There are so many styles of braiding that it’s hard to choose just one, but micro braids are definitely one of our all-time favorites. If you’re looking for a show-stopping, long-wear protective hairstyle that is bound to elevate your Instagram aesthetic, we’re sure micro braids are going to become your favorite plait style, too. The beauty of micro braids is that they’re a protective style, but because the braids are so thin you can often treat and style your hair as you normally would if it weren’t braided.
If you’re looking for a protective style to slay this summer, we’ve got you covered with everything you’ll ever need to know about micro braids. Whether you have dark brown hair or ash blonde locks, this is a style you won’t be able to get enough of.
What are micro braids?
Micro braids are tiny braids so small they often resemble thick strands of hair. As you might imagine, micro braids take hours to install and sometimes even longer to remove. The time spent is well worth it, though, because this look offers a level of versatility that not many other braid styles can. That’s because the braids are so thin they can often be treated and styled like your natural hair.
When installing micro braids whether with your natural hair or added hair, only a few strands of hair are used at a time. Because of this, the braids are often much lighter than other protective styles such as box braids or faux locs. This allows you to style the braids as you would regular strands of hair, making styles like curling iron curls, additional braids, buns, and ponytails possible.
How long can you leave micro braids in your hair?You can leave micro braids in your hair anywhere from one day to eight weeks—it all depends on how well you care for them (the better the care, the longer they will last). However, we don’t advise keeping them in longer than eight weeks without making an appointment with your stylist. They can help you determine whether or not it is safe for your strands to remain in the micro braids a bit longer, or if it is time to remove them.
Are micro braids bad for your hair?
Over the years, micro braids have gained a reputation for snatching people’s edges—and not in a good way. Frequent wearers of micro braids sometimes experience thinning hair and recedinghairlines but that doesn’t necessarily mean micro braids are bad for your hair. Too much of anything is never a good thing and much like any other protective style, if you wear them improperly or for too long they can start to wreak havoc on your strands.
The truth is, any hairstyle whether it be a protective style or a chemical service can damage your strands if you don’t properly care for your hair. Follow our simple care tips below, and you won’t have to worry about micro braids damaging your precious strands.
While micro braids aren’t inherently bad for your hair, there are some people who should avoid the style altogether. Because the braids are so small, this style is not ideal for ladies with thinning or fragile hair. When styling micro braids with added hair, only a few of your natural strands are used for each braid. The extra weight of the added hair leaves weak locks at serious risk of breakage. Think twice if you’re already worried about the health of your mane.
How much does it cost to get micro braids?The cost of micro braids will vary depending on what salon you choose to get them done, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the state of your hair and the length of your desired final style.
How do you care for micro braids?
The first step in the care of any braided style is making sure your braids are properly installed. The biggest mistake anyone getting braids can make is getting them installed too tightly—the last thing you want to do is leave the salon and realize you can’t move your face.
Furthermore, any style that’s installed too tightly puts you at risk of developing traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that can be caused by hair pulling associated with tight braids, buns, and ponytails. To avoid putting yourself at risk, don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel like your stylist is pulling and take frequent breaks from styles that pull on your hair.
The reason most people get micro braids—besides the fact that they look fabulous—is that with proper care the style can last weeks. While your hair will look and maybe even feel different, caring for your braids is very similar to your regular routine. If you’re leaving your braids in for longer than a week, you’ll have to wash your hair while it remains braided. Gently shampoo your hair once a week and follow with a hydrating conditioner to make sure your hair looks and feels moisturized. We love the Mizani Moisture Fusion Moisture Rich Shampoo and Moisture Fusion Intense Moisturizing Mask.
Once you’ve washed and conditioned your locks, make sure they’re completely dry before styling. If you’ve added extra hair to your style, you may want to use a blow dryer or hooded dryer to make sure your locks are 100 percent dry. If you leave your braids damp (particularly near the scalp) you run the risk of developing dandruff, fungus, or even mildew—yuck!
If you’re used to washing your hair more than once a week but don’t have the time to wash and dry your hair completely every few days, invest in a good astringent—we recommend witch hazel. It can help remove dirt and buildup, keeping your scalp healthy between washes. Apply the astringent with cotton swabs to help ensure you clean every nook and cranny.
Because micro braids are a long-wear protective style, you’ll have weeks to play around with styling your braids. That level of versatility can often be a little daunting, so we took the guesswork out of it and rounded up some of our favorite micro braid hairstyles.
Now you know everything you need to slay micro braids all summer long (or at least a couple of weeks).
Interested in micro braids? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.