View Full Version : Length eating braids??

March 28th, 2008, 10:44 PM
I blogged about this but I figured I'd pose this question on the boards for possible conversation.

How much length do you find you loose when you braid back?? I decided to do my first measurement in yeeeears today and found that I'm at 40" or so (rough estimate). When braided back in a single braid, the thing shrinks up to waist at 26". Double braids graze hip level at 28". That's at least a good foot lost.

This is just insane. I have thick hair, around 4.25" at the base of my pony tail. I'm thinking maybe it's because my hair is thick but I'm not so sure. So I'm wondering what others experience is. Thin, medium thickness, thick, straight, wavy, curly.... I'd love to hear!!

March 28th, 2008, 10:50 PM
Wow that's a lot! My 41" hair doesn't shrink nearly as much - only up to about tailbone at 37.5" (measured at the end of the tassel). My hair is not quite 3" at the nape.

ETA: This was as tight as I can braid it, too...

March 28th, 2008, 10:51 PM
If you're braiding tightly, that's probably contributing to the significant loss of length.

I don't have any idea how much length I lose from braiding.

March 28th, 2008, 10:57 PM
Ugg, I lose so much length that it's ridculous! When wet my hair is tailbone lenth, when dry it can shrink up to waist, and when braided it looks BSL! Very annoying. My hair is 4.75" at the nape.

March 28th, 2008, 11:02 PM
Braid shrinkage? Psh. How about curl shrinkage? My hair falls longer when braided than it does if I let it dry loose.

Current length is a bit longer (not time to measure yet) that 23.5 inches. That's measured wet and stretched a bit for consistency. Curls make it shrink to ~17 or 18" depending on the day. But in a braid, I only lose maybe an inch or two. Even a very tight braid. Braids are the only way I have of showing off what little length I have without using heat.

My hair's not so thick though. Ponytail's about 3".

March 28th, 2008, 11:23 PM
My guess is it's the thickness, and having fairly straight hair--so you'd get more visible shortening than someone with similar thickness and wavier/curly hair.

Me...well, not what you want to hear, probably, but:
Loose: 48"
Braid: 45"

So I lose a whole 3" to an almost mid-thigh length braid. :oops:

My hair is down on the thin end, though: Nape pony is 2.375" around, and over half of that braid is under 1" around...so there's not a lot of 'going out of the way' for the strands when braiding.

ETA: To specify that's as tight as I can braid, and as much length as I'll lose. Looser braids I'd loose less, but I don't do because they get too lose.

March 29th, 2008, 12:35 AM
I totally feel you on the shrinkage. My ponytail is a solid 5" at the nape. That's one of the main reasons why I don't like to braid it very much. The bulk of the braid is very uncomfortable to sleep on, and I think the braid looks awkward because it's so boxy. I'm at waist length, but when I braid it... well, you can see for yourself.

<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v353/therealkatie/n510244958_208963_6718.jpg">

March 29th, 2008, 12:43 AM
Just for help:


you need to use the [img}image url here[/img] thing (with all the same brackets of course) :)

March 29th, 2008, 01:36 AM
Just FYI, I think you would "lose" less length doing a herringbone braid versus english braids. Just an alternative for ya. ;)

March 29th, 2008, 02:30 AM
When I do a simple braid I lose about 6 - 7" length. The ends go back up to my waist. I kinda like it.
If I didn't have so much tapering I might lose even more length. My ponytail is about 3 3/4". I never braid tightly, somehow my hands can't do it.

March 29th, 2008, 02:47 AM
I loose very little, and inch or so, but my hair is thin and tapers to nothing so that is probably it. One of the good things with thin hair, I guess.

March 29th, 2008, 03:47 AM
I loose a couple of inches or so.....i haven't actually measured it but i do suspect hair thickness would play a huge part in how much length is lost. Now bear with me while i attempt to explain my theory and i appologise in advance for how rubbish i am at explaining....

When you have thick hair, each turn of the braid has further to go accross, so the length gets eaten up by that.....as hair gets thinner it has less space to cover at each turn so uses up less inches in length. Hopefully that made some kind of sense.

