Cornrow Braiding and Strain on Hair

Hair with cornrow braiding
Photo: Beatriz Vera/Shutterstock
Q: If I decide to get cornrows, what kind of natural products would you suggest on top of this all natural oil I use that will help lessen the strain of braiding on my hair or would you suggest that I stay away from braiding at all until the relaxed hair is completely gone?
It seems that when it's braided, there's a lot less constant fussing with it (no combing or brushing every day like when it's out, no need for hair clips or scrunchies and less exposure to the elements) which may be why braided hair gets on better, so it seems like it'd be a healthier option for me than leaving it out at this point. What do you think?

A: Well, making an assessment of your hair without actually being able to physically see it and feel it, I can't speak to whether or not your hair is in a good condition in order to be able to be braided healthily. For this you are going to need to consult a reputable stylist and have him/her make a full assessment of your hair's condition.
All things being equal, if your hair IS healthy and in good condition, your stylist is well-trained and your braids aren't woven too tightly, braids can be a healthy and convenient hairstyle for those who are trying to work through difficult hair periods. Often, the braiding can include extensions to add length to the hair and help you achieve the attractive look you desire.
If the braiding specialist feels that your hair is in good enough condition that it can be braided, I would say you should feel free to pursue this if you want. I will caution you not to expect braiding to make your hair grow faster than it would otherwise.
What is usually presumed to be increased growth rate caused by the braiding is usually a by-product of the hair being protected from environmental or styling stresses that can cause breakage and slow the apparent gain in length when the hair is worn in looser styles.
Your braiding specialist is going to be imminently more qualified to recommend after-braiding care products for you - given that we've already established that I can't make a physical examination of your hair via correspondence.
See also:
What are cornrow braids?
Will cornrow braiding damage your hair?
How long does your hair have to be to get it styled in cornrow braids?
Why do my cornrow braids always itch?