Can You Get Braids with Dirty Hair Or Need Cleaned Hair

If you’re thinking of styling your hair, the most versatile look you can go for is with a braid. Braids are guaranteed to elevate your look. However, remember the crucial step of cleaning your hair before getting that braid. 

But can you get braids with dirty hair?

Yes, you can get braids with dirty hair, but we don’t recommend that as that offers quite a few drawbacks like excessive product build-up and other hair-related issues.

Stick with us to learn more about why getting braids with dirty hair is not advisable.

Can I Braid My Hair Without Washing It

Can I Braid My Hair Without Washing It

While natural oils can make it easier to sculpt and shape your hair in any style, it’s not advisable to braid your hair when you haven’t washed it in a long time. Since your hair will be braided for a while, ensure it is clean and nourished before styling.

This is to ensure that you start with healthy and properly maintained hair before styling. 

Is It Safe to Braid Dirty Hair

Is It Safe to Braid Dirty Hair

Unwashed hair might already have product build-up in it. 

Braids, when kept in too long with product buildup, can lead to inflammation of the scalp, which is often painful. 

It can also lead to hair loss or prevent hair growth. So it’s not exactly safe to braid your dirty hair.

a. Wash Hair Before Braiding

Wash Hair Before Braiding

Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo before braiding it. Get rid of all the dirt build-up on your scalp and strands. That way, your braids will remain fresh longer, and you can keep the style longer.

This thorough wash can make your scalp dry and frizzy, so moisturize afterward. You can use a conditioner to do so and to seal in the moisture use and oil afterward.

b. Does Your Hair Have to be Wet or Damp to Braid It

Does Your Hair Have to be Wet or Damp to Braid It

Wet hair is heavier and weaker, thus making it more sensitive and prone to breakage. It could be better for braiding, especially when you’re going to be using extensions. So, while you can dampen your hair before braiding, ensure it is not dripping wet.

c. Braids For the Lazy Girl: How to Style Dirty Hair

Washing might only sometimes be an option, or let’s be honest; you might feel a little lazy sometimes. Still, want that braid? We got you. Before braiding, separate your hair into sections and spray dry shampoo on the roots, and you are good to go.

That will help reduce the greasiness and save you from a dirty-looking braid. However, the risk of too much product build-up should be kept in mind.

d. Do Braids Stay Better with Dirty Hair

Do Braids Stay Better with Dirty Hair

It might be easier to braid on dirtier hair than squeaky clean hair, but it must be kept for a short time. 

The product build-up is already there when hair is not cleaned before braiding. Keeping the braid in for too long can worsen the product build-up, leading to several other problems.

Care and maintenance are a big part of styling your hair into braids, as they get dirty over time. If your hair was already dirty before doing the braid, that adds to your concerns about taking proper care of the braid.

e. What are the Problems with Dirty Braided Hair

Problems with Dirty Braided Hair

Dirt buildup from beforehand can cause a handful of problems if the braid is done in that situation and kept in for too long. These include:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Dry, flaky skin and dandruff
  • Breakage
  • Tangled hair
  • Dull-looking braids.
  • Natural scalp elements or other products can cause build-up. When not taken care of, build-ups prevent your hair from getting the nutrition it needs. 
  • Product buildup will also suffocate your hair follicles and can pull on the hair leading to hair loss.

f. How Do I Prepare my Hair Before Braids

Prepare my Hair Before Braids

The first step before getting a braid is thoroughly cleaning the scalp and hair. You can use a clarifying shampoo to remove dirt buildup or excessive oil and massage the roots for a better feel.

Moisture lost during shampooing can be regained by using a conditioner right afterward.  You can also use a lightweight, leave-in conditioner to keep the hair hydrated.

Using oil helps lock in the moisture. Oils containing natural ingredients like avocado oil or peppermint oil are recommended.

Conditioning or moisturizing properly will ensure that there are no breakages and that the scalp does not become too dry or flaky.

g. Why It’s Important to Start with Clean Hair When Braiding

Important to Start with Clean Hair When Braiding

It’s crucial to start with clean hair when braiding. Remove the dirt, excessive oil, or product build-up before styling. This is to avoid all the problems that result from excessive product buildup.

When the hair is clean and moisturized, it’ll get the nutrients it needs. No product buildup also means there will be no inflammation of the scalp. The scalp will thus not feel as irritated, and your hair will be prone to less breakage and getting tangled up.

Hair loss due to lack of nutrition or inflammation of the scalp will also not be a problem you have to face.

h. What Products Should be Used to Braid Dirty Hair

You can use a dry shampoo at the roots of your hair before putting it into a braid. Be careful, though, hair care products like dry shampoos heighten the risk of product buildup on the scalp.


How to braid out unwashed hair?

If you haven’t washed your hair in a while but are still opting for a braid, what you can do is use a dry shampoo at the roots of your hair before braiding.

Are braids good for greasy hair? 

The natural oil from your scalp makes it easier to shape your hair into a braid. However, if the hair is too greasy, it’s inadvisable to do a braid and keep it in for too long because of the risks of product build-up.


In conclusion, to answer the question can you get braids with dirty hair?

We’ll say that braiding your hair when it is greasy or dirty can be a trick but cheap. While the grease will help keep the braid in good shape initially, if you intend to keep it for too long, you are taking quite a risk.

Keeping braids for too long without proper care already leads to a risk of product build-up. Add that to the pre-existing dirt or product build-up from not washing your hair before getting the braid, it’d make a disastrous potion.

Keeping aside the unhealthy condition you’re putting your scalp and hair in by not washing it before braiding, it’s essential to note that such conditions also make the braid look dull. Thus not making but breaking your look instead.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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