Maybe try doing your braid really loose and seeing how much of a difference that makes? I often do mine very loose though that's mainly because i'm trying to disguise how thin and pathetic my braid is ;)

March 29th, 2008, 05:08 AM
My night braid is an inch or so past classic which means that I must be losing about 5-6" length. It's not the tightest braid though. I have thick hair too 4.25" at nape but have shaved some off so we should take the shoulder measurement as nape(without the growing strands) and it's 3" there.
I'm a wurly and even aith my waviest hair my braid is shorter.

KBF: What you mentioned is a lot shrinkage though! I'm having a hard time believing :lol: was it a french braid or one you start higher on your head like Dianyla style. I haven't measured that way it may eat more length.

March 29th, 2008, 05:29 AM
Yeees, I do have that problem. :rolleyes: My hair is tailbone length when loose (and dry), but the tassle of my braid dangles somewhere just below my waist.
My ponytail circumference is something about 4.5". I never thought this was much. o.o

March 29th, 2008, 05:38 AM
Mine loses about 8" and my hair isn't all that thick.

March 29th, 2008, 07:46 AM
I don't lose much length with a braid. I definitely think your thickness is the factor. I only have a 2.5 inch circumference. :o

March 29th, 2008, 08:09 AM
My hair is hip length and when I do a single English braid the very tippy tip reaches my natural waist. I think yours shrinks up so much because your hair is so thick. The strands have farther to reach round when you make your braid cross-overs and this takes up more length. Does that make sense? I wish I had your problem :p

March 29th, 2008, 08:36 AM
I lose some length, not sure how much. I don't have anywhere near thick hair.

flaming bunny
March 29th, 2008, 08:41 AM
With my fine hair I only lose about 4". My thigh length hair goes back up to classic when I braid...although the tail is pretty pathetic at the moment :rolleyes:

Red Jezebel
March 29th, 2008, 09:24 AM
My ponytail circumference is normal, between 3.5 and 3.75 (can't remember off the top of my head) and I lose between 4-5 inches doing a tight english braid. My hair is over 37".

akka naeda
March 29th, 2008, 09:41 AM
My hair shrinks from knees (loose, ~53") to just below classic (plaited 43"). That's a loose English plait and the plait tapers from about 4.5" at the nape down to 2.5" at the tail. It never bothered me, I just assumed that's a standard amount to lose due to plaiting, but going by what other people have said perhaps it's excessive. I don't know that I plait really tightly either.

March 29th, 2008, 11:25 AM
I am similar to akka naeda. My hair is at my knees loose and anywhere from classic to fingertip in a braid, depending on how tight it is. I can always tell when someone knows a lot about hair when they see my braid and then ask how long my hair really is.

March 29th, 2008, 11:28 AM
I lose a few inches too. I love the way it feels having a nape of the neck braid, having my hair in order.

March 29th, 2008, 12:34 PM
Interesting topic :)
My hair shrinks from thumb to tailbone when braided. Braiding not tight and not loose, somehow medium I think.
Itīs about 8inch shrinkage... not sure if thatīs average or not.

March 29th, 2008, 03:26 PM
I haven't been able to find my tape measurer for ages now, so I can't give any precise measurements. But my hair is ii/iii, and I lose quite a bit of length if I braid it.

March 29th, 2008, 03:36 PM
My hair shrinks from tailbone to waist when done in a single braid. I braid quite snugly, and iii thickness. It just goes with the territory for thick hair, the same as needing more length to manage most coiled updos.

March 29th, 2008, 05:57 PM
Hmmm, I'm going to ahve to experiment to see how much I lose.
Haven't tried this in a long time. Seems like I lost a LOT last time I tried it.

March 30th, 2008, 01:32 AM
I lose three inches with a tight braid--at least I used to I haven't checked since it thinned out thouogh.

March 30th, 2008, 04:00 AM
I lose only about 10 cm (about 4 inch). But my hair is not thick and I also don't braid very tight. You probably lose less if you keep a longer braid tassle.

March 30th, 2008, 05:07 AM
i think i only loose 2 inches. I have extreme taper and JUST ii hair. So yeh...i think thicker hair looses more length!

