Do Braids Hurt? Plus 7 Ways To Beat The Pain!

It’s a common opinion that braids are meant to hurt, and I am pretty sure that anyone looking into braiding their hair for the first time can be quite discouraged by this! If you’re one of those I’ve decided to get to the bottom of this, and here’s what I learned.

Braids are not meant to hurt, especially not while they are being put in. Like most hairstyles, it is common for your head to feel tender at the beginning of the process. However, if the pain persists then it may be a sign that your braids are too tight or too heavy, and this can be damaging to your hair and scalp if you do not take action soon.

If you are experiencing pain after having braids put in, then take action now to prevent any lasting damage to your hair! Keep reading to learn how you can get rid of pain once and for all from braids, so you can rock them pain-free.

7 Ways That You Can Get Rid Of Pain Caused By Braids

The best way to get rid of the pain caused by braids is to avoid wearing your braids up in high ponytails or other styles that will further pull on your roots. This will only make your roots and scalp more sensitive; hence, I recommend you wait a few days for your scalp to adjust to the additional weight before styling your braids.

Braids! Sore/Tender? Tips to Relief!

Here are a few methods that you can try to get rid of any pain caused by braids:

1. Pain Tablets

This one is practically a given! Whenever we experience any sort of pain, the first thing we tend to reach for is pain killers. In this case, it is not the worst idea. Although it won’t be a set cure, taking something for pain and getting some rest could be a great way to deal with the pain for a short period of time.

2. Head Massage

Massaging your head is a great way to improve circulation and blood flow to your head and release any tension build-up. Most times, the pain that you may experience after braiding your hair is actually caused by tension.

Finding a method, like massaging your head to release tension, could be the perfect solution. Simply dip your fingertips in some natural hair oil and gently press against your scalp.

3. Apply Some Heat

Heat is a great way to release tension from your head as well. This can be done by simply blowing a hairdryer over your head. However, one of the most effective methods is using a steamer. The moisture from the steam is a great way to loosen the braids a bit.

4. Use Some Leave-in Conditioner

As most of us know, conditioner is a great tool to soften and moisturize your hair. It is also great at loosening tight braids. This can be done by creating a solution with water in a spray bottle and spraying your roots, or applying very little to the tips of your fingers and rubbing it into your roots and scalp.

5. Warm Water

As we have previously mentioned, heat is really awesome when it comes to loosening tight braids. Hot or warm water has the same effect. Although it is well known that water can make your braids look untidy, if you just run the water over your head, it shouldn’t have that effect.

6. Damp Cloth

A damp cloth is like a combination of the steaming method and using warm water. Both the steam and the warm water are great at loosening tight braids. This is why a warm, damp cloth could be the most effective solution. Simply rinse a cloth in hot water, squeeze it out as much as possible, and place it over your head. Leave it there until you feel some relief.

7. Removing Your Braids

In some cases, none of the aforementioned methods are effective in loosening braids and getting rid of the pain caused by them. This might mean that in order for you to get any kind of relief, you’ll have to remove them.

How To Treat Your Scalp After Tight Braids

The quickest way to treat and soothe your scalp if your braids are too tight is to wet a facecloth with warm water and gently rubbing your scalp with it as warm water opens your pores, which will help ease some of the tension on your roots. That said, you can do this as many times as needed to relieve scalp pain from tight braids.

Let’s take a look at other ways to treat and ease scalp pain from tight braids:

Take a Break From Braids

The best way to give your scalp and natural hair sufficient time to heal is to take a break from braiding. This will allow for time to properly care for your scalp and hair and remove the pressure and tension that has and could potentially cause more damage.

Wear Your Hair Down

Braids, in their own capacity, add a level of tension and pressure to your head and scalp. This is actually increased when you style your braids. The most common forms of styling braids are ponytails and buns.

Both of these hairstyles are known for causing tension to your roots due to the hair tie. Adding this tension to pre-existing tension caused by the braids could be a recipe for disaster.

Cleanse & Moisturize

Proper care is essential for the overall health of your hair and scalp. If you have been battling with tight braids, it is possible that you could have obtained scalp sores and lumps, due to the tension.

It is essential to keep any sores clean and disinfected. If you do not maintain cleanliness on an open wound, you could end up with infections and weird smells coming from your scalp.

Following a similar approach is extremely important with your hair when trying to restore it after damage caused by tight braids. It is important to keep your hair moisturized, clean, and in hairstyles that do not cause tension to your hair follicles. This, together with sufficient breathing time, could do wonders for your damaged hair!

In the future, after having treated the damage caused, it is extremely important to take preventative measures to ensure that you never have to experience the same damage.

You can do this by regularly cleansing and moisturizing your scalp while your hair is braided. Simply apply a moisturizer along the paths of your hair and massage it into your scalp. Water is also the best solution. Regular spritzes when moisturizing and cleansing goes a long way!

If you’re not sure which products are best to use in cases like this, I recommend SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Marfura Oil Hydration Intensive Masque Hair Treatment as it is perfect for locking in moisture and is packed with antioxidants that are really good for your scalp and hair.

Consult With Your Doctor

One of the most common results of tight braids is tension alopecia. This is balding and patching caused by tension build up on your scalp. Tension alopecia can be extremely uncomfortable, cause pain, and result in overall balding.

Although it is quite easy to get this condition, it is not as easy to cure as there is no set cure. There are just a few treatment measures that doctors use on a trial and error basis to encourage healing and regrowth of your natural hair.

This is why it is important to have a consultation with a doctor, should you experience any sort of patching or balding. There are methods used to help better the condition however none are set in stone and are all dependent on the patient.

Final Thoughts

It is important to realize that although braiding your hair may cause some discomfort, it should never be painful! Paying attention to the pain and treating it timeously will avoid the major negative effects that braiding your hair too tightly could have on your hair and scalp.

The aim is to care for your natural hair and scalp and protect them, even when styling your hair with braid and other forms of extensions. This will ensure that even after styling, you still have a head full of naturally healthy hair.


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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