Box Braid Issues


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Box braids seem like such a carefree, no pain, no hassle way to keep hair protected for a few weeks. Honestly, when I got them, I didn’t anticipate any negatives. All I had to do was keep my hair moisturised but it wasn’t to be….                                               
 For work the one day, I decided to put my braids in a mid-high bun. By the end of the day, I couldn’t understand where the pain in my scalp was coming from. I’m a little tender headed, but I don’t ever remember having any pain on my scalp, that when I touch it, it hurts. So a little worried, I tried loosening up my braids, with little relief. Even when I got home and undid the braid bun, my scalp was still sore. Another issue I had to deal with, was an itchy scalp, which I had foreseen happening. 

So this is how I dealt with my box braid issues:
 Sore scalp

  • Realised that the braid bun was a horrible idea not so great for my head. The hairstyle and it’s weight stresses my scalp even when its not tight.
  • Made a spritz of 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to 2 cups water mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil, sprayed it onto my scalp and massaged my head with the pads of my fingers. Apple cider vinegar, has many uses due to it’s healing and clarifying properties. The pain had disappeared within a few hours of using this spritz.
  • Moisturised my hair after this, with a mixture of water, a little glycerine and leave in conditioner.

Itchy scalp

  • I again used my apple cider vinegar spritz to clarify and remove whatever buildup I had. (Note that apple cider vinegar can make hair feel dry due to its clarifying and cleansing properties, so make sure to moisturise afterwards.)
  • Mixed a few drops of tea tree oil with some castor oil, and applied it to my scalp. I massaged my scalp and the itchiness was gone!

Other issues of which, thankfully, I didn’t have:

Overly tight braids

  • You will realise your braids are too tight, when there is a lot of pain or/and there are little bumps around your hairline.
  • Try loosening them by running warm water through your braids concentrating on the scalp, then with an oil, such as coconut oil, try manually loosening them.
  • Remove them. Seems drastic, but to prevent damage to your hair follicles, hair loss and traction alopecia, this might have to be done. Oh, then never go back to whoever did your hair that tightly.
  • Remember your hairline is way more important than a style.

Excessive dryness

  • It’s easy to think that taking care of hair in box braids just entails oiling or greasing the scalp, but this often can make the scalp’s pores blocked causing more dryness.
  • Our hair LOVES water. It is the best moisturiser. That is why the best moisturising products contain AQUA as the first ingredient. Make sure you are moisturising your hair with water in a spritz or use a moisturising product, including on to the braid where your hair is.

With that said, a lot of issues that come with box braids are to do with upkeep. Not taking care of your hair, not cleaning and moisturising it properly while it’s braided. Oiling or greasing the scalp directly with products which contain petrolatum, lanolin, etc that promote buildup and don’t moisturise the hair.


Categories: My hair, Protective Styles | Tags: , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Box Braid Issues

  1. goddessbodyfitness

    Great article, I had all of these problems this December with my hip-length yarn braids. They also made my ends very frayed and broken from rubbing against the yarn. After six weeks I LOST GROWTH!! Girl I coulda cried!! I thought I was doing something wrong. Im sticking to box braids with my hair after reading this. Thanks!

    • Wow! Hip length yarn braids? I had them last year, but mine were just shoulder length. I wanted longer ones but while installing I just got tired (arm cramps). I actually didn’t have many problems with mine and wanted to get them again soon.
      Oh that’s horrible about losing growth. Did you use 100% acrylic yarn? Yarn can be very drying as well.
      But yes, box braids are fool proof if taken care of properly.

      • goddessbodyfitness

        Yes, the yarn was acrylic, I think that did make it drying because I moisturized my hair nightly. I wonder if box braids with normal braiding hair is better? Who knows. I think Ill stick to my braids with no extensions!!

      • I’m learning that the extensions used in the hair really makes a difference, normal braiding hair with the right extensions I would think are also better than using yarn. You definately can’t go wrong with braiding your hair without extensions, though, if you take care of your hair well…

      • goddessbodyfitness

        Its definitely been helping to do my braids with no extensions, and I always see about an inch of growth after 4 weeks!! Im an advocate now, lol. Have you tried them?

      • No, I haven’t but definately will, you’ve convinced me, lol…

  2. I found this page very helpful because I am actually getting box braids in the next 3 weeks and now I know to come to this page l if I’m having problems with my box braids!!!💆

  3. Hi. Awesome post. I take care of my box braids by spritzing with leave-in conditioner every other day and massaging my scalp with coconut oil and Shea butter for moisture. A great tip from me is to prevent tying up the braids too tightly to prevent your hair from breaking off especially at the edges. I will be putting up a post on the benefits of coconut oil soon so you can visit my blog here: Thank you.

  4. Box braids have forever been my enemy because I have thin hair and the stress around my edges has always resulted in my hair pulling out 😦 I have recently started doing box braids again but more carefully this time; meaning bigger sections so that the edges aren’t too stressed by the weight and also insisting that my sister braid as loose as possible! I also have been using Marley hair which I find is a lot lighter. The one thing you never want to do is pull your braids into a bun within the fist few days! Guaranteed headache!!! I, too, moisturize daily with a DIY mix of water, oil and a little leave-in conditioner and oil my scalp w/ either coconut or castor oil or whipped shea butter. Box braids are an awesome protective style but only if it is working in your favor. Next time, share a pic of your tresses 🙂 (I was curious!)

    • I definately will show a picture next time I get them done. I made the mistake of letting my hairdresser convince me to get smaller than usual box braids, a few weeks ago. Box braids, I find for my hair, are a great protective style if done properly, so I totally agree with you. I ended up undoing the parts near my edges to prevent damage 😦

  5. Elizabeth

    I needed this post! I’m 6.5 months into my transition and decided to get box braids a couple of weeks ago as a protective style for the winter. My head hasn’t stopped itching and I’ve never had itchy scalp issues! I think it’s largely due to the greasy product the hairstylist used after installing my braids. It’s causing build up and flakes (another issue I’ve never had prior to now). I’m definitely trying this ACV rinse this weekend. I hope it helps!

    • I hate having scalp issues :-(… All the best with ACV rinse, hope it helps you. It’s definately my go-to with scalp issues.

  6. Sarah

    Thanks for this Post. I just put some box braids in my hair about a week ago and my scalp hasn’t stopped itching since!!! Hopefully this helps!

  7. Kiaraa

    I’ve Heard The Alkaline In The Hair Weave Is What Causes The Itchiness (If That’s A Word) But I’ve Had Box Braids And Senegalese Twist And I’ve Never Experienced Any Type Of Itchiness Or Pain Likee This…. I Honestly Don’t Know What To Do.. It’s Been 3 Days… And I Don’t Wanna Waste My Money And Take Them Out But I Will If Necessary

    • Oh really? Itchy scalp is horrible, tea tree and castor oils were a lifesaver for me, hope I never experience anything worse.

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