April 1st, 2008, 05:32 PM
Ok, sorry for the delay in responding to this but the past week has been busy for me. Onward!

I'm beginning to think that thick hair does eat up more length. Carolyn pinned down my theory. A lot of people insist I have thick hair and my braids tend to prompt the "On my god" response when it comes to the thickness (one braid tends to be as thick as my wrist). So maybe that's the case. I don't have very tight braids and I always start them at the base of my skull. I have found that I hate a single braid because leaning against it is very uncomfy, so any time I braid back in a single braid I pull it over my shoulder half the time (which causes it to reach just below the bust line). This is why I tend to prefer double braids. The bulk isn't half as annoying.

Very interesting topic though. :) Glad to see other III have fairly considerable shrinkage as well.

Curly shrinkage though... I pity curly folks regardless of wishing I had retained my curly red hair! The boy spends more time in his crazy curly hair and it tends to go from beyond waist when wet to shoulder blade level when dry. It's beautiful but the shrinkage would depress me!

April 1st, 2008, 05:52 PM
I don't think I lose much at all, maybe an inch tops. And last time I measured (which admittedly was quite a while ago), my ponytail circumference was 3.75". That was right after a major shed and my hair has thickened back up since then. But yeah. I barely lose anything, and I'm definitely an ii/iii if not a full iii. :confused:

ETA: Whoa. Never mind. I just did a highly quantitative (ha) check involving putting my hands where my hair ends, braiding it up, and then putting my hands there again. By that estimate, I lose about 4"-5".

April 1st, 2008, 06:00 PM
I lose about 5 or 6 inches. My hair looks so short braided (at least single braids, I lose less for double braids) that I don't ever wear it that way.

April 1st, 2008, 06:07 PM
My braid shrinks about three inches. I have rather much taper, though. Most of those three inches is actually eaten by the thickest part close to the nape. Leaving a long or short braid tassel does not make a big difference on my total braid length.

I have made a funny observation about thicker braids stealing more length: I had a lot of breakage before LCH and my ponytail has thickened during the last months. I noticed in February that the longest hairs in my braid tassel were hovering just above waist, and I estimated that I needed about 0.5-1" growth to get a solid waistlength braid. Well, my hair has grown at least 0.5" since then, but my braid tassel is still hovering in almost exactly the same place. I always braid with similar tightness, so the most logical explanation would be that as the thicker part of the braid is moving down, more length is eaten when braiding... The thickening of the braid does not steal all new growth, but enough to make it noticeable, at least for now.

April 1st, 2008, 06:08 PM
I loose about 5". I go from tailbone to the ends just being a smidge past waist.

May 14th, 2008, 10:48 PM
I, too, lose about 5" in a very tight braid.

May 14th, 2008, 10:58 PM
My ponytail is about 4 inches around and very straight and I lose about 3-4 inches in a braid.

May 15th, 2008, 12:22 AM
I lose very little if anything. I may lose very little with single braid and none when I have 2 braids. It depends how wavy my hair is, sometimes my natural waves look exactly like those from braid. In addition, my hair tapers a lot at the end. And I generally do not braid too tight.

May 15th, 2008, 12:31 AM
Thick hair + tightly braided = serious reduction.

When I was at knee-length, the tassel on a tight fat braid ended right at classic on me. That's about a foot or so of shrinkage.

I consider this a very good thing! A shorter braid is easier to keep out of the way. :D

May 15th, 2008, 12:36 AM
My hair's about 33",I lose around 4" when its braided.

May 15th, 2008, 12:40 AM
When I had waistlength hair, I remember always being mad, because my braid didn't look long. It was at BSL, so quite a length I lost.

May 15th, 2008, 02:58 AM
I definitely lose some length when I braid although my hair usually winds up going for volume when it's dry so it shrinks up a lot anyway; my hair braided is around the same length as it is when it shrinks dry. A more drastic example that I know of, though, is a friend who has gorgeously thick, strong and long hair down to her knees and when she braided her hair it would be between tailbone and classic length. So it does seem quite common for those with really thick hair to lose some length when braiding.

