Braids, how we love braids. Braids are not just beautiful, they also help protect how hair. Braids are my go into protective hair style. Its beautiful and transforms my face. When I wear braids, I feel very African, since I am not wearing hair extensions. But one thing all women who wear braids regularly can agree to, is that the struggle is real. Your scalp and butt are definitely going to be sore.
The art of loosening tight braids is critical for anyone who regularly wears braided hairstyles whether they are simple ponytail braids or more complex micro braids. Very tight braids can damage hair, sometimes irreversibly. In addition to creating split, frayed ends and irregular broken areas, tight braids pull painfully on the scalp, causing redness, sensitivity and even rashes. In extreme cases, tight braids may damage hair follicles, causing permanent hair loss. With the right technique, however, tight and uncomfortable braids can often be loosened or removed without damaging the hair.
You don’t want to loose this protective hairstyle and start nursing your locks back to health, it just doesn’t make sense. Here are 8 ways to losing tight braids.
1. Tell your stylist
Don’t be paralyzed by shyness during your salon appointment. Before the first braid is weaved, it’s imperative that your styling deal breakers are made known. If you are tender headed or concerned about the braids causing breakage, be open to your stylist’s suggestions and recommendations. And if it feels painful, say something before your entire head is done. You are paying your money, you shouldn’t be shy about your inconvenience.
2. Take A DIY risk.
Now, if you’re past the point of no return and it feels like your scalp is on fire, there are a couple of DIY methods that may do the trick. Besides drinking water to hydrate from the inside out, you can also cover your head with a wet towel for several minutes to trap moisture. Alternatively, working the eraser end of a pencil under tightly bound cornrows can loosen them up without compromising a fresh sewn-in.
3. Don’t wear your braids up
Once you get your hair braided, wear it down for a couple of days. This will loosen up the tension and reduce pressure on your scalp. Holding your hair up will apply more tension to the root hairs and increase the amount of pain you’re feeling. It can also cause permanent damage by ripping out your hair from the roots. There are a couple of comfortable ways of holding your braids down. Experiment with a few styles and settle with the one that works best for you. If your hairdresser tries to hold your braids up in a bun, stop them from doing that. If they already did, remove the bun as soon as you get home and you will feel the difference right away.
4. Remember you daily oil scalp massages
Consider this a friendly reminder. Massaging your head promotes increased blood circulation, which in turn, promotes faster hydration of products and pain relief. Incorporating peppermint oil into this practice will cure itchiness almost immediately and re-energize the hair follicles.
5. Use a pencil
You can loosen your braids by using a pencil or some other cylindrical shaped object. Stick the cylindrical object or pencil into the center of the braids one at a time. You can use a skewer or another thin object to loosen smaller braids. A comb can also come in handy when loosening braids that are closer to the scalp. This process requires a lot of patience and can take a while. If you have someone to help you do this, the better
6. Use a leave-in conditioner
Leave-in conditioners offer relief and reduce the tightness of the braids. However, you should be careful not to apply too much leave-in conditioner. This will lead to accumulation of too much oil, leaving you with an oily scalp. To measure the right amount, use your fingers to apply small drops of conditioner to the base of each braid. This will soothe your sore scalp and make the braids not feel as tight.
7. Invest in braid sprays.
When all else fails, or if you’re a self-professed product junkie, the Black hair care industry is laden with innovative sprays, made specifically for scalp relief under protective styling. Keep a bottle at your desk or in a purse for those “I just can’t take it anymore” moments.
8. Use painkillers
When all else fails, the best way to get rid of pain is by taking painkillers. However, if the pain is intense and you cannot handle it any longer, the best option is to undo the braids. The pain indicates that there is immense stress on the hair roots which can lead to traction alopecia (hair loss resulting from stress or over manipulation of hair roots). Beauty comes at a price, but it should not be at the cost of having intense pain or causing permanent damage to your hair.