How to remove tight box braids

7 Easy Methods To Relieve Tight Box Braids That Actually Works

Some women go through a love-hate relationship with their box braids, due to their stiffness and tightness. Even though box braids are an excellent protective style, if you are faced with tight box braids, you can find yourself in pain, even right after you have made a hairstyle.

We all should be aware of this – beauty shouldn’t hurt. If your head is killing you, then there are things you need to do. Many braiders recommend using aspirin or waiting a couple of days, so the pain goes away. Braiders usually braid your hairstyle tightly, so it lasts longer. Which is what everybody wants, after all, especially after paying good money for it.

How To Relieve Tight Box Braids

For some, it works. For others, there are different ways to relieve tight braids. Remember, braids that are too tight can absolutely ruin your hairline, damage your scalp, cause alopecia, and finally, hair loss.

Talk Openly with Your Stylist

The best thing you can do is to have an open relationship with your hairstylist. While you are still in the salon chair, make sure to see how your hair feels like. If it hurts while she braids, tell loud and clear.

RELATED: Box Braids Smell Badly: 7 Ways to Fight Smelly Braids

It is always better to say early than deal with the pain later – act proactively instead of reactively. If your braided braids too tight, simply let him or her know that immediately.

Shower Helps To Ease The Stiffness

One of the quickest ways to relieve the pain is to take a shower. Not only is it good for your body, but also your hair as well. You can choose – taking shower with cold water will bring relief instantly, while warm water will open cuticles, making your hair looser and more elastic.

Photo: Ezekixl Akinnewu from Pexels

While in the shower, rub box braids a bit with warm water, and then wrap them in a dry towel.

Another alternative is using a spray bottle to moisten your hair and then wrap it in a wet towel that you have previously soaked in warm water.

Don’t Wear Tight Box Braids Up

Even if you don’t have a box or any other types of braids, you can feel that sometimes when you wear your hairstyle up, your head starts to hurt. Ponytails, top knots, or buns can cause your stiff braids to hurt even more.

If you are feeling the tension in your box braids, then wear them down. This is especially important in the first couple of days when you make your braids. Experiment with half up-half down styles and gather your braids low.

Use a Pencil

A pencil is a great simple tool for relieving your tight box braids. You can use other cylindrical objects as well, such as skewer. Stick the pencil into the center of the braids one at a time and try to loosen them as much as you can, to minimize the pain.

Use a Leave-In-Conditioner

If you feel like your scalp is drier than before braiding, make sure to apply a leave-in-conditioner. It will soothe the area around the scalp, loosen the braids, and moisturize your hair.

When applying your conditioner, be aware it can leave you with some extra residue. Only apply a small drop, using your fingertips to spread it evenly. You can also try a spray leave-in-conditioner that is even more practical to spritz between the braids.

Take a Painkiller

Photo: Cottonbro from Pexels

In most cases, tight box braids loosen up in 1 to 2 days. Meanwhile, you can take a painkiller if you can’t tolerate a headache or stiffness. However, you shouldn’t tolerate the pain for more than a day. If it doesn’t stop, try some other method or, in the worst case – take the braids down.

Oil Scalp Massage

Scalp massage improves blood circulation, soothe tension, and helps you with migraine. Use essential oils for a massage. Rub them gently into the area where you feel the most tension or stiffness. Apply with your fingertips and massage for a few minutes. Lavender and tea tree oil have properties that will help in soothing inflammation.


Tight box braids are definitely not normal. These ways should help in relieving pain, soothing your scalp, and loosen your braids.

However, if you are experiencing pain even after a few days and nothing works, consider removing your braids altogether. You will prevent hair loss, alopecia, and breakage. Removing braids is not something that you want after spending hours getting them, but we recommend that if the pain doesn’t go away. Give your hair some love after removing the braids. Soak it in oil treatment that has anti-inflammatory properties and condition it well.

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