How to Soften Your New Braids So They’re More Comfortable

Sometimes, you may find braids to be a bit tight at first. It happens to many people. 

So how do you soften new braids to make them more comfortable? It is easy! All you need to do is wet a cloth with lukewarm water and gently massage it against your scalp. Additionally, you can place a warm, wet towel over your head and massage your scalp. After that, pat your mane dry with a microfiber towel.

Doing so, you will have softer, more comfortable braids. There are other interesting things to know regarding braids. And you can only learn them by reading this blog till the end. 

Synthetic hair has a tendency to be stiff and plasticky

Synthetic hair has a tendency to be stiff and plasticky

Synthetic hair is durable, easy to maintain, and usually cheaper than human hair extensions. But one downside is that this can be very stiff and plasticky. Therefore, it might become difficult to keep your braids looking neat and comfortable over time.

Synthetic hair is made of man-made fibers that mimic the look and feel of human hair. These fibers are designed to be durable and long-lasting.

However, it also means they don’t have the same softness or flexibility as natural hair. As a result, synthetic braids tend to get stiffer and more uncomfortable than natural hair.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep synthetic braids soft. You can apply conditioners and oils to them. Along with that, you should wash synthetic hair regularly. This will eventually make them more comfortable to wear. With a little bit of effort, you can make your synthetic braids look and feel like new again. 

reasons braids become stiff and uncomfortable after a few days of getting them installed

reasons braids become stiff and uncomfortable after a few days of getting them installed

Yes, it is natural that braids will become stiff over time. Then, they will feel uncomfortable as well. There are various reasons for this, but the followings are the most common ones,

1. Poor braid installation

If the braids are not installed properly, they can become tight and pull on the scalp, causing discomfort.

2. Too much product used

Overusing products such as gel, oil, and hairspray can make the hair stiff and uncomfortable to wear.

3. Sweating

Sweat and dirt can build up on the scalp. This can make the braids feel stiff and uncomfortable.

4. Lack of moisturizing

Not properly moisturizing your braids can cause them to dry out, making them stiff and uncomfortable.

Several ways to soften your synthetic braids

Several ways to soften your synthetic braids

As we have said earlier, there are various ways to keep synthetic braids soft. Perhaps, you can apply any of the following methods to soften it.

1. Braid spray for softening and soothing your hair and scalp

Using a braid spray specially formulated for synthetic hair is an effective way to soften your braids. Look for a braid spray with natural oils and conditioning ingredients, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or shea butter.

Spray the product on your scalp and hair. Then, gently rub it in with your fingers to distribute it evenly.

2. Hot towels help to soften and loosen braids

Wet a washcloth with lukewarm water and gently massage it against your scalp. Otherwise, you can place a warm, wet towel over your head and massage your scalp. Once complete, wipe your hair dry with a soft cloth or microfiber towel, and your braids should have a looser feel.

3. Using fabric softener on synthetic braids helps make them softer

Mix fabric softener and warm water together in a large bowl or bucket. Soak your braids in the mixture for 20-30 minutes, then rinse out the solution with cool water.

4. Hot water and apple cider vinegar help soften synthetic braids

Fill a basin with hot water and add two cups of apple cider vinegar. Let the braids soak in the solution for 15-20 minutes, then rinse out with cool water.

Please Note – 

Be careful when softening synthetic braids with hot water.

5. Hot Air Brush

Use a hot air brush to give your braids a softer texture. Set the heat to low or medium. Then, use gentle strokes to dry and style your braids.

6. Conditioner

The fibers of synthetic braids will become softer and more moisturized when conditioner is applied.

After shampooing the braids, apply a conditioner, and work it through the length of your braids. Allow the conditioner to sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.

Washing your hair helps soften stiff synthetic braids

Washing your hair helps soften stiff synthetic braids

One of the most effective and popular ways to soften stiff synthetic braids is to wash your hair.

You should always use the right shampoo and conditioner so that you don’t damage the braid. For this, opt for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners that are specifically designed for synthetic hair. 

When you’re ready to wash, start by soaking the braids thoroughly with lukewarm water. Then, add a small amount of shampoo directly to the braids. Use your fingers or a comb with wide teeth to finish it off. Make sure to gently massage the scalp.

