrendous weave, I've been very skeptical of going to salons to get sew-in's and go to great lengths to make sure that my hair is protected under. That was the plan rather.
Rule #1: When you're a black woman in college, find the girl in your dorm that knows how to do sew-ins for the low.
Lucky enough for me, the girl in the dorm that could hook up a sew-in became on of my closet friends; to this day she is one of the only people that I allow to touch my hair because she styles my hair while keeping it's health in mind. But finding someone who cared enough to care for my hair was not enough when I wasn't doing my part. I would get a sew-in and flat iron my leave out like crazy and never even bother to treat my natural hair under. My hair had the last laugh my sophomore year when it decided to matte up and break smooth off on the line of demarcation (the line that marks natural hair texture and relaxed hair texture). My transitioning hair had had enough of me treating it like a step child. From there, unlike the first time, I learned my lesson.
Weaves can go really wrong or really right. While it makes a really good protective style for our natural hair, many women (including myself) aren't able to benefit from this protective style due to our bad preparation, maintenance and take down of the weave. I will break down in a series of "commandments" what us ladies should be doing to get the maximum amount of protection from our weaves. No more weave horror stories.
Thou shall wash and deep condition hair
Before the installation of any sew-in weave washing and conditioning is a must. A weave should never be done on dirty hair/scalp period! Weeks leading up to a sew-in you should be on your best behavior when it comes to your hair regimen; baby it so the sew-in puts less stress on your hair. Deep conditioning gives your hair the extra TLC that it needs
Thou shall trim thy ends (if needed)
I too am guilty of skipping out on trims every now and again for the sake of hanging on to some extra length. When your about to put your hair in a sew-in is not the time for that. You don't want you ends to be raggedy and splitting under a weave because once it's sewn up there isn't much for you to do at that point.
Thou shall moisturize hair and oil scalp as needed
Take advantage of the fact that your hair is free of any weave or braids and give it its last boost of TLC before you have to do it between the tracks.
Thou shall make sure corn rows aren't too small or too large.
Some women opt for smaller braids because they “last longer" but they also can put a lot of unnecessary stress on the hair. Large braids on the other hand may not dry as well (when your washing your hair in a sew-in) which can cause mold. Yuck.
Thou shall protect thy hairline
If you choose to braid your edges into the weave (refrain if you can) make sure you are babying it. Massaging castor oil etc. around the hairline every now and again to can lessen the damage and stress done to your edges while it is in a weave
Thou shall keeping moisturizing and seal like there us no tomorrow
As per usual you hair needs love. Listen to your hair and moisture and seal with a natural oil as you see fit.
Thou shall wash the buildup from thy scalp
Usually a wash every two weeks will suffice but it can vary person to person. The key this is not to let product lay on your scalp.
BONUS TIP: I just discovered the most wonderful thing that has changed my life as a weave wearer forever. DRY SHAMPOO! They come in either powder or spray form and is a great way to freshen up your hair and get rid of some excess oil between washes while your hair is in a weave. Don't sleep on this.
Thou shall not overdo the hair due
4-6 weeks! That is that magic time frame when it comes to the proper amount of time to keep a weave in. Some people's hair can with stand a bit more but don't overdo it. There is nothing wrong with you giving your have a very much needed break.
Thou shall grab a friend or a professional to help cut out your weave if you need help
When you have scissors to your head trying to blindly cut the thread of the weave without cutting your hair. If you have someone that can lead a helping hand, go for it. Its best to be safe than sorry.
Thou shall not rush into another weave
Take it slow girl and start from square 1. Take the time (2-3 weeks) to nurture your hair in its loose state before running back to the bundles.
These are just some of the basics when it comes to getting the most out of your weave as a protective style.
What are some ways that you prep your hair for a weave and maintain it while it is all sew-in up? Share with us some of your tips.