Why Are My Braids Sticking Up: The Downsides of Braiding

Braids, when done and maintained correctly, can elevate your look. However, when it comes to maintaining your desired braid, there might be many hurdles. 

Almost everyone trying to style a braid has faced one such situation: the “Why are my braids sticking up?”. 

When your hair becomes dry and frizzy due to a lack of moisture, it tends to become stiff. This stiffness of the hair then results in your braids “sticking up” and ruining your look.

So let’s look at what ‘braids sticking up’ really is and what can be done to help if you find yourself in this situation.

What Are “Braids Sticking Up” and Why Do They Happen

What Are “Braids Sticking Up

Often a desired braid can turn into a disaster. You want the perfect braids that look healthy and soft with a touch of shine. But the braids turned out to be stiff, dry, and coarse. 

In this case, the braid might stick up, as in the braid that is supposed to lay smooth and flat, stiffens, curl towards the end, and sticks up against the gradient, or the hair from the braids might stick out. Let’s be honest; this is different from the look you were going for. 

The main reason braids tend to stick up is because of dryness or frizziness. Tension at the root of the braids as a result of braids being too tight and the stiffening up of the hair also contribute to it. Reasons why your braid might become dry and stiff: 

  • Lack of moisture
  • Over-washing
  • Not detangling
  • Using the wrong products (styling products like gels)
  • Braids and hair strain: It’s important to note that constant hair strain, especially when braiding too tightly or for extended periods, can lead to dryness, stiffness, and the dreaded sticking up of braids.

Do Braids Loosen Up Over Time

Braids loosen over time, but like all things, it is a process. Moisturizing your hair correctly or frequently oiling over a specific period is guaranteed to loosen up excessively tight braids.  

Types of Braids That Are Prone to “Sticking Up”

Types of Braids That Are Prone to "Sticking Up

Braids kept in for long periods are more prone to “sticking up,” as maintenance for reasons such as failure to properly moisturize them, and keeping them clean can get tricky after a few weeks. The following is a list of braids that are prone to sticking up:

  • Box Braids.
  • French braids.
  • Cornrows.

Strategies for Keeping Braids Neat and Tidy

Strategies for Keeping Braids Neat and Tidy

Natural hair experts, like Donal Perry, have come up with tips that will help you keep your braids neat: 

  • Braids should be washed frequently.
  • Scalp should be moisturized.
  • Redo the edges of your braid to keep them in longer.
  • Cover the hair with a scarf or cloth when going to bed.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles.
  • Don’t wear braids for too long.

How to Style Braids After They Have “Stuck Up”

How to Style Braids After They Have “Stuck Up”

Braids can look untidy when they are “stuck up.” They’ll completely ruin your look. To re-style braids that have “stuck up,” apply a braid or hair spray over the hair sticking up and put them back in place using a comb. 

How to Get Your Braid to Lay Flat

Hair products like gels, mousse, or sprays will come in handy once hair from your braid is sticking up, but you want to keep it on. These hair products help moisturize the hair and fight humidity, so your hair doesn’t stick out but falls flat instead.

Solutions for Sticky Braids

Solutions for Sticky Braids

With styled braids, hair sticks out at the point where the natural hair ends, and the extension starts. There are solutions to fix such stick braids: 

  • Add accessories to hide the ends that are sticking out
  • Mold your hair back to the braid using hair products such as gels or hairsprays.
  • For most natural results, use a crochet ledge and weave the hair back to the braid. 

Tips for Preventing Braids from Sticking Up

Tips for Preventing Braids from Sticking Up

To prevent your braids from sticking up, it is essential to ensure that the hair doesn’t become dry, frizzy, or stiff. Follow these instructions to avoid dryness:

  • Before and after styling the braids, apply a natural moisturizer. Oiling the hair could be a great way to moisten the scalp and hair. It prevents the hair from drying out.
  • Avoid washing the hair too frequently. Washing or shampooing the hair regularly can lead to dryness. Try using a gentler shampoo twice a week if the hair appears dry.
  • Know what products to use on the hair. Overuse of styling products like gel can dry out the hair. Be attentive when buying hair care products, and go for sulfate-free products.
  • Detangle the hair frequently.

