Keeping your hair safe and strong enough for styling is very important and understanding the ins and outs of protecting your hair can ultimately lead to a better hairstyle. So, here’s all you need to know about whether you should blow dry your hair before braiding.
Should I Blow Dry My Hair Before Braiding
It’s not the best idea to always blow dry hair before braiding. Most hair types are already fragile and prone to breakage, and it is even worse when hair is wet. Blow drying involves so much heat and high temperature that it could very well do more damage to your hair. Specifically, moisture left on/in hair strands from the shower combined with the high temperatures from the hairdryer makes hair more brittle, by swelling the hair shaft.
However, there are other ways around blow-drying before braiding, such as drying in cool temperatures. Additionally, settling on braiding wet hair often depends on the thickness of hair and the size of the braids. Therefore, it makes properly preparing one’s hair for braiding all the more important and a crucial step in the hair care process.
Importance of Preparing Hair Before Braiding
One of the most important reasons for preparing hair before braiding it is to prevent pain from tangled hair which can cause pain when braiding it. Some of the pain experienced during hair braiding is often caused by tangled hair. Therefore, it is important that your hair is thoroughly detangled before all braided hairstyles are done.
For braids, finger-detangling your hair is not enough. You should use a medium tooth comb and detangle your hair from the tip, and work your way up to the roots. You can also try and make your detangling spray, by using a blowdryer to aid with the detangling process.
Hair braiding is one of the most popular hairstyles for all hair types. Versatile, durable, with so many variations, a hairstyle that is frequently worn deserves proper preparation beforehand to ensure it’s viability before it’s time to change it. Preparing hair properly for braiding can extend the life of the braids.
It is obvious that when hair is not moisturized, it becomes dry, fragile, and frizzy. This makes it difficult to braid and the hair is more likely to break under these conditions. In addition, dirt build-up and any residue from oils can make hair difficult to work with.
How to Prepare Hair for Braiding
How to Prepare Tangled Hair
Speaking of tangled hair, there are specific ways to take care of tangled hair before braiding. While trying to detangle with your fingers may work for loose hair, it’s definitely not enough for smoothing it down for braids. Instead, using a medium tooth comb efficiently straightens out unruly strands by combing from the bottom up. To assist in the process, you can make a detangling spray at home using two to three tablespoons of your go-to conditioner, hot but not boiling water, and your desired essential oil.
How to Prepare Natural Hair
For those braiding with natural hair, which is normally tangled, tight braids don’t allow access to loose ends while in place. A lot of hair will have shed off and grown out during the time the braids have been in; up to 40 to 120 hair strands per day. However, hair that’s been previously detangled will easily comb through afterward.
It’s always good to give your hair a thorough wash to get rid of oil and dirt on the scalp, so make sure to apply a clarifying shampoo. Additionally, it’s strongly recommended to remove any extensions you might have before washing. Thereafter, you can apply a conditioner in order to reintroduce moisture to the hair. Wet hair should not be confused with moisturized hair.
To condition is to strengthen and applying a leave-in conditioner can really impact how your hair holds up. The conditioner should be left in for twenty minutes, but not overnight, as it can create an oily scalp. Curly and wavy hair, which typically have porous textures will appreciate the added moisture beforehand.
After finishing treatments, ensure that your hair is stretched out prior to braiding. Stretching will decrease the potential for flyaways. This method is more for natural hair, but a no-heat straightening option, such as banding, plaits, or wrapping, will suffice.
Is it Better to Braid Dry Hair or Wet Hair
Whatever you do, blow dryer or not, never braid your hair while it’s still wet. Excess water in the hair will make the braid too heavy. Since wet hair lengthens at least 15 times more than when it’s dry, you risk clumping and breakage of the hair as it air drys.
Additionally, when hair is at least 80% dry, you should apply a nourishing cream product to the hair and then braid shortly afterward. You can also apply serums and/or oils which could possibly attach more to porous strands on curly and wavy hair.
Should You Do a Protein Treatment Before Braids
Protein treatments are incredibly important to apply before braiding. Infusing the hair with moisture is important in general, but applying protein treatments can help solve pre-existing issues with the hair before styling. By “pre-existing,” it’s mostly referring to the fact that rather than leave-in conditioners or various creams and serums which are applied within the time frame of actually braiding the hair, protein treatments should be done even more in advance, by about two weeks prior. Protein treatments can effectively treat weak hair that will otherwise not be able to withstand the tension and manipulation required for braiding or other styles for that matter.
So, all in all, you ultimately can blow dry your hair before braiding, but not without effective/ appropriate preparation and the right settings, such as a cool temperature. Even if you decide not to blow dry, letting it dry on its own prior to styling is also a great option. However, keeping your hair in great condition makes your styling process a lot less risky in general, regardless of the drying method you choose.