By Hadassah Agbaps - February 19, 2014

Hi people, what's been on?
Here's a question I got on nairaland and I decided to share it with anyone facing a similar problem.....

Q. I used to have natural, unrelaxed tough curly hair (all the way past my spine) when I lived with my dad. When I moved back to Nigeria, due to the secondary school rules, I had to weave my hair every week, the manipulation was painful and unbearable, I lost most of my length so I tried relaxing and that made it even worse. I've tried transitioning during vacation and my hair grows out beautifully but when school starts, I just can't stand the pain. I'll be graduating in about 4 months and want to start transitioing again. Is there any way to minimize the pain?
(I already use olive, coconut, castor oil and shea butter) Any other tips? I also have dry flaky hair from all the pressure. Please help!

A. Mehn...this takes me back in time to my compulsory braiding years! I'm adverse to pain....I may be able to bear it....but I don't even bother to! Why should I embrace pain???
And because of this aversion to pain, I learnt tips and tricks to avoid being flogged when I misbehaved ( I either ran away, talked my way out or simply behaved). It's one of the reasons I stayed natural (ain't got no time for relaxer burns). It's the reason I don't wear lace (can't bear the itch) and the reason I carry flats in my bag when I'm rocking heels.  So I understand what you mean by the pain especially if the braider's hand is 'too strong'.
However, I've been braiding my hair all through my growing years with little or no pain involved. The tips and tricks I learnt are as follows:

- Be selective with who braids your hair.
 Some braiders are gentler than others. I usually test them out before I trust them to braid me any further.
My 'testing hairstyle' is individual braids at the back with the front cornrowed back. Individual braids don't hurt and if the front section that is to be braided hurts, I simply tell the braider to stop and convert the rest to individual braids.
If it doesn't hurt, I'll trust her with more cornrows.

- Prepare your hair before you go.
For example, if I'm braiding 'shuku' aka ponytail or braided bun, I know my hair will be sectioned into four. So I do the same and detangle thoroughly and thread. Then I take down the thread section by section as the braider works.
A day or two before your appointment, wash and deepcondition your hair. Then divide your hair into four sections, apply oil to each section and detangle well. Then either braid or thread the already detangled section. This will stretch your hair and keep it from tangling up again.
If you have a style in mind, imagine the ways the braider will section your hair to braid, then section off, detangle and thread in that pattern.
This is so that you won't have to loosen all your hair for braiding but loosen it up section by section. This will prevent your hair from drying out which causes it to tangle and hurts if your braider isn't patient.

- Take a moisturising butter with you.
This would be used to remoisturise your hair in case it dries out. A moisturising butter or leave in conditioner with good slip minimises pain when detangling and unnecessary breakage. I prefer a butter because your hair is less likely to revert, it provides better hold ( longer lasting style) and your hair stays moisturised for longer. It will also help with dry scalp issues.
An alternative is taking your spray bottle with your detangling mix of water,conditioner and oils. However if your hair shrinks up tightly, I'd advice you to take a moisturising butter instead. It softens your hair and keeps it stretched for longer.

You can make your own butter by whipping together castor oil, olive oil and shea butter.

- Remoisturise as often as possible and always sleep with a satin scarf or bonnet.
This will help preserve your style, prevent breakage and extend the days to your next appointment (and also give you time to hunt for another braider if the one you 'jammed' had dangerous hands. Again, I prefer using a moisturising butter to remoisturise my hair to avoid frizziness. However, use it sparingly as if it is the type that isn't easily absorbed, it can attract dust.

There are some undercover dangerous braiders. When they braid your hair, you may even fall asleep.....but when they are done and you are safely home....oh boy!!!!
I've met two or three of them in the course of braiding my hair. I've gone as far as dunking my whole head in ice cold water to relieve the pain. If you are unfortunate to 'jam' this type, your real relief is a small tin of Robb...applied to your least you'll be able to sleep at night.

Hope I've been able to help.

Do you have any tips to avoid pain while styling your hair?


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  1. Lol at undercover dangerous braiders. Thank God I'm off extensions, so I don't fear meeting them.

    1. Lol! Seriously, you didnt even jam them when you were growing up? Ha......thanksgiving offering things o!

    2. My hair is all natural no extensions and I have met a lot of them

  2. The spray bottle definitely helped (making distilled water was somewhat of a pain I must admit) and shea butter, even when I loosened the braids my hair was soft and had no tangles at all. There was at least 90% less shedding. Now I'm on to the next with coconut oil.

    1. Glad the spraying helped. An easy source of distilled water is bottled water. Would love to know how the prepoo goes!

    2. It works like a charm, after two weeks of trying this I regret what I've been missing, it works like magic even if I pre-poo only for a few hours (hectic schedule), and I've abandoned shampoo for good, local black soap (Dudu Osun) works magic on the hair(lemon and lime juice,palm the best of everything and it smells wonderful too). Even with inches of scab hair already sticking out the shea butter makes it easier to manage.

  3. Nice post!lol @ the last paragraph!

    1. Lol! Thanks dear....I just gisted about u and ur hair....pweety pweety.....


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