Realizing that San Francisco’s frigid weather was not good for my hair and that the infamous bun was not going to satisfy my daily styling desires, I decided to bring my box braids back. Somehow, I knew shelling out $250 and spending 2.5 hours in a braiding shop would be worth securing my sanity and preventing damage to a year’s worth of new growth. What I did not know or expect was that after ONE WEEK of implementing my BRAID REGIMEN I would manage to grow ¼ an inch of hair… My hair has always thrived while protected in braids, but this is an unusual growth rate for my hair - in fact, usually by the end of week one my scalp is still adjusting to the braid installation (i.e. my braids are still super tight).

After seeing these results from my current braid regimen, my guess is that I will be able to achieve three (3) full inches of growth at the end of a three month period.  So yes, I am turning this into a 3 inches in 3 months challenge! Here’s how I plan to rock braids to help me achieve my length goals over the next 3 months.

PRE-INSTALLATION PREPARATION

Prior to getting my braids installed, I created the perfect foundation for protection and growth. How did I do that?

Step One:  Pre-Poo and Detangle with Heat

I pre-poo’d and detangled my hair with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, castor oil, and jojoba oil. After that, I sat under a hooded dryer for 30 minutes to transform my pre-poo into a hot oil treatment.

This step is important because it enables the oils to penetrate your hair strands and protects your hair from being stripped during the shampoo phase.

Step Two: Shampoo Your Scalp and Apply an Instant Conditioner Before Rinsing the Shampoo Out

I shampooed my hair – focusing on my scalp – with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo. Before washing the shampoo out, I coated my hair strands with Trader Joe Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner to aid with the rinsing process, moisturize my hair, and to prevent my hair from re-tangling. Please note these products are about $3-4 at Trader Joes.

Step Three:  Apply a Protein Treatment and Follow-up with an Intense Moisturizing Conditioner

I used Aphogee’s 2-Step Protein treatment. This step is key in strengthening your hair and filling in any problem areas along your hair strand. 

Then I deep conditioned my hair with an intense moisturizing conditioner and a hair steamer. This time around I mixed Aussie’s 3-minute Miracle Moist Conditioner, Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner (it's significantly cheaper if you buy it at the store), Giovanni’s Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Castor Oil to re-moisturize my hair. I have listed other great moisturizing conditioners in past posts.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW UP WITH AN INTENSE MOISTURIZING DEEP CONDITIONER AFTER YOU USE A PROTEIN TREATMENT. IF YOU DON’T YOU MAY EXPERIENCE SERIOUS BREAKAGE!

Step Four: Trim, Apply a Leave-in and Heat Protectant, Blow Dry, and Moisturize & Seal Your Hair

After trimming my ends, I applied a leave-in conditioner and heat protectant, blow dried my hair on cool, and then employed the LCO method to seal in maximum moisture.  

MY BRAID REGIMEN FOR THE CHALLENGE

My braid care regimen is simple:

  1. Massage my scalp daily with Jamaican Black Castor Oil infused with vitamin E oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil.  Yes… these are all great essential oils that promote growth and help maintain a healthy scalp.

  2. Alternate between spritzing peppermint water and Aloe Vera Juice on my scalp.

  3. Moisturize my braids (my actual hair) by misting the length of my braids with water mixed with a leave-in conditioner.

  4. Wash and deep condition regularly or as needed.

JOIN THE CHALLENGE

Join the challenge by following these steps:

  1. Take a picture of your hair at the start of the challenge

  2. Commit to protective styling for 3 months (Challenge ends March 30th) – low manipulation styles are key!

  3. Perform scalp massages daily

  4. Keep your hair moisturized

  5. Deep condition weekly

  6. On March 30th post your results. If you have IG, tag @whollyhair and/or hashtag #WH3by3 because we want to see your results!

Good Luck and Happy Healthy Hair Growing!