Box braids, crotchet braids, plait braids, faux locs, or micro braids are a favorite for those of us with curly or kinky hair. They are effective protective hairstyles and are often the best way to promote hair growth.
Chances are if you are reading this article, you want your hair to grow as long as possible. And since there is no magic pill for that, you probably tried several alternative approaches towards promoting hair growth.
Now, the rumor about braids promoting hair growth is not unfounded. But sometimes, your braids seem to loosen and you think that your hair has grown, however, when you take down the braids and do a length check, you realize that it is the same length as before the braids. And this raises the question,
When braids get loose is hair growing?
While loose braids are a good indication of hair growth, in some instances, loose braids do not imply your hair is growing. After 2 weeks or more, loose braids imply length retention and hair growth. However, on soft or permed hair, heavy braids can slip off and loosening might not be a sign of hair growth.
Read on for more clarification:
What do we mean by “When Braids Get Loose?
When the hairstylist installs your braids on day one, they are tightly close to your scalp. However, after a week or so, you will notice a distance between the base of your scalp and where the synthetic hair was added. This is what we mean by loosening braids.
This might have you wondering if braids are supposed to be loose. This depends on the person. If you experience pain during installation, then you should loosen them immediately. Tight braids are meant to last longer but they should not cause you pain.
So, is a loose braid good for your hair? loose braids can be good for your hair because when braids are pulled too tightly, they can cause hair breakage. They can also cause it to pull off from the roots, which leaves you with bald spots. If your hair is vulnerable to breaking, you might want to consider installing loose braids.
If your braids are too tight and you need to loosen them, you can do that by applying a leave-in condition on the roots. You can also, apply braid spray or you can use moist heat.
Does hair grow after braiding?
The simple truth is that hair will grow whether you braid it or not. But the greatest hair growth is seen when hair is in a protective hairstyle.
This is because when you braid your hair, there is less manipulation, which gives it a rest.
If your hair is not braided, chances are throughout the day you will perform multiple forms of manipulation such as combing, styling, tugging, and pulling, all of which cause tears and breakage.
Unbraided hair means that daily styling will cause increased tension and breaking, which is not conducive to hair growth.
Also, if left unbraided, hair experiences harsh environments such as heat treatment or even chemicals in swimming pools or other sources, which can limit the hair’s ability to grow.
Most people question whether braids make your hair grow faster. However:
Braids in and of themselves do not cause your hair to grow, they just give it a break from manipulation, and give it a rest in a protective state.
How do you know if your hair is growing?
Simply put, braids are 3 strands of hair that have been intertwined amongst one another to create a pattern.
Some people opt for braids with just their own hair but others choose to add extensions. Using extensions for braids is the most common style.
If your braids are just your natural hair with no extensions, then you can be sure that any braid loosening that you experiencing is definitely hair growth.
However, if your braids consist of artificial extensions, then loosening is not a guarantee that your hair has experienced any growth.
So how do you know if your hair is growing in braids?
Firstly, you need to consider the state of your hair, how many weeks you have had the braids on, how heavy the braids are, and how you handle your braids.
If your braids are too heavy, your hair is too soft, and you have used extensions for your braids, any loosening that you notice is simply your hair buckling under the weight of the extensions.
Extra soft hair is hard to braid and easy for the strands to become undone and when overloaded with heavy braids, the softness of the hair makes it too easy for the braids to slide off, leaving you to notice increasing space between your scalp and where the artificial strands begin. Therefore, if this is the case, don’t be too quick to celebrate hair growth.
Also, if you notice this loosening just a few days after leaving the salon, it is not hair growth. Hair does not grow that fast, even the fastest hair growth is about an inch per month.
Therefore, if this loosening occurs in less than a week, it is unlikely to be due to hair growth.
Similarly, if the way you handle your braids includes a lot of manipulation and styling, like too much washing (everyday washing), hairstyles that include tugging and pulling loosening can occur without hair growth.
It is important to note that braids with extensions involve added weight on your scalp, something that your hair is not used to, which means that poor management could result in braids loosening as they slide off your natural hair strands.
The only way to check if your hair is truly growing when you experience braid loosening is to check the roots to see if they are new hairs.
Roots are often thick, curly, and healthier-looking compared to older hairs. Also, given the slow growth of hair, the loosening should be minimal and only a few inches long depending on the duration of the braids.
How do you know if your hair is breaking or new growth?
When putting on braids, make sure that you do not use large extensions on a few strands of hair. Pulling on a small patch of hair could not only cause breakage, but it could cause the braids to slip leading to loosening.
Also, make sure that your hair is not immediately permed before braiding, this will make sure it’s not too soft. Keeping your hair in its natural form makes it strong enough to hold the extensions without breaking or slipping.
Furthermore, make sure not to overdo your hairstyles and to avoid those that require too much pulling and tugging. Limiting your washing, conditioning, and moisturizing to once a week or at least every 10 days. This way, hair will be subjected to less manipulation and any loosening that you notice will most likely result from hair growth.
Why does Hair Come out of Your Braids?
When taking down braids you will notice that hair is falling off. Don’t be alarmed, because this is natural. Your hair has been in a protective state for weeks, meaning that shed hair was not released. So when you take off your braids, you will notice all this hair that should have fallen off every day.
How Can You Promote Hair Growth with Braids
As mentioned earlier, braids protect your hair from over manipulation and harsh environment. However, when braided you can enhance growth by applying hair growth oils on the scalp. Because braided hair makes it easier to access the scalp, there is an opportunity to apply hair growth pomade.
Also, make sure that you moisturize and oil your scalp 2 or 3 times a week, to improve hair growth. Gentle scalp massage is also beneficial.