How to Loosen Tight Braids

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Have you ever had insomnia related to braid tightness? Have you ever contemplated shaving off your hair to relieve your head from the dull throbbing pain of box braids, twists, cornrows, or any other braided style with extensions? You’re not alone. Everyday, thousands of women suffer from ‘Braids Too Tight Syndrome.’ Not really. But it is SUPER debilitating to have extensions installed and then you can’t sleep, move, think, or perform regular daily activities. If you’ve ever felt the need to call out of work because your braids are too tight, this goes out to you.

There is one surefire way to ensure the loosening of your braids. It won’t loosen them to the point that they will come out or mess up your style, but it will help to soothe the dull aching that can occur after you’ve been in the braiding salon for 6-17 hours. Two words: Hot Water. Boom. There it is. Get underneath some insanely hot water for about 5 minutes or so. Then proceed to wiggle the base of your braids. If you need a little extra help, slap some moisturizing conditioner on there and repeat.

I just got my hair braided yesterday; I tossed and turned all night because they were SO tight. I asked her to make sure the perimeter of my hair was done loosely and she nodded. A few of them felt a little tight and I had to keep reminding her. But sometimes, you can’t feel the tightness until it is all over because of the compounded pulling from the other braids.

Because I practically had the worst sleep of my life last night, I thought I would share.

Braids Sleep


35 thoughts on “How to Loosen Tight Braids

  1. I remember the struggle. Only mine left my edges in shambles. Smh I wish stylists would care more about your comfort and hair health than the style. No I don’t feel like I should have to take advil before I get my hair done. A hair style should not be painful!

    1. Seriously!!! I think next time I’d be better off braiding them myself. It was mayhem. At one point, the braiders daughter was running with scissors. Then she started going through my pocket book… O_O Never again.

  2. OMG! I’m up right now and can’t get any sleep😩. My scalp feels like someone is playing tugg-a-war with it. My braids are beautiful but I feel like I’m bout to take every one of them out and I just got my hair done today.

  3. I just dunked my head in a bowl full of hot water….oh the relief!!! These braids got me to consider cutting my hair off completely…needless to say i got a worried eye from my boyfriend

  4. Omg. I feel exactly how Julia explained. It’s past one in the morning and I can’t sleep. My head is throbbing and I was finished getting my hair did at 5 o clock earlier. I can not sleep and I got huge faux locs in my head. I tried standing over steam for a good while. If I can ever go to sleep Ima just try and put the hot wet towel on my head. I didn’t want to because the hair is yarn.

    1. UGH!! I know the feeling. I tried a hot wash cloth and a cold wash cloth. I got angry and threw them across the room. I eventually fell asleep because I exhausted myself. I hope it gets better for you quickly!

  5. Two years later and this post is still a lifesaver!! Thanks for sharing the information and giving me a sign of relief!! Jesus!! The stylist was the bomb but she did my twist way too tight!!

    1. I’m glad it was helpful for you! My baby is due in 11 weeks and I considered getting braids again…then I remember this post LOL! I’m too tired to stand up in the shower and loosen them one by one now haha

  6. Omg. Thank you so much for this. These stupid braids felt like they wanted to take my scalp off as a sacrifice for beauty. Not really the time to take a shower so i just walked into the bathroom, wet my fingers with hot water, and combed my fingers through my scalp. Feels so much better NOW that i can’t wait till i do hit the shower later :)))

  7. It took my stepmom like literally a day to do my faux locs. My head is extremely tight but not as tight as it was when she finished. I had the worst sleep of my life and my head is throbbing. Everyone keeps telling me it will take at least 3 days for the pain to go away.

  8. OMG! Never thought I’ll be researching, how to loosen a tight hair due. I have Faux locs in my head and they are killing me. I’m not sure if they hurt worse in a loose ponytail or hanging done. LORD! HELP ME . Waking up at 12 am to hop in the shower AGAIN! To see how u guys method works. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Please advise, I know it’s late but I just found this. My twists are so tight in the back. If I run hot water on them will that mess them up, I just got them 2 days ago on Saturday. They hurt so bad the 1st night I had to take prescription pain meds to get sleep.

  10. Omg , spent 8 hours to get my hair done and have taken pain pills , dipped in hot water and still want to cry ……….
    They said the pain will wear off by 2morrow but I can’t even sleep ……
    I’m trying every tip now

  11. I just let the Africans put Microbraids in yesterday. They finished a Lil after 5pm & I am still awake. Around my edges hurt so so bad. I even pulled the satin bonnet off just to see if I could get any relief. The pain is antagonizing I can’t hardly function or think straight. How long will my head feel this way and will this pull my hair out??? Or is it normal for Africans to braid this tight…

    1. I had pretty immediate relief after getting under the water with some conditioner and rolling the base of each braid with my fingers to hep loosen them a bit. I feel your pain!

      I think (in general) they braid pretty tightly. Even when I’ve asked them to do it loosely, it still ended up being tihgt. I think the thing that they forget is that although they might be braiding each braid a little looser than they typically do, each braid is still being pulled by the braids around it so they end up pulling on each other.

      I hope you were able to get a little rest!

  12. I never thought I’ll be on the the Internet at such a time looking for remedies to painful braids. I got my faux locks done today and we were through by 7.00pm,they look so beautiful but so painful. It’s now 3.30am and I can’t sleep, the pain and weight my head is going through is too much. I’ve tried the hot water trick and it’s not easing much for me. someone sincerely tell me how many more days do I have with this pain? Am inches away from crying

  13. Man. I just got my hair done yesterday in the faux locs and I feel like being stabbed iny head. Will it work for me?
    If I do the hot water and conditioner?

  14. Will never get faux locs again. Couldn’t feel the tightness till towards the end. Thought it might’ve been ok once they finished trimming and locking the edges

    1. Yikes! They never consider that each section is pulling on the ones around it. We want our hair to last but we don’t want to keep our pain and we’d like to keep our edges.

  15. So I’m googling how to get relief from tight braids and I come across your blog post. Hilarious! Although mine are are extensions, I may have to try this tonight. It’s been two days and I still have a headache!

  16. omg I just got cornrows yesterday and they hurt so bad I forgot how much they hurt. I did the hot towel method with the hottest water my faucet was capable of and they still hurt. and they feel so heavy

    1. Have you tried using a ton of slippery conditioner and wiggling each cornrow at the base? Cornrows are tricky because it’s all braided back together. I hope you get some relief!

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