How do I choose the right braider? what do I need to know?
Well well little beauty, let me give you some facts. The braiding industry here in New Zealand is unregulated, which means there isn't licenses or a form of certification needed to be qualified as a braider. Which basically means its a free for all. Now overseas in the United States, some states need licenses some dont. But people there are more aware of good braiders because its part of the history and peoples daily lives there.
There are things that people can get away with here in New Zealand, because you simply have not taken the time to do enough research. So some braiders can prey on your lack of knowledge and pull the wool over your eyes. I have heard it time and time again, "I spent $%^&#$ and the braids starting falling out the next day.
Now you would not be able to do this in the States and get away with it, as you can sue over there. Plus there is so much competition that you have to be really good at what you do to make it. I have found that people here in NZ can get away with murder and clients never report or do anything but lose their money.
This is for people who want to spend good money and get their braids done right. This information will not work for everyones situation, as there might just be 1 braider in your town or your auntie or sister wants to learn braids on your head. But this will definitely open your eyes as to what to look for. So if you do have the extra time or the affordability to travel and get the best you can get..then I have done my job.
**4 Things to look for in a braider:
1.Have you seen their body of work? have you looked at braiders on instagram and seen what they do, looked at their sections, looked at the evenness of each braid, looked at the finish. Has your braider sent you photos that are dark or hard to see?. Has the braider shown you up close photos? lifted up the braids to show you sectioning in the back?. If they havent, make sure they do.. Make sure you are well studied on what professional braids looks like if you are going to spend a few hundred getting them. Dont just walk into a salon and expect to magically get the braids of your dreams. My eyes are trained like a hawk, I can look at a photo, view how the braider started then braid, the positioning, sizing, finish and know if they are good or not. Its like buying a new phone, usually a person would research the hell out of that phone and then buy it. Well at least that's me. So same thing has to be done in the braiding and hairdressing world.
2.What does their hair look like? are they wearing a lopsided wig, have they lost their edges, what does their natural hair look like, is it well cared for? do they have braids themselves, what do the braids look like. If your braiders hair looks reasonably well taken care of, then at least they may be able to give you some tips on hair care. Braiding is not only about just installing braids. Its about knowing hair care tips yourself. Being well versed on every hair type. Knowing how to give tips on natural solutions to certain problems that could help a client. That includes dry scalps, dry hair, breakage and the list goes on. Maybe that one solution works for your client and she praises you with another visit. Do more and get more in return.
3.Have you asked your braider for before and after hair care and braids care routines? did they go blank? did they tell you you dont need to worry and dont have to wash your hair (wrong), did they tell you how to sleep with your braids? how to style your braids for the first 2 weeks, or how long it takes the braids to dry after you've washed it? did they instruct you on how to prevent itching? do they even know how to prevent itching?. I would suggest asking your braider these questions before you do a session, so at least you know if they dont have a clue. Then you would have to do your part and research and get that information. As not knowing how to take care of your braids and what not to do, will affect the look of your braids for the worse.
4.Does your braider know about soaking and washing the braiding hair? do they say "thats not necessary", do they try to change subject? did you do your research to learn how to soak and care for the braids before install?. It is very important to wash your synthetic braiding hair, most salons won't have the time to do this. So then please do this for yourself and hand the synthetic braids over to them. As if you dont do this vital step, you risk getting an itchy scalp and even having to remove them if it gets worse. Remember the braids are not hypo-allergenic, they are plastic and chemicals are used to turn them into what feels almost like hair. So you have to do your part to get them washed, this goes for most braiding styles, not all.
Alright guys! hopefully this blog sheds some light on what you dont know and what you do know. The more you know the better your experience will be, when you do get your hair braided.