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There are so many styles of braiding sometimes it’s hard to choose, but micro braids are one of our all-time favorites. Micro braids are exactly what they sound like: Tiny braids so small they often resemble thick strands of hair.
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. 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.
The first step in the care of any braided style is to make 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 is installed too tightly puts you at risk of developing traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is 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 up with a hydrating conditioner to make sure your hair looks and feels moisturized.
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.
If you’re used to washing your hair more than once a week but don’t have the, 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.
To begin, gather all your braids on the top of your head and use an elastic to fasten a ponytail. If your braids are very dense, you may want to consider using a shoelace instead of an elastic to prevent it from snapping. Once you’ve secured your ponytail, begin to wrap your braids around themselves to form a bun. As you wrap your braids into your desired shape, use bobby pins to keep your style in place as you go along.
The beauty of micro braids is that your braids are small enough that you can style them however you’d like, even in another (even more intricate) plait. To begin, gather all your braids in a loose ponytail and secure them with an elastic. Divide the ponytail into two equal sections. To create the fishtail effect, take a half-inch section of hair from the outside of left ponytail and cross it over to the right ponytail. Repeat the process on the opposite side, taking a section from the outside of the right tail over to the left.
Continue crossing the opposite sections of hair until you reach the end of the braid. Secure the style with an elastic or a small clear rubber band, then remove the elastic from the nape of the neck. For a final touch, pancake the braid to create a voluminous effect.
This simple but delightful style will get your hair away from your face in the hot months and take just seconds to perfect. Begin by parting your braids down the middle. Working with one side of your hair at a time, flat twist your braids until you reach the top of your ear. Secure the twists with a few bobby pins before repeating on the opposite side.
Curling your micro braids is the perfect way to spruce up your look for a special occasion. If you added human hair to your ‘do, you can curl your hair the same way you would if your hair wasn’t braided.
Used synthetic hair? Be sure to check that the hair is heat resistant. If so, you can use a curling iron to curl your hair after saturating your hair with water. Curling while wet ensures the synthetic hair doesn’t melt and allows your curls to last much longer. Synthetic hair will hold your style for hours—so once you’ve curled your entire head, there’s no need to set your look with hairspray.
This braided style will make your micro braids look elegant for any occasion. Begin by parting your hair on the deep right or left side of your head, near your ear. Start a basic cornrow that wraps around the crown of your head, braiding all the way around your head. If your braids are long, continue braiding any leave out until you get to the ends of your strands. Wrap the remaining hair around the crown braid and secure any loose strands with a few bobby pins.
For this simple style, all you’ll need is a strong elastic or shoelace. Begin by gathering all your hair on the top of your head. If you’re having trouble holding up your locks, flip your head over and let gravity do the work for you.
Once your hair is in the desired position, secure it with an elastic or shoelace. If you want your ponytail to look extra polished, take a few micro braids from the bottom of your ponytail and wrap the strands around the elastic. Secure the loose strands of hair with a bobby pin.
Once you’ve installed your micro braids, it’s best to put down the scissors until you’re ready to remove the braids. But, if bangs weren’t a part of your original style, you don’t have to completely miss out. This faux side swept bang takes seconds to create and looks just like the real thing.
Start by sectioning off a 2-3-inch-wide section of hair from the front of your head. Let the sectioned off micro braids fall in front of your face and sweep them to the left or right side of your head. Position the braids across your forehead to get your desired faux fringe look, and pin the remaining hair behind your ear. Let the rest of your hair down to cover the pinned hair behind your ear and no one will ever know you didn’t cut those bangs yourself.
This fun and casual look is perfect for a girls’ night out. Gather all the hair from the front half of your head and secure it in a ponytail on top of your head, wrapping your braids around themselves to form a bun.
If your bun is on the larger side, use bobby pins to secure the style as you wrap the braids around themselves. If your bun is small, you can use a second elastic to hold it in place after you’ve completed the style.
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