When I was growing up in the islands, seeing a woman with a bald head was rare..  There probably

were some, but not on the scale I am seeing today. These days, many of the women wait until they have no hair at the front and at the top before they ask what should I do to my hair before getting braids? 

There is so much about being more beautiful being pushed at

us on various platforms whether paper or digital, that women are feeling cheated.  Why were some women given so many assets and us so little?  Well, now anyone can buy hair in whatever length they want and they do!

Many women of African descent are stuck in the braid treadmill for this reason, because it is an easy style.

Who has time to fix hair for 2 hours every morning? They remove a braid overnight, and book to have it done the next day.  Back then, we would be given castor oil (now Jamaican Black Castor Oil), aloe vera or avocado treatments by our mothers and made to rest our heads for a week before you could have it braided again.  This rest period allowed our hair to rejuvenate and be strong again for the next round. Ladies wanting to be social media ready do not want to hear this.

My advice to those who wonder what should I do to my hair before getting braids is:


  • Get a hair treatment or masque of deep conditioners with heat for 10-15 minutes on your hair after taking out braids, and massage oils in for a week.
  • Consider wearing your hair with a ponytail extension; perhaps a glue-less wig or just pulling your hair in one and slaying your edges for a smoother look for a week.
  • Do not apply a relaxer on the hair when braiding only. The weight of the braids cause breakage over time.  It is cool to have straight edges but use an edge tamer product instead.
  • Braids should be kept on for two months for best results.  If you go over the two-month mark, you are applying unnecessary weight to the hair.
  • Box braids need excess hair for fullness.  Making it extra long adds to this stress so you should adjust the amount of extension hair added based on the thickness of your hair.  If your stylist is not mindful of this, you will lose hair slowly but surely and over time thinning or baldness will be the result.
  • Again, if your  hair is three inches long, it is not helpful to add another 18 and think your head will not suffer. 

If you lost your hair the same day you braided them, most women would not go thinner or bald.  When the process reduces your thickness slowly over time, you are less likely to miss it. Please make it part of your hair routine to do hair treatments and take at least a week’s break so you do not have to ask what should I do to my hair before getting braids.

By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design


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