Sew-In Styles: 7 Braid Ideas for Your Next Sew-In
A long-lasting, natural-looking sew-in starts with a good braid pattern. Think of your braids as the literal foundation of your hairstyle, laying the base for a secure, flat and realistic looking style. But how do you know which braid pattern is the best one for your desired look? We’re here to help you learn everything there is to know about nailing the sew-in braid pattern, no matter what kind of hairstyle you’re trying to achieve. Read on for more info on why your sew-in base matters and what patterns to try next.
Why Your Braid Pattern Matters
Do the braids you choose really matter that much? Actually, yes! There are a few reasons why it’s well worth your while to take the time to choose the right pattern. Here are the main ones:
It Affects How You Can Style—The most obvious reason to take extra time to figure out the best braid pattern for you is because it will determine how much versatility you have with your hair. If you want something simple, like gorgeous deep wave hair with a middle part (using either Brazilian Deep Wave or Indian Deep Wave), you won’t need anything super complex. But if you want to be able to do ponytails, buns, or half up-half down hairstyles, you will probably want to consider more complicated and versatile braiding patterns.
It Affects How Realistic It Looks—Another thing to consider when deciding what braid technique to use is how it affects the way the extensions sit on your head. A poorly executed braiding pattern could cause the sew-in to lift and not lie flat, which makes it look unrealistic.
It Protects Your Hair—When done properly, keeping your hair in a braided pattern can protect it from environmental damage. When it’s braided beneath your sew-in, it’s not exposed to any harmful heat tools, products or environmental stressors.
Before You Braid
Before you braid your hair, it’s important that you prepare it properly. If you skip over the following steps, you could risk shortening the lifespan of your hair extension install.
Thoroughly wash and condition your hair. Starting with a clean slate is important to ensuring that your braids don’t start to itch or smell when they’re braided for longer periods of time. Make sure to follow up with a deep moisture treatment to lock in that hydration while your hair is braided.
Thoroughly dry your hair. Wet braids can cause our hair to stink, so thoroughly drying it before you braid is crucial. Blow dry your hair or let it dry overnight so you don’t risk trapping in any tiny droplets. Drying your hair will also stretch out your strands, which will make the braiding process easier.
Trim the ends of your hair. Lastly, before the braiding begins, have your stylist give the ends of your hair a quick trim. This will help ensure that they grow properly and stay healthy while you have your sew-in installed. This will also prevent the ends from tangling while you or your stylist is trying to braid.
7 Sew-In Braid Ideas
Before installation, work with your stylist to select braids based on the type of install you're going to get. Whether you’re going for show-stopping body wave hair or something bone-straight really doesn’t matter as long as you have a good braid beneath. The typical sew-in base involves braiding your natural hair in a pattern that serves the specific final style you’re aiming for.
Straight-Back with Leave Out—This is one of the most popular braid patterns because it allows for a classy, sleek hairstyle. The middle part with leave out involves leaving out a few inches of hair at the hairline and then uses the typical straight-back (cornrow) pattern throughout your head. It can be a bit of a challenge for women who have short hair, as it makes blending more difficult.
Straight-Back with No Leave Out—This braiding pattern creates a seamless middle part with no leave out. This is a full braided style that puts your whole head of hair into a braid so that it’s entirely protected. Of course, when you do braid all of your hair, you will have to compromise limited versatility in terms of parting and styling. Like the above pattern, this one involves braiding your hair in the typical straight-back cornrow pattern but eliminating the leave out.
Straight-Back with Side Part—Ideal for those hairstyles with deep side parts or bangs, side part cornrows help you create a more natural look with your desired style. With this pattern, you will leave out an inch or two on either side of the part and then braid straight back and down the sides. This style lets you achieve that uber-popular deep part style with those dramatic, flipped bangs we all love so much, but it does not allow you much versatility with the part. If you’re OK with having the same part for a month or two, this is a great choice.
Beehive—If you’re going for a full sew-in, a circular braid pattern is probably preferred so that your stylist doesn’t have to sew down the ends of your hair. The beehive is considered the classic circular braiding pattern for those who want a long-lasting, protective style. It involves braiding hair in a circular pattern, beginning with the outside of your hair and ending in the middle. The result is a flat, neat braid that’s perfect for all kinds of sew-ins, even short wigs and extensions. Of course, since there is no part, you wouldn’t want to choose beehive braids for straight hair. Instead, use the vixen method listed below. However, if your desired style is natural-looking kinky curly hair, the beehive is a great option.
Vixen—The vixen sew-in pattern is a variation on the beehive that allows you to part your hair in more ways. Instead of braiding your hair into one big circular pattern, the vixen requires you to braid it into two to four mini beehives in different sections on your head and then leave out a portion of your hair. Typically, with the vixen, you leave out more hair at the crown of your head for fuller coverage. As a result, you’ll be able to part in multiple different locations. There are many different variations on the classic vixen. You can even have three- and two-part vixen braids if you don’t need as much versatility.
Diagonal—Similar to the classic straight-back cornrow pattern, the diagonal braiding pattern extends across the top of the head but angles to the side. Because of the slight angle, diagonal braids are perfect for hairstyles involving swooped bangs or angled parts. Like the straight-back cornrow pattern, you can either leave some hair out or braid it all in for a more protective style.
U-Part with Leave Out—If you’re looking for the best braiding pattern for a U-part wig—that is, a wig that has a U-shaped opening in the front that allows you to use a good chunk of your natural hair—this is it. This braiding pattern requires you to leave out 1.5 to 2 inches of hair on either side of your middle part. You’ll then create an anchor braid around that U-shaped section, extending to your ears. From the anchor braid, you can braid downward cornrows. Because it leaves out such a large chunk of hair, this one isn’t ideal for protective styling.
Caring for Your Scalp and Hair Under a Sew-In
Taking care of your natural hair while it’s braided is an extremely important but often overlooked task that you don’t want to ignore. Even if you rock sew-ins mainly for the style and don’t care much about protection, keeping your natural hair in good shape is vital in the long-run!
Wash Your Hair Regularly—If your sew-in starts to feel itchy or irritated, it may be because it’s dried out (which causes dandruff and itchiness). Regular cleansing and conditioning every seven days or so will help keep the scalp properly balanced so it doesn’t itch. Oh, and don’t forget to take care of your extensions while you’re at it! We recommend the LOC method for curly extensions.
Do a Daily Spritz—The last thing you’d want is for your natural hair to emerge from its braids zapped of moisture and life. Use a daily hydrating spritz product to keep the hair beneath your weave hydrated. Just remember to take it easy and never let your hair get soaked, since too much moisture can make it smell.
Treat with Scalp Oil—Last but not least, keep some trusty castor oil, coconut oil or argan oil on hand and oil your scalp regularly. This will prevent your scalp from drying out and becoming itchy while also providing the scalp and follicles with the nourishment they require to grow strong, healthy hair.
Go with Premium Virgin Hair
At the end of the day, your sew-in is only as good as the braid pattern it starts with. With that being said, it’s also extremely important that you select extensions and lace front wigs that are made with high-quality, natural-looking hair. Shop our premium virgin hair if you want a natural, dense look that’s soft and lustrous.