Braid-Outs Seem to Damage My Hair. What am I Doing Wrong?

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Hair stylist Sim Sim answer your crucial hair concerns. Remember, if you have questions for our experts you can submit them on our submissions page.

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Question:

So I have been a transitioner for over a year now. I’ve been trying out lots of natural hair styles like bantu knots, twist-outs, braids and so many more. Most of the time they turn out really well. For some reason however, I have this huge problem with braid-outs. When I do braid-outs, I make sure my hair is conditioned and put some oils in my hair before I start. Then I braid my hair all the way to the end, and then I curl them up with sponge curlers. They turn out really nice once I take them out, but for some reason my ends split every time I do them. Recently, I wore my hair straightened, and that’s when I really noticed the split ends. My ends were so split that I couldn’t even comb through them without catching knots. I ended up having to cut all the rest of my permed ends off in the back of my hair and some of the permed hair in the front. I haven’t done any braid outs since then. Is there something that I am doing wrong? I really like how braid outs look on me, but I don’t want to keep cutting my ends because the braid outs are splitting my ends.

 – Renee

Answer:

Transitioning can be difficult when you still have relaxed hair because natural and relaxed hair don’t always mix. The relaxed part of your hair tends to tangle and can easily break where the relaxed part of your hair and the natural part meet (the line of demarcation). That said, braid-outs might not be the exact cause of your split ends. You may just be noticing them when you do a braid-out. Split ends move up the hair and not down therefore if you’re not cutting your ends properly and regularly they will continue moving up the shaft of your hair, resulting in deeper split ends, which would require cutting off more of your hair in order to fix the issue. Furthermore, you mentioned having straightened your hair. If you straightened with heat, try and avoid doing so completely if possible while you’re transitioning as hair can be particularly fragile.

If you’ve cut off most of your relaxed hair and mostly have natural hair now, try a braid-out to see if you achieve better results.

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