How Do You Hide the Hair Sticking Out of Braids?

How Do You Hide the Hair Sticking Out of Braids

Synthetic hair should be used while doing the braid. Towards the end of the braid, where the hair starts to thin out, synthetic hair should be added so that the hair does not stick out. Make sure the natural hair is covered by synthetic hair.

Can You Trim Your Hair in Braids

Yes, hair sticking out from the braid towards the bottom can be trimmed using scissors. To do so, please follow the steps mentioned:

  • Start from the top of your braided strands.
  • Move to one side of your locks and then the other to get all the hair “sticking up”
  • Ensure that your scissors aren’t to close to your braids
How Do I Trim My Braids

Avoid taking the scissors too close to the braid and gently cut off or trim the hair sticking out. Don’t trim your own braids, as you might accidentally cut your hair or not be able to trim as needed. Instead, get someone else to trim it for you. 

Afterward, dip the braids in hot water. This is to keep the ends straight and prevent them from becoming frizzy. 


How do I keep my braids from sticking up

To keep braids from sticking up, you can use a non-greasy styling product, like a light oil or hairspray, and gently smooth down any unruly hairs.

Why aren’t my braids flat?

Braids may not lay flat if they are too tight or if the hair is not properly detangled and smoothed before braiding.

How long does it take for braids to lay?

The time it takes for braids to lay flat depends on the thickness and texture of your hair, but it usually takes a few days to a week for braids to settle and lay flat.

How do you sleep with braids so they don’t bend?

To sleep with braids without bending them, you can use a silk or satin bonnet or scarf to protect your braids and prevent friction while you sleep.

What does mousse do for braids?

Mousse can help to add hold and control to braids, reducing frizz and flyaways and helping them to stay in place for longer.

How do you stop braid flyaways?

To stop braid flyaways, you can use a small amount of a lightweight styling product, like a hair gel or serum, and gently smooth down the flyaways with your fingers or a soft brush.

Is it normal for braids to loosen up?

It’s normal for braids to loosen up slightly over time due to movement and hair growth, but you can use bobby pins or additional styling products to secure them if needed.

Can hair grow while in braids?

Yes, hair can grow while in braids, as long as they are not too tight and do not cause tension or breakage on the hair shaft.

How do you get rid of buildup in your hair?

To get rid of buildup in your hair, you can use a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar rinse to remove excess product and debris that may accumulate on the scalp and hair.

Why does my scalp bump up with braids?

Bumps on the scalp with braids can be caused by tension, allergic reactions to styling products, or an uneven distribution of weight from the braids. Loosening the braids or using a soothing scalp treatment can help.

Why do my braids look weird?

Braids may look weird if they are not evenly spaced, if the hair is not properly detangled, or if the braids are too tight or too loose.

Why do my braids have so many flyaways?

Flyaways in braids can be caused by hair that is not properly smoothed down during the braiding process, or due to natural hair texture. Using a lightweight styling product or water to smooth down the flyaways can help.

What can I put in my hair to stop flyaways?

To stop flyaways in your hair, you can use a small amount of a smoothing serum, hair oil, or hairspray to tame the unruly hairs and give them a smoother appearance.

Why is my hair frizzing out of my braids?

Frizzing out of braids can be caused by humidity, hair texture, or lack of proper moisture. Using a moisturizing product, like a leave-in conditioner or hair oil, can help combat frizz and keep braids looking neater.


In conclusion, styling your hair in braids can be a high-maintenance task with several hurdles, one of them being that braids themselves or often the hair from braids tend to stick out or stick up. Concerns of “why are my braids sticking up” thus become inevitable.

While it can hinder getting that desired look, solutions are relatively easy to achieve. Such problems, however, can be avoided if attention is paid from the beginning. Sticking up of braids can easily be prevented by ensuring the hair doesn’t become dry or frizzy. 

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!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *