Are My Braids Too Tight? Plus How To Loosen them!

If you are someone who loves braiding your hair as a form of protective styling, I am almost sure that you have wondered at some point whether your braids are far too tight. I have done some research to help you with this, here is what I have discovered!

There are two key ways to discover whether your braids are too tight, the first sign is if you are in a substantial amount of pain for a long period of time. The second way to see if your braids are too tight is if you begin to get little pimples/lumps along your hairline. These are indicators of too much pressure on your roots.

If braids that are far too tight is definitely something that you have been battling with, I have some awesome solutions for you! Let’s get right into how you can release some of the tension caused by tight braids.

How To Loosen Tight Braids

There are definitely methods that you can use to loosen your tight braids, so there is no need for you to suffer for long periods of time.

The best way to loosen tight braids immediately is to wet a cloth with warm water, then gently rubbing the cloth along your scalp; the warm water will open your roots and allow instant pain relief. You can do this as often as you see fit. You can also cover your head with a warm cloth instead of rubbing your scalp.

Here are a few additional ways that you can loosen your tight braids.

5 Ways To Loosen Tight/Sore Braids for Relief

Do Not Tie Your Hair

Adding the tension of putting your hair up or in a hair tie might not be the best idea when already suffering from tension caused by tight hair/braids. Instead, leave your hair down for a few days. This will release pressure on your roots and scalp and could aid in easing the pain.

A Scalp Massage

What do you do when you experience muscle tension? Get a massage! The same can be very effective in relieving some of the tension on your scalp caused by tight braids.

Applying hair oil to your fingertips and gently massaging your scalp is extremely effective in releasing tension and increasing circulation and blood flow to your scalp. This is a great method for pain relief and also stimulates natural hair growth.

Apply Some Heat

You can do this by using a hair drying steamer or even a facial steamer. Steaming your scalp is also a really effective way of releasing pressure and tension caused by tight braids. The moisture from the steam is also amazing at loosening the grip of the braided hair itself.

Use Some Leave-in Conditioner

The aim of any solution is to loosen the tension build-up caused by tight braids. Leave-in conditioner can be the perfect solution for this as it softens the hair and moisturizes the scalp which is amazing for tight braids.

However, as we know, conditioner can cause build up on your scalp and this is something that you want to avoid. Instead, use very little on your fingertips or dilute your leave-in conditioner with water in a spray bottle.

Use Some Warm Water

Warm water can be extremely soothing and effective in losing tight braids. Simply take a shower and run the warm water over your head or use a jug to do the same. Try not to fiddle with your hair while you do this as it can loosen the braids too much and result in them looking old and worn. Instead, allow the water to do all the work.

Remove Your Braids

No one really wants to save up to get their hair done only to have to remove them because they are far too tight. However, sometimes this is necessary if all other methods do not work. Removing braids that are too tight is much better than losing your own hair or ending up with a receding hairline and broken hair.

Proper Communication

This method is more for avoidance than cure, as the saying goes it is better that way. Make sure that when you get your hair braided, you are as open and clear about your expectations and level of pain as possible. This will help guide your stylist to determine whether they are actually braiding too tightly and will avoid you having to take extreme measures to loosen your braids.

Change Stylists

Sometimes, no matter how much you communicate, the message never gets through to the person the way you need it to. If this is the case and your stylist just isn’t understanding the importance of having braids that are not too tight, it might be time for you to find someone new.

Having a stylist who understands your needs and your pain threshold is so important. Also, it is always important to have a stylist who understands the importance of keeping your natural hair healthy.

Are Tight Braids Bad?

Tight braids are definitely bad as the constant tugging and pulling on your roots can lead to receding hairlines, hair breakage, or permanent hair loss such as traction alopecia. So if you notice that your braids are too tight and using warm water does not ease the pain, the best thing to do is take your braids out to prevent hair damage.

Here are some of the negative effects of tight braids:

Receding Hairline

The hair along your hairline is the most fragile hair on your scalp. This hair is commonly known as your edges or baby hairs. When braiding hair, stylists often pulls at this hair quite tightly.

Although it creates a very neat and put-together look for the wearer, applied tension to your hairline can cause major breakage and damage to the hair follicles that may result in a receding hairline.

This, together with the weight of the braids can be detrimental to your hairline. A receding hairline happens to actually be a common experience for women who braid their hair often.

Hair breakage

Hair strength varies from person to person and is dependent on many factors. One of the most important factors is moisture.

Natural hair that is not properly moisturized, doesn’t receive sufficient breathing time (a break from extensive styling) and sufficient nutrients are definitely prone to breakage. Wearing heavy braids that are applied too tightly could definitely be the perfect combination for sufficient hair breakage.

Tension alopecia

Alopecia is a condition that displays itself as hair loss for anyone suffering from it. It is when the immune system attacks hair follicles and results in patches/hair loss. However, tension alopecia is a different strain of alopecia and is caused by tension to the hair follicles resulting in patches and balding.

This can easily be caused by braids that are far too tight due to the amount of strain that this places on the hair follicles themselves. Although there are methods to treat alopecia, there is no definite cure. In this case, prevention is definitely better than finding a cure!

Related Questions

How do you loosen tight braids overnight?

Other than drinking water to hydrate from within, you can likewise cover your head in a warm, wet towel for a few minutes to trap dampness. Then again, working the eraser end of a pencil under firmly bound cornrows can release them up without damaging a new sew-in.


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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