You’ve relaxed your hair and you’re keen on braiding it.
You want to get braids now but you’re worried you will damage your hair.
So, you’re wondering can you get braids with relaxed hair?
The short answer is yes. You can get braids with relaxed hair but you will need to wait for a while (preferably 2-3 weeks) because freshly relaxed hair is still healing and very vulnerable. Getting braids done immediately will cause a lot of friction and tension and can cause hair breakage and hair loss.
After you relax your hair, your hair cuticles are raised and this leaves the hair follicles in a vulnerable state and more prone to breakage and split ends.
So, avoid high-tension hairstyles like tying your hair too lightly, twists, or braids on freshly relaxed hair. This will damage your hair and even cause damage to the hair roots.
I highly suggest waiting for 3 weeks (at least two weeks) before braiding relaxed hair.
There are ways you can prep your hair and heal it faster so that it is healthy and strong before you braid it. Let’s look into some of those methods.
I will also cover what kind of braids you can get and avoid getting if you have relaxed hair.
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How to prep relaxed hair for braiding?
1. Prepoo with coconut or olive oil
If you are using coconut oil, make sure you use fractionated coconut oil like this. You can either use coconut oil or olive oil.
Pre-pooing means you are applying a treatment to your hair before shampooing (pre-shampooing) and it’s a great way to retain a lot of moisture.
It is especially useful if:
- You have textured hair – curly/kinky hair
- You have very thick hair that is constantly dry
- You have high-porosity hair (your hair absorbs and loses moisture quickly)
Pre-pooing helps restore dry and damaged hair mainly by making it soft, moisturized, and smooth.
De-tangling becomes easier too! Think about how easy it is to detangle your hair in the shower when you have conditioner – it’s sort of the same thing.
Shampooing dries your hair – it’s a given.
And when you have relaxed hair, moisture is very important because moisture is what will keep your hair strong and feel less damaged.
So, how do you pre-poo relaxed hair?
When your hair is clean and dry, apply coconut oil or olive oil to your scalp.
Detangle your hair thoroughly and gently before you apply the oil – this will help the oil coat the relaxed hair strands evenly.
Divide your hair into sections and apply coconut oil/olive oil to your hair. Start with the hair strands first and lastly apply the oil to your scalp.
Lastly, apply a little bit on your scalp, and using your fingers, lightly make circular motions along the whole of your scalp – this will help stimulate blood circulation to your scalp and help make absorption easier.
Leave it for anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before washing it with a clarifying shampoo.
2. Use a clarifying shampoo
When using a shampoo after pre-poo or even regularly, make sure you use a clarifying shampoo that removes the excess build-up of oil and products but doesn’t dry out your hair or strip your hair of moisture.
This will help your relaxed hair retain as much moisture as possible and stay clean after shampooing.
I’ve talked about this clarifying shampoo many times before and I haven’t found a better one than this.
You can get the shampoo + conditioner bundle. It’s amazing for damaged, chemically treated, or colored hair.
3. Deep condition your hair
After shampooing or cleaning your hair, use a deep conditioner that especially hydrates, moisturizes, and repairs relaxed hair.
This is by far one of the best deep conditioning masks for relaxed black hair.
4. Apply a leave-in
Now that your hair is clean and moisturized, you can add a leave-in that strengthens your hair and repairs it.
I suggest using the Cantu Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment with Shea Butter. This contains shea butter and almond oil that not only strengthens relaxed hair but also protects it from breakage.
I stand by most Cantu products and have been using Cantu for over 5 years now.
5. Lock it in with a light oil
Once you apply the leave-in to your hair, just use a light oil to lock in the moisture and prevent it from evaporating or drying off too quickly.
The more you moisturize and protect your relaxed hair, the faster it will heal and you will be able to get your braids after 2-3 weeks.
6. Let your hair air dry
Please don’t use heat (flat iron or hairdryer) on relaxed hair.
Since your aim is to get braids, you want to minimize damage and let it heal naturally.
The best way is to air dry your relaxed or transitioning hair.
What kind of braids can I get with relaxed hair to minimize damage?
You can get medium to big box braids with no issues. You won’t have much frizz since you are braiding relaxed hair.
But I highly recommend waiting at least 3 weeks before you braid your relaxed hair.
Big braids are definitely way better than small or medium ones. Small braids of any kind should be avoided at all costs – because this causes a lot of strain and tension to relaxed hair.
Relaxed hair is already very weak so you don’t want to add more strain to it.
You can get big plaits, big cornrows, big twists, etc.
This will also help you remove the braids easily.
How long can I keep braids in my relaxed hair?
I highly suggest not braiding relaxed hair regularly.
This will cause damage to your hair and thus lead to a lot of breakages.
If you braid relaxed hair, don’t keep the braids for more than 2-3 weeks. Use a braid spray like the Camille Rose Braid and Scalp Spray (to completely dry hair) to keep your braids healthy and strong.
Don’t at any cost go over a month – this will really affect the strength of your hair.
When getting your hair braided, make sure that your braids are not too tight. Remember that the point where relaxed and natural hair meet is very tender and prone to breakage. So, pulling the hair and keeping the braids tight will cause breakage and hair loss straight from the roots.
This is why it is important to have big braids and not any kind of micro braids.
Once you remove the braids, you can follow the list I mentioned above which includes pre-pooing, shampooing with a clarifying shampoo, and a nice deep-conditioning treatment to heal and moisturize your relaxed hair so that it becomes naturally strong again.
What kind of braids should I avoid with relaxed hair?
1. Micro braids of any kind
This will lead to a lot of breakages especially when you’re trying to remove them due to the massive tension.
Please remember, that relaxed hair is already damaged and vulnerable to breakage so avoid micro braids.
2. Fine cornrows
Cornrows create a lot of tension for the hair on the scalp and near the hairline.
And if you are going to do fine cornrows on relaxed hair, it is going to cause hair breakage and you might even develop alopecia near the hairline.
3. Fine rope twists
Rope twists involve adding artificial hair to your own hair – and this can be very heavy to your hair.
This will cause a lot of strain on your already relaxed hair and lead to a lot of breakages.
Please watch this video to get more information on what kind of braids you should avoid on relaxed hair.