Natural Hair Styles: 12 Easy Ways to Get Relief from Too-Tight Braids
By Jacqueline Samaroo
There are quite a few upsides to wearing braids. They are super convenient, sleek, stylish, and can help to protect your natural hair when it needs it most. Too-tight braids, however, can turn this go-to natural hair style into a painful nightmare. They can also end up damaging your hair instead of protecting it.
Here are some ways you can deal with the pain of too-tight braids. These 12 tips will bring you much-needed relief, as well as protect your natural hair from damage and ensure you don’t go through that kind of unnecessary pain (ever!) again.
1. Gently loosen the braids.
Use the eraser end of a pencil, a pen without the point sticking out, or a comb. Just slip it under each braid and wiggle it a bit. You can also go back to the braider and ask for the braids to be loosened.
2. Use a leave-in conditioner.
Spray leave-in conditioner on your scalp and rub it in with your fingers to reduce the tension of the braids on your scalp.
3. Use a braid spray.
These products are specially designed to relieve common braid issues such as dryness, itching, and, you guessed it, tightness.
4. Use moist heat.
This will help to open your hair shafts and reduce some of the tension. It will also soften the braids and make them more elastic, lessening how much they pull on your scalp. Try any of these moist heat methods:
- Wrap your head in a warm, damp towel.
- Take a warm shower and allow the water to wet your head.
- Use a hair steamer for about ten minutes at a time.
- Spray your scalp with warm water.
5. Use cold water.
Fill a spray bottle with cold water and spray it directly onto your scalp. This can help to dull the pain for a while. Keep the bottle in the fridge and use as needed.
6. Massage your scalp with oils.
A gentle, daily scalp massage will help to loosen tight braids. You can magnify its effects with soothing oils. Tea tree oil, almond oil, chamomile oil, and lavender oil are all good choices.
7. Drink water.
This probably won’t help your too-tight braids in the short term but staying hydrated on the inside is always a good idea. It helps to keep your scalp (and the rest of your skin) supple and more flexible. This might even, in the long term, help your braided styles not be so uncomfortable.
8. Wear your hair down.
Avoid up-dos as they will add more tension to your already tight braids, causing you more pain. If you have long braids and want to keep them out of your face or off your shoulders, try putting your hair in a loose, low ponytail.
9. Take the braids out.
No hairstyle is worth the pain, discomfort, and risk of hair loss that too-tight braids can cause. If none of the above suggestions give you relief, taking your braids out may be your wisest course of action for the sake of your natural hair.
10. Take painkillers.
Painkillers might be the best option if the pain is intense and is interfering with your other activities, and you don’t intend to take the braids out.
11. Talk to your braider.
Let the braider know about the braids being too tight last time and ask for them to be looser this time around. Your braider is looking forward to your repeat business and will definitely try to accommodate you as best they can.
12. Find a new braider.
It may be time to get a new braider – especially if you have a repeat of too-tight braids after speaking with your old braider. Some braiders just naturally do tight braids or they are trying to avoid complaints from clients when the style does not last as long as they expected.
Do you have any other suggestions for dealing with too-tight braids? Please share!