Thinking about getting braids but worried about the headache, both before and after? Here are five tips for having a pleasant, successful, and stress-free hair braiding experience, especially with natural hair!
1. Find a Braider Who Comes Verbally Recommended
Unless you have time to waste and money to blow, you’re probably going to spend at least 4 hours getting your hair braiding, and you’re going to keep them in for at least 4 weeks. Unlike a simple blow out or flat twist out, braids are a serious matter, and you should only go to a hair braider that comes recommended to ensure a happy hair braiding experience. It’s very best to find a braider that has braided – wait for it – not your favorite local blogger’s hair – but your grandma/cousin’s/next-door neighbor’s hair. A hair braider is when you need the truest of true recommendations, and who better to tell you than your homies.
2. Use Hair You’ve Used Before
This doesn’t work if it’s the first time you’re braiding your hair, but I’ve heard of a few too many stories of people having bad scalp reactions to braiding extensions – btw if you have a sensitive scalp and seem to react to any hair you use, use an ACV rinse. Resist the urge to buy hair just because it’s on sale when your go to brand x is sitting right there next to it. Different makes of hair come in different lengths and textures so for the happiest braiding experience, use a brand of hair you’re familiar with.
3. Pick the Right Kind of Braids
Nothing makes me more upset than seeing a beautiful set of cornrows from behind and then seeing the wearer has no edges! Like my goodness my friends, take care of your edges first! Needless to say, cornrows are not optimal for someone struggling with weak edges; long, jumbo braids aren’t the best bet for someone with fine hair (all that weight will pull at yours); and nobody who wants to have hair at the end of the day should ever ever get micros.
4. Take Control Over Your Own Hair
Braids and similar protective styles differ from other hair appointments because the stylist is often not a specialist in natural hair care, but in styling. Take some matters into your own hands by detangling your hair yourself, speaking up if your braids are too tight, and holding your hair at the root if your head starts to be pulled too far, to protect your edges. While you’re paying for a gorgeous style, you should also keep in the back of your mind that your hair is underneath and should be protected first and foremost.
5. Make Yourself Useful
Whether it’s by showing the braider the exact style you want, helping hold and section off hair, or just sitting without fidgeting too much, make yourself useful while you’re getting your hair braided. Not only does this help the braider move faster, but s/he may even like you at the end of the day and offer you a discount, either on the current service or the next one!
BONUS: Take pain meds
Girl, go ahead and take some Tylenol at hour 3 of the braiding day, and some more before bed! All the tips above may limit some emotional and physical pain, but at the end of the day you’re essentially tying up your hair into 50-200+ tight as hell sections so acetaminophen or ibuprofen is more or less a must!
Whatcall think about using a numbing cream on the scalp b4 braiding? I used it for some of my tatts. Not sure who it would work on the head tho.
I have been doing braids and weaves for over 25 years and I think Jay is right. Taking a painkilkers for hairstyles is very serious. No one has to go through pain and suffering to get their hair braided or weaved-in. There are techniques to hair braiding and most braiders out there do not know about. People wants to braid because they want to make a living and with little to no experience they will always doing the wrong thing. Braiding too tight that causes hair loss and thinning… gradually especially around the hair line. My clients hairlines are intact and do not have to take any pain killers before their appointments. I quarantee 99.9% pain free braids and weaves to everyone, both children and adults.
Hello iam getting my hair done today, Braid, I am getting it braid in a Bun but a little long so I can wear it down if I choose to, Is there any thing I need to tell the Braider, like do not braid to tight, and do not braid my edges to type? Let me know what to tell her please.
I’m assuming you’ve already done the braids, but you can also ask that small combs not be used on your hair as well.
Something I learnt from Sandra (NaijaGirlNextDoor) lately- will be especially useful to some of us naturals. I don’t know if it’s my hair or my luck with braiders, but since I went natural, I haven’t been able to find someone who could secure my kinks within the braids. Within a week or two, they’ve wiggled out and are all over, contrasting with the Xpressions, so it’s not cute. Because of this, I gave up and respected myself with kinky twists. I’ve been wearing Xpressions box braids for 3 weeks now, using her tip. Simple. Two strand twist your hair before it is braided. Loop the hair around the twist and start braiding using the twist as a third leg, blending it in. My braids still look fresh. I had no headache when my braider was done, and in future, this will definitely save me from the ceaseless combing they put me through because I can twist my hair in advance. I hope this makes sense. 🙂
I think I understand but wouldn’t this mean you’d need a lot of twists, more like mini twists, if you were getting medium sized braids installed?
The top thing for me is speaking up, basically what you touched on in no. 4. Gotta let them know from the door that your baby hair is NOT to be braided! And I don’t think many realize that neat doesn’t equal tight! They’ve come to believe a headache comes with the territory but it doesn’t have to.
You pretty much hit everything else 🙂
Something that helped my braider last weekend know not to touch my baby hairs without me even having to say anything is that I came with my hair in twists and only allowed her to untwist and detangle as we went along. So she was basically only working with the hair that was already twisted, leaving my small hairs in the back and front unbothered!
Having a photo of what you want is definitely necessary!!! The last twisted style I did, I ended up not liking at all and had to manage it for 3 to 4 weeks – I complained the whole time. Other people liked the style, but it just wasn’t what I wanted.
That’s a must for sure! I always come with photos of what I want, and sometimes even photos to show exactly what I DONT want too
Funny you would write this post because I just got my hair braided and I am in pain! I won’t be going back to this braider because no style is worth feeling like this!
You have cover them all Communication is the. Key.
I’ve only worn braids one time in my life. They hurt so bad that I took them out the next day! If you have to take painkillers for a hairstyle, that’s problematic. I taught myself to braid my daughter’s hair. She’s tenderheaded and I make sure to braid gently. She’s never complained of a headache, ever. If your head hurts from braids, let the braider know or go to another braider.
Are you braiding your daughter’s hair with extensions or on its own? I think adding extensions is likely to cause pain simply because of the weight because you typically use more extension pieces compared to your own hair.
Yes, I use extensions. She’s 13 and is definitely verbal about her pain threshold.