Braids are one of the most loved protective hairstyles, especially for people with natural hair.
They last longer and can be easily styled to create different looks. However, when too tight, they can damage the scalp and hair follicles. The tension can also cause hair loss and breakage, thinning of the hairline.
How do you know if your braids are too tight? Well, they’ll hurt! Worse, your neck may even be stiff, making it hard for you to turn your head around.
To avoid braids that are too tight, follow these easy tips:
Talk to your stylist
Ask your stylist to braid with medium tension beforehand. And should you feel like there’s too much tension as your stylist is busy working on your head, tell him/her to loosen up a bit? Don’t be shy to speak up.
Use warm water
Warm (not hot!) water can be a remedy for braids that are too tight. If you feel like your braids are tight, allow warm water to run over them in the shower, and – very gently – massage your scalp to loosen the braids a little.
Wear your braids down
Styling your braids into a ponytail or bun may increase tension by further pulling at the roots. Wear your braids down to help loosen any tension and allow your scalp to adjust.
Use a leave-in conditioner
Your scalp may feel drier than usual when your hair is braided. Apply a leave-in conditioner to soothe the area, hydrate your scalp and loosen up your braids. Be careful not to use too much, though. It may cause unwanted build-up. A spray leave-in conditioner like Crème of Nature Argan Oil Perfect 7-in-1 Leave-in treatment is recommended.
Massage your scalp
Massage increases blood flow, which is essential for a healthy scalp and better hair growth. Using a tonic or hair oil will make your massage smoother and offer your hair and scalp some added hydration. Try a nourishing oil like Jamaican Mango & Lime Black Castor Oil. It soothes while moisturising and combating dryness.
Know when it’s time to remove them
If your braids are very painful and show no signs of improvement, or you notice bumps on your hairline and scalp, it’s time to take the braids out. It may be frustrating after you’ve spent money and time on those braids, but it’s the only way to prevent hair loss and damage.
After removing the braids, let your hair breathe for about a week or two, and during the period, make sure to give your scalp extra care. A hot oil treatment, as well as a protein masque Cantu Grow Strong treatment might be just what your hair needs or try using a calming oil or scalp care product with anti-inflammatory properties.
Do not keep your braids longer than four to six weeks.