I love wearing braids – a lot. In a year, my hair is styled in different braids for like 70% of the whole time. That is how much I love braids. However, the downside of these braids is the massive headache. I have to find ways to relieve tight braids to feel free.
This hack led me through a rabbit hole of knowledge and tips that can help me stay sane and focused most of the time I have my braids.
It might be easy to believe the tighter the braids the longer it’ll last phrase because you want to have a reason to justify having synthetic hair pulling out your scalp. It’s best, to be honest with yourself and know you are wearing too tight braids.
Tight braids can cause high tension and take a toll on the scalp and your hair strands in general leading to hair breakage, redness, and worst of all shedding. These hair concerns could become problems if you do not take the braids down.
I remember being this way. No matter how tightly my braids used to pull up my scalp. I vehemently refused to loosen the hair until I was done with it.
mantra? Beauty is pain. It wasn’t until I lost my hair strands in heaps before I realized I had to do something. I loved braids too much to let go of them. So my next choice, equip myself with tips and tricks on how to relieve tight braids.
Now that I have gone down the rabbit’s hole, it’s only natural I drag you along with me so we can fight the same braid enemy.
Tricks to Relieve Tight Braids
1. Wear it down
If you want to wear tight braids as you wish, by all means, do. But to relieve tight braid pains, you must let the strands, however long, down. Pulling it up in a hairdo will only cause the braid to pull at your scalp and cause high tension. It even goes as far as pulling your hair out of its roots.
So after minting your new braid on your scalp, leave it down for a few days, at least until the pressure has been eased.
If you still feel the tension in your scalp, then you can try other ways of relieving your tight braids. But I got to say, your braider has tight hands!
2. Warm water does wonders
Since the braids feel tight and heavy, you can lighten the braids by running warm water through them. All you have to do is wet a cloth or towel and gently rub your scalp, edges and forehead.
A cold shower will also do the trick. You can relieve tight braids by running a cold shower on them. As the water runs through your scalp, you can massage it to ease the pressure faster. But you have to know that running cold water through your braids will shorten your lifespan.
A notable alternative is a cold compress if you don’t want to ruin your hair. You can also opt for a warm water press too to keep it longer.
3. A pencil can save a life
Yes, a pencil. Even I found this laughable until I remembered always looking for something pointy to get between the braided lines. You can use a pencil or any other thin cylindrical-shaped object.
Stick the pencil into the center of your braids and pull up slightly. You do this one at a time until you cover all braids.
You can also use other thin objects to do the job. A notable mention is a tail comb or a bobby pin. They are good alternatives to relieve tight braids. If you are doing this yourself, have patience, you will overcome. And if someone is doing it for you, you are in luck.
4. The power of a leave-in conditioner
Adding a bit of this cooling agent to your roots will help relieve tight braids. Leave-in conditioners reduce the tightness of your braids and also help to soothe your scalp.
They also moisturize and hydrate your roots. But keep the conditioner at a minimum so as not to pile grease or too much oil on your roots.
To get the right measurement, use your fingers to apply the conditioners in small drops at the base of the braids. To get a better result, use a refrigerated conditioner. Trust me, you will thank me later.
SEE: Get the Best Conditioner to Moisturize Your Hair.
5. Spray away with a braid spray
Braid sprays are primarily created to maintain and keep a healthy braid. They are also used to relieve itchiness and dryness in the scalp or the braids themselves.
Additionally, braid sprays can relieve tight braids by softening the braids. It will also protect your hair and braids when you style them, making them last longer.
You can get instant relief by misting your braids. But be sure to use a light layer of the spray to keep the product from building up at the base of your braids.
6. A scalp massage for all
Another option to choose from is to gently massage your scalp, especially the exposed parts. These will relax your scalp and body muscles.
Also, it will get the blood flowing in your scalp that has been frozen stiff by all the tension. You can use essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil to massage your scalp.
My advice is to warm the essential oil before you use it and make sure not to use too much. If you cannot massage your scalp properly on your own, get someone to do it for you.
SEE: Does Braiding Damage Hair? Find Out if Braids Are Bad for Your Hair
7. Take painkillers
You can take painkillers to ease the pain you feel in your scalp. Usually, tight braids do loosen but it might take a few days. If you cannot wait that long, you can take a painkiller to relieve yourself. This is better than carrying a throbbing scalp about.
8. Communicate with your stylist
Before you make your braids, make sure to communicate with your stylist or braider that you do not want your braids tight because you are tender-headed. Naturally, he/she will try as much as possible not to make your braids too tight, if they care about your hair.
You have to be open and honest with them and trust them enough to do the right thing. Don’t get in their spaces too. If you act as if you know better than them, it could be counterproductive for you and your braids. That happened to me once and I did not like the experience.
SEE: Does Hair Extension Damage Hair? Discover the Possibilities and Reasons Why
9. Use oil concoction
Oils are great for many things and it seems one of them is relieving tight braids. Using oils will provide your scalp with relief and also condition it. You can use coconut oil or any of your favorite oils or combinations.
You apply the oils at the roots or base of your hair so that the braids won’t damage your hair.
10. Apply heat
You can steam your hair to relieve the pain from tight braids. Sometimes heat is just what the braids need. A hair steamer will help to open your pores, leading the braids to loosen on their own. Your scalp also gets to retain moisture, keeping your hair healthy.
SEE: Effective Hair Steaming Tips For Natural Hair
11. Change your stylist
If your braider is known for making braids too tight it gives migraines, let her go. She is not the right one for your hair.
A good braider will know to care for your hair and scalp. If you have other options for stylists, try another. But if you don’t you can opt for braid extensions as a close alternative.
12. Take the braids off
As sad as it is, you might have to end up taking the braids out to prevent hair loss or breakage. If the pain is unbearable, you can partially remove the braids in areas with high tension or let the whole thing come off.
This last one might not be for the faint-hearted but I have to be honest, protecting your hair is better than losing it. Learn from my mistake and let it come off before you lose your strands. The good thing is that you can always go back to braids. Then, you can get it better.
SEE: Alluring Knotless Braids With Beads Hairstyles You Should Try
Frequently Asked Questions
Can too tight braids break your natural hair?
Yes, it can. Tight braids can damage and break your hair from the root. When this happens your hair is suffering from alopecia.
To avoid this, relieve the tight braids or loosen them.
Can you get permanent headaches from tight braids?
No, you can’t. Your scalp becomes sensitive when pulled too tight which causes constant headaches. However, the pain subsides when the cause of the pain is treated.
Therefore, take painkillers or some other relaxing methods to help relieve the pain.
How long does it take before new braids break-in?
Not more than a week. New braids can feel uncomfortable and tight for about a week at most before softening and feeling free.
However, if you are experiencing tight braids over a week, then it’s time to seek redress to the issue.
If you love braids as much as I do you will know there comes some difficulty in keeping the braids if they are too tight.
Therefore, to relieve the right braids you have to have handy tricks that would not only save your scalp, you will also save your strands. However, you have to admit that you are in pain.
And when all tricks in the hat have been exhausted and still no hope, baby girl, you have to take it off. It might be sad but your hair is the most important. But don’t worry, it won’t have to come to that. One of the above tricks is sure to work for you. So get busy fixing.
Africana Fashion provides hair care articles to improve your healthy hair lifestyle.