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Braids give your hairstyle a little bit of spunk, perfect for those days when you want to shake things up. Combined with extensions, they add instant length to your locks; they can also go on the natural hair alone. Choose from twist braids that look like dreads or traditional braids that can serve as starter dreads if you're itching to make that long-term commitment.
If you don't take three-strand braids out of your hair, the hair fibers will eventually begin locking up on their own. With enough time, they'll turn into skinny dreads that still have the look of a braid. The dreads will be thin and kinky, and you might see braided strands through the matted hair. If you use the braid technique to start dreads, you can't undo the brads later on. Once the fibers have locked up, you and they are stuck for a while.
Two-strand or kinky twists mimic the dread style without the commitment of getting dreads or letting your braids turn into dreads. This style features two-strand plaits that coil and curl like a dread. The braids don't lie flat against the head. You need at least 1 inch of natural hair to put your hair in kinky twists. The more hair you have, the longer your rope-like braids will go.
Shampoo and conditioner your hair before you put braids in. Blot excess water out of your hair with a towel. Using a comb, section off a three-quarter-inch square at the back of your head, near the nape of your neck. For kinky twists, divide the square in two and begin winding one strand over the other. Work this way until you reach the end, then tie off the hair with a mini hair elastic. For three-strand plaits, section the hair into three pieces and braid them together until you reach the end.
If you intend to start dreadlocks from braids, don't worry about taking out the braids. If you want to rock braids that just look like dreads, plan to take the braids out after eight to 10 weeks and give your hair a rest. The hair can begin locking up after 10 weeks.