Braiding is an excellent protective style. It has its list of pros and cons but still works as an assistant for your hair styling as you’re done with your hair if you’re done with your braids.
As braiding is a bit complex task, there are always a set of questions that revolve around it. One of them is, whether should I straighten my hair before going with a particular type of braid. This is a pretty common yet fundamental query that needs to be taken care of.
So, in this article, we will discuss whether you should go with hair straightening or not before doing braids. Let’s start the ride.
To Straight or Not to Straight
Let’s start our discussion by addressing the elephant in the room. Yes, there is a lot of confusion about whether hair should be straightened or not before braiding among people. And this confusion is quite valid as overall hair health should be prioritized.
The plain answer to this question is, no, you shouldn’t straighten your hair before braiding. The thing is, straightening hair before braiding may give you some benefits but in the long run or even for the short-term game, it’s very much unhealthy for your hair. That why, experts don’t recommend hair straightening before braiding.
Downfalls of Hair Straightening Before Braiding
Now that we know that hair shouldn’t be straightened before braiding, let’s get to know about some of the downfalls that this action brings to your hair’s health.
1. The issue with heating tools
Heating tools are the very first thing that you will come in the contract when it comes to straightening your hair. And this is the real troublemaker here. Using heat tools puts extra heat on hair which has a lot of negative impacts.
For example, extra heat damages the hair cuticles. Usually, hair cuticles are a barrier that stands to care for the hair strands. But when you put heat using heating tools, the hair cuticles get heavily damaged leading to breakage, split ends, and frizzing. In fact, textured hair is already vulnerable to dryness and when extra heat is given to this category of hair, they prone to breakage more.
High temperature also leads to the breaking of hair’s hydrogen bonds which makes hair’s ability to be shaped properly more fragile. Also, the moisture level of hair also gets lessened due to excessive heat from heating tools.
Not just that, hair straightening with heating tools also makes the braiding process more toilsome. When it comes to doing braids with coily, kinky, or curly hair, it’s a bit easier to get a good grip because the texture that this hair type has helps a lot.
But when adding extra heat, the texture level decreases making the hair silkier. This leads to a slippery grip and loose braids.
2. Loss of Hair
The next big issue that hair straightening brings is the pain of hair loss. When you straighten your hair using a hair tool before braiding, it makes the shaft of your hair weak. This leads to hair breakage and hair loss.
Also, when you finally end up doing braids with straightened hair, the braid itself put extra pressure on tension on overall health. This also makes increases the amount of hair fall.
3. Dryness of Hair
Another downfall of hair straightening is that it dries the hair. There is a natural oil on our hair that keeps the hair moist. When extra heat is given, this natural hair oil gets dried and the moisture level lessens. This causes the hair to get dry and frizzy.
Things to Consider Before Hair Straightening And Getting Braids
Though hair straightening before braiding is highly disliked and not recommended, for many people it can become a necessary move. Despite having a good set of cons, many people may end up going with this option due to their needs or preferences. That’s why, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind.
1. Deep condition your hair
The very first precaution that you should take is to deep condition your hair on a regular basis. This move is something that you should go with for a long time. It’s not a precaution, rather it’s a habit or something like that.
So, deep conditioning your hair is a must. This will enhance the moisture level of your hair than before. Use good quality conditioner that has emollients, moisturizing oil, and things like that.
2. Use the right set of tools
Now let’s talk about the heating tools. It’s a must that you get a set of good-quality tools for straightening your hair. Don’t go for cheaper options if they don’t ensure quality. Try to use a flat iron that has ceramic plates built in. Because ceramic plates cause less damage to hair.
3. Use a heat protectant
While straightening your hair, always use a heat protectant. This is something that prevents the extra heat so that the hair strands get a bit less damaged.
3. Don’t overdo it
Straighten your hair till it’s needed. Don’t overdo it. The lesser you use your heating tool, the better. This rule also applies even if you use a heat protectant while straightening. Because at the end of the day, heating tools bring a lot of hazards.
Alternatives to Hair Straightening Before Braiding
As we already know that hair shouldn’t be straightened before braiding let’s get to know about some of the alternatives that we can go with so that we can get almost similar kinds of results.
1. Blow drying
One of the very few alternatives for hair straightening is simply blow-drying your hair. To go with that, first, divide your hair into 4-5 sections. After that get a good quality blow dryer and start blow drying in a minimum heat.
Blow dry each section separately. You can even use a brush while drying to make sure that the hair is stretched in a better way. You can also comb your hair to get rid of knots and tangles after blow drying.
Another alternative is banding. To stretch your hair with banding, first, divide your hair into 4-5 sections. When you are done dividing your hair, at the bottom or root of every section, put an elastic or rubber band. Make sure you don’t do it too tightly.
After that, pull every section of hair in a tight manner and stretch it. And next, wrap a couple of hair ties to the end point of each section of hair.
The good part is, the process of banding can be done with both dry and wet hair.
How to Achieve Clean-Looking Braids Without Hair Straightening
You might be wondering whether it’s even possible to have clean-looking braids without straightening the hair in the first place. Well, it is possible. All you have to do is follow fewer steps in the first place so that their outcome can give you a better braiding experience. Let’s dive into that.
1. Wash your hair
So the very first task that you need to handle is the basic one and that is washing your hair. This is the very first that has to be done properly. You will need a cleaner scalp and there is no better way other than washing your hair for getting that.
However, don’t forget to use good quality shampoo and conditioner in the cleaning process.
2. Dry your hair
After getting done with washing, get yourself a good quality towel and start to dry your hair. Do the whole drying process gently so that there is no extra pressure on the hair. Make sure you dry out all the water from your hair.
3. Apply leave-in conditioner
When you are done drying your hair, this is the time for the next step and that is applying a leave-in conditioner. In this regard, make sure to get a good quality product. Also, apply a good amount of conditioner to your whole hair.
After applying the leave-in conditioner, you need to let your hair stay that way for a longer period of time. You can even go to sleep in that condition. After a couple of hours, start detangling your hair.
Use a good quality stable brush so that you can properly detangle your hair. Detangle in a gentler way otherwise there will be extra pressure on the scalp that can be damaging.
5. Now, braid!
So, now that you are done with all the prerequisite steps, start braiding. This time you will get a much cleaner look with your braids. Get professional help if needed.
Benefits of Braids Made with Straightened Hair
We already know almost all the demerits of hair straightening before getting braids. But it has a fewer pros and for that reason, a lot of people still prefer doing that despite knowing the risky side. Let’s get to know about some of those good aspects of straightening your hair.
1. Easy braiding
The very first benefit that hair straightening gives is that the whole braiding process gets a bit easier. The whole hair gets a bit neater than before which gives an added advantage for the braider. As the hair is straight, you get a good grip and can braid more smoothly and the job gets more fluid.
2. Neater Look
Straightening the hair gives a more neater and vibrant look as the hair is more organized and smooth. It can be a very big deal for a lot of people. Usually, you don’t get that level of neater look unless you stretch or straighten it.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Straightening may seem a lucrative move for a lot of people but it has its demerits that are worthy enough to be avoided. That’s why, don’t go with something that can harm the health of your hair unless it’s extremely necessary.
So! We are almost at the end of our discussion. We hope that we have answered the million-dollar question which is whether you should straighten your hair or not before braiding with clarity.
It was a research-based move from our side and we tried our best to help you out and add value. Thank you for being with us. Wishing you all the very best.