6 reasons why you should never tie your braids too tight
Protective hairstyles and braids are fun, versatile & low-maintenance. There are some things you should never, ever put up with. One of them is having your braids too tight, as this causes a myriad of issues that can range from mildly uncomfortable to clinically alarming. Tight braids tend to last longer for the money you spend on them, but at what cost? Whether you're looking for braids, kinky twists, or any other protective style that requires your hair to be braided, here are five reasons why you should never tie your braids too tight.
Tight braids hurtIf your scalp or head is in pain, it is a sure sign that your hair is too braided or that you have too much extension hair added causing your hair roots to carry extra weight. Any pain is a sign that something is wrong. While some braiders and experts tell you to just take an aspirin but that doesn't actually solve the problem of what is causing this pain.
It damages your hair
The goal of protective hairstyles is to protect the ends of your hair and reduce tangles, shedding, and breakage. Having braids that are too tight defeats this goal and is counterproductive, making your hair susceptible to moderate and serious breakage. To take better care of braided hair, make sure that your scalp is regularly cleansed and hydrated with shea butter. Consider using a stocking cap to shampoo your hair without disturbing the braids.
It damages your hair
The goal of protective hairstyles is to protect the ends of your hair and reduce tangles, shedding and breakage. Having braids that are too tight defeats this goal and is counterproductive, making your hair susceptible to moderate and severe breakage. To take better care of braided hair, make sure your scalp is regularly cleansed and moisturized with shea butter. Consider using a beanie or stocking cap to shampoo your hair without disturbing the braids.
Tight braids can trigger a migraine
Another negative effect of having your hair braided too tight is that it can trigger migraines. Migraine triggers can range from diet to the environment. These include exposure to bright lights and loud noise, irregular meals, stress and yes - excessively tight braids. Worse yet, these triggers can also make migraines worse and more unbearable, with headaches lasting several days at a time.
Braid bumps or infected follicles may occur
If you've ever had hair braided too tightly before, you may have noticed braid bumps at the top of your neck towards the hairline or between the braids. These are usually signs of folliculitis or inflammation of the hair follicle usually caused by bacterial infections. While letting your hair rest and putting in tea tree oil can make these braid bumps go away, other more sinister complications can arise if the tightness is not adjusted properly.
It could cause temporary or permanent hair loss
Very tight braids can also cause traction alopecia, or hair loss resulting from too much strain on the scalp. If your scalp feels like it has been pricked by a hundred fingernails, then your stylist has applied too much pressure to your hair.
However, all hope is not lost. You can still wear braids without taking such expensive risks. When it comes to braiding your hair into a protective hairstyle, comfort and safety should never be sacrificed. "The best way to wear braids with minimal damage is to not over-braid the scalp, take breaks between braids, and moisturize your scalp before, during, and after wearing essential oil braids." , explains O'Brien.
Like we said, all in moderation: we're not saying you should never wear tight style braids, just make sure they're not too tight and causing unnecessary stress on your scalp.