Last week on Instagram I said if you’ve braided your hair 3 times this year it is enough!!! I was greeted with laughter, admittance of being on the table! And repentance! It is that post that has inspired this blog which will focus on the disadvantages of braids for balance to the advantages we are often bombarded with.
If you have taken my hair course, I’ve always been at pains to stress that whether braids is good for your hair or not depends on the health and the current state of your hair.
No hairstyle gets my blanket approval. I pay no attention to the word “protective style” it always depends on the following:
- Who is getting it done and the current health of their hair?
- The health of their scalp and its history e.g. are they allergic to hair extensions?
- The age and fragility of the wearer’s hair strands.
- Who is installing the style and their ability/competence to comply with healthy hair practices.
- How long the wearer intends to have the style in for.
- How the wearer plans to maintain the style while it’s in braids.
- If the wearer is going on holiday and/or plans to swim a lot.
While braids can be a wonderful hairstyle choice, there are a few potential disadvantages to keep in mind. And that’s what I want to focus on here so that you can make better decisions for yourself.
Here are a few disadvantages:
Tension and breakage: If braids are done too tightly or if they're left in for an extended period, they can cause tension on the hair strands. This tension can lead to breakage, especially if the hair is already fragile or damaged.
Scalp irritation: Some individuals may experience scalp irritation or discomfort when their hair is braided. This can happen due to the pulling and tugging on the scalp, which may cause itching or soreness. And it can also happen because the false hair added is coated with chemicals that some people are allergic to. If you experience blisters, rashes, dry skin, hives, consistent itchiness, tenderness, and 'swelling of the scalp, face, and neck you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Some people find that washing or rinsing the synthetic hair prior to use solves the problem, but it doesn’t always work for all.
Blow drying before you braid: some healthy hair-compliant individuals try to avoid blow drying prior to installing braids, because the hair may not be able to withstand the manipulation of blow drying, the stress of heat, compounded by intricate braiding. However, not blow drying can also be problematic for hair that tangles easily, meaning more work for the braider, who may therefore not detangle thoroughly thereby storing a lot of problems for takedown i.e. preventable hair loss.
Time-consuming: Depending on the complexity and length of the braid style, braiding hair can be time-consuming. If you're in a hurry or prefer quick hairstyles, braids may not be the best choice. Having 3 or 4 people braiding at the same time could also be too much for your scalp and hair as each exerts different tensions etc. And even if we have been conditioned to sit for hours to install braids, taking it down with care is extremely important and many simply lose patience, resulting in preventable hair loss or damage.
Remember, these disadvantages may not apply to everyone, and with proper care and attention, you can minimize any potential issues.