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How to loosen tight braids without destroying the look


We have all had those moments. You go to the salon and have your hair plaited in cornrows or braids. You love what you see on the mirror and everyone goes, “Oh! How beautiful, you look great.” You have spent quite a fortune to get the hair done.

When you get home, you are still okay until it’s time to sleep. You tie your head with your headscarf as usual but when you put it on the pillow, it hurts. You don’t know whether to sleep on your side or your back. It hurts so bad that you only get to sleep by God’s grace.

Other than causing so much pain, tight braids can also lead to traction alopecia, which can lead to hair loss. It also causes skin bumps on the hairline and severe headache. I know people who have actually undone their hair because of that pain regardless of how much the hair cost them to do. So how do you get rid of this pain, which is actually caused by the tightness of the braids? The best way of preventing tight braids is not to have it in the first place. Always tell your hairdresser that your hair is tight while he/she is still doing it.

If you, however, did not do that and now your hair is hurting, the solution is to loosen it. You, however, want to do that without destroying the look. Here is what you can do:

Massage: Whenever you have your hair done in the salon and the hairdresser massages it, there is a level of relief that one gets. For your tight braids, gently massage the exposed bit of the scalp. This gently pulls the hair away from the scalp and loosens the braids. It is better if you can get someone to do it for you. Don’t however get carried away and over-massage as you may end up destroying your new look.

Shower: Many people may not agree with this solution since it is likely to reduce the lifespan of your braids. Hoping into the shower and letting cold water run over your hair will offer you a great relief. Hot water too, can do for those who don’t fancy cold water although cold water offers what I call ‘instant relief’. Ensure the hot water is just as hot as your scalp can stand it. The heat from the water makes the hair shaft to become elastic thus eases the tension. Rub your scalp gently as the water runs through. Once you feel better, pat your hair dry with a towel then let it dry naturally. Isn’t it better to have your hair slightly messed than undergo the pain?

Pencil: Get something smooth and cylindrical like a pencil then stick it into each braid or in the cornrow to loosen it. The smaller the braids the thinner the cylindrical object should be; otherwise, you will just be worsening the pain.

Moist heat: Applying moist heat on your tight braids will also offer some relief. Place a towel in warm water then place it on your head. Let it stay on for one hour then remove. Alternatively, if you have access to a hair steamer, the ones used in salons, then sit under one and have the steam directly applied to your braids.

Leave-in conditioner: If you have leave-in conditioner at home, apply it on the tight braids or cornrows. The fact that it is cold will offer a relief and it will also reduce the tightness of the hair. Be careful not to over-apply as this is prone to exposing your hair to too much oil leading to an oily scalp.

Braid spray: Braid sprays also help in easing the tightness of braids by softening your hair. Most braid sprays are designed to reduce itchiness of the scalp when the hair is braided while others help when one wants to remove braids. Do this on a regular basis until the hair loosens up.

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