It is preferable to condition each braid separately after washing. From root to tip, you should go through it. You can leave the conditioner in for up to 20 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.

What should you do after applying conditioner or co-wash on the synthetic braid

What should you do after applying conditioner or co-wash on the synthetic braid

You must thoroughly rinse any conditioner or co-wash off of your synthetic braid after applying it.

Use cool or lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as this can cause the synthetic hair to become brittle and eventually break. 

While in the shower, untangle the synthetic hair using a wide-tooth comb or your fingers. Make sure to be gentle as you work your way up toward the roots of your hair from the tips.

Use a microfiber towel to squeeze away any extra water after you have finished rinsing. Allow the braid to air dry once everything is finished.

How should you dry the braids after washing them

How should you dry the braids after washing them

After washing your braids, the best way to dry them is by using a microfiber towel and gently dabbing them.

Avoid rubbing them harshly against your scalp, as this can cause breakage. Just be gentle and do it properly to avoid damaging synthetic hair. 

Once you have patted them dry with the towel, allow them to air-dry for a few hours before styling. If you need to speed up the process, you can use a hooded dryer or a blow dryer on the cool setting. Be careful not to heat the braids too much, as this can damage the hair fibers.

How long does it usually take to soften braids for most people

How long does it usually take to soften braids for most people

The amount of time it takes to soften braids will depend on the type and texture of the hair. Generally, if you have taken the necessary steps (such as washing and conditioning your braids), they should start to soften quickly. 

However, depending on the type and thickness of your braids, it can take up to a week or more to reach a comfortable level of softness. While it normally takes two or three days, some people may easily soften the braids in a matter of hours.  With tight box braids, it often takes 1 to 2 days until you notice relief.

If your braids still feel uncomfortable after that amount of time, then you might need to use an additional product. For example, a detangling spray or a leave-in conditioner. You can also take a painkiller to tolerate the strain on your hair if it takes too long.


Does hot water make braids lighter?

Hot water can make braids lighter by softening the ends and tamping down frizz. This can be done by boiling a pot of hot water and using a towel to apply the hot water to your braids.

Does dipping braids in hot water damage hair?

No, dipping braids in hot water does not damage hair. Hot water can actually help to seal the ends of braids, clean them up, and soften the tips, making the braids last longer. It is important to be careful when dipping braids in hot water, and it can be helpful to apply a moisturizing and conditioning mousse after dipping for extra protection.

Are sulfate-free shampoos better for your braids?

Yes, sulfate-free shampoos are better for your braids. Sulfate-free shampoo is gentler on your hair and will not strip it of its natural oils. It is also better at preserving the moisture in your hair, which is important for keeping your braids looking healthy and hydrated.

Can you massage your scalp with braids?

Yes, you can massage your scalp with braids to help loosen them. To do so, use your fingertips and move your hands in a circular motion to adjust their placement.

Is cold water good for braids?

No, cold water is not good for braids. Cold water will not seal the ends of the braids together, and it won’t help to clean up the style the way hot water will.

Can I use coconut oil on my braids?

Yes, you can use coconut oil on your braids. Mack recommends using SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Finishing Oil Serum as it’s lightweight, penetrates the hair well, and adds a nice shine.

Which is better human hair or synthetic for braids?

When it comes to braids, it depends on the individual and the style they are looking to achieve. For achieving a more natural look, human hair is the best option. However, if bright colors are desired, synthetic hair is often a better option due to its affordability and longer-lasting color.

Additionally, synthetic hair is often lighter, reducing the weight on the scalp, which can be beneficial for those with thin and weak hair. Ultimately, it is important to ensure the hair is well-prepared, extensions are of the same size and length, and division of hair on the scalp can sustain the weight of the braid before installation.

Let’s Wrap it Up 

Softening your new synthetic braids is crucial to maintaining the longevity of your protective style. Applying the above procedures can also help to loosen your braids. Your synthetic braids should last for weeks with the proper style if you follow these simple instructions. 

Washing your braids with a good shampoo and conditioner can help to soften them. Most people notice their braids becoming softer after one or two washes. If you don’t experience any changes, you may want to use a specialized braid conditioner.

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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