Braids are big business in hot months but also for fall and winter.  Most 

people of African descent know the drill for getting braid extensions. If you have not had braids done before, how do you prepare for a braiding appointment?   So you do not have a crisis, here are a few things to know before showing up:

    • Your hair should be washed before you come.  If you deep condition, do an oil treatment, good for you.  Just come with it clean.  When you show up for the appointment, the person braiding is not expecting to take out your old braids, your weave or comb out your hair six months overdue. 
    • Washing your hair or any other service takes away from our time.  We may have another person after you and this makes us run late.  If you do want it washed or braids removed, you need to ask if this is possible before showing up.  This allows the person to put aside more time or reschedule.
    •  The hair should be free from oils, gels or other products.  You need only shampoo and condition the hair before coming.  
    • Braids will slip if the hair is too oily.  Your idea of “a little” may be my “too much” so put nothing until after.
    • Gels and other products build up in the hair and may make the hair hard when it is being taken out. 
    • The hair should be dry when you arrive.  If you cannot blow dry it, it’s fine.
    • You will usually be asked to bring your own braiding hair.  Most salons in my area will not stock braiding hair.  There have been some salons that do this but it is not as common.  
    • Ask the stylist or the place selling the braid hair to give you an idea of how many packages of hair you will need.  You do not want to run out of hair halfway up your head!
    • If it is your first time having braids, it will hurt.  Bring entertainment on your phone etc. because it can be a long day depending on what you want and the braider’s speed.
    • If you have two different lengths of hair or different colours, let the braider know.  It may have to be blended so your braid does not come out looking weird.
    • A picture speaks a thousand words, have one so there are no questions.
    • If you have short hair, let the braider know your length of hair.  This is very important especially if you have straight hair.  Short curly hair holds braids better than short wavy or straight hair.
    • Braiding hair comes in various types like kanekalon, tokyokolon etc.  Some are better for certain styles like faux locks or short braids. Others look great when you want them long in the back.  You should ask the braider what works best for what you plan to do.
    •  Have a budget.  You need to add:  cost for braiding your hair + time.  This will make it easier when you are told the final price.  If you agree on a set price, great.  If the price is by hour, you need to know if the person will fall within your budget.  It might not be exact but ask how long they normally take for the length you want.
    • Be on time.  Arrive early to get parking or find the location. 
    • Know the size of the braids you want but do not expect to get them in the time you expect.  Braids take time and depends on the size of you head.  Many times braids take much longer because the top has to be balanced.

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    I now have two books “Talking Hair” and “Dreadlocks, A Hairstylist’s Manifest” in paperback on amazon.  Your support would be appreciated.  Thank you. 

    Call (613) 789-2179 For An Appointment If You Are In The Ottawa, Ontario Area.

    I wrote this from a salon perspective for those wanting to know how to prepare for a braiding appointment.   Happy braiding!

    By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design