May 15th, 2008, 04:44 AM
I dont' lose much length, but my hair is thin and SUPER thin at the ends, and I think that may be a HUGE part of it, I am below 2" at nape, barely at it with a high tail right now...

May 15th, 2008, 04:48 AM
Well, I'm almost at BSL and can hardly get a braid in because it's so tiny.

Lady Godiva
May 15th, 2008, 07:44 AM
When braided, my iii hair shrinks from floor length to somewhere mid-calf length, depending on how tightly the braid is braided. The upper, thicker hair probably is where the most length loss occurs. Where it's thinner toward the ends, since the hair bends back-and-forth less, I doubt there is much loss down there.

Volume measurement makes a difference.
Tightness of braid makes a difference.

The only time I have seen hair look longer after braiding was on a former neighbor, whose hair was about 3b curly. Braiding actually straightened her hair so it appeared longer. In a sense, braiding equalizes all hair types (speaking of wave pattern).

May 15th, 2008, 07:55 AM
Maid Marian had a striking set of photos on the old LHC showing the difference in length between tight and loose English braids. The tight braid was much shorter.

I think I lose about 5" when I braid starting at the base of my skull. I make them of medium tightness.

May 15th, 2008, 07:57 AM
I lose about a good 4 or so inches when I braid.

May 15th, 2008, 09:36 AM
When I do a normal braid (English?) it's only a few inches. But when I do a french braid or dutch braid, It's all the way up to BSL from waist! But I chalked that up to the style starting higher up on my head. And I figure that's a good thing to know for when it's longer and I want to get it out of the way! :)

My hair's thick, but not as thick as it used to be. Plus lots of layers to thin it out. (When shoulder length, I looked like the triangle haired lady on the comic Dilber if I didn't put in layers!)

May 16th, 2008, 04:44 PM
When braided, my iii hair shrinks from floor length to somewhere mid-calf length, depending on how tightly the braid is braided. The upper, thicker hair probably is where the most length loss occurs. Where it's thinner toward the ends, since the hair bends back-and-forth less, I doubt there is much loss down there.

Volume measurement makes a difference.
Tightness of braid makes a difference.

The only time I have seen hair look longer after braiding was on a former neighbor, whose hair was about 3b curly. Braiding actually straightened her hair so it appeared longer. In a sense, braiding equalizes all hair types (speaking of wave pattern).

Agreed. And that's a pretty big loss you go through. I'm sure I'll have the same when (if?) I ever get that long...

June 6th, 2008, 08:11 PM
Maid Marian had a striking set of photos on the old LHC showing the difference in length between tight and loose English braids. The tight braid was much shorter.

I think I lose about 5" when I braid starting at the base of my skull. I make them of medium tightness.

Did we lose touch with MM in the move? She was my hair idol. :sniff:

June 7th, 2008, 07:46 AM
I never thought about this before - I usually look at the braid to see if it looks even, but I never noticed that it gets shorter!
(I'm a little slow):rolleyes:
Anyway, my hair is recently trimmed so it's actually closer to 26 1/2 now, and when I do a french braid (so far my only braid I've mastered) it shrinks up to 23 inches. So I guess I lose about 3-4 inches.

June 7th, 2008, 08:17 AM
My hair loose is 32 and a bit and in a braid 30 or so.

June 7th, 2008, 08:21 AM
TB loose - veeeery low hip/almost TB when braided..
So.. length eating braid? Not so much.. but then again, my last 10" are very thin.. that may have something to do with it.. and I'd prefer a length eating braid any day!!

June 7th, 2008, 08:28 AM
If your hair is thicker, you'll lose more lenght. It's simple geometry. The strands are "fatter" so they travel more distance when turning.

Braiding very tightly increases the effect.

I also find that braiding too tightly close to my head makes the braid look unbalanced--extreme fatness at the top and fast taper.

Best braid for me is Dianyla's braid where I sort of part the back of my head in a Y. Then I cross the two outside pieces on top of the middle one before I start braiding. This gives me a good base that doesn't slip without having to braid tightly.

Just for you I braided two ways.

1. My old way, where I started at the nape, braiding very snugly. I ended up with a length of 25". Tassel is long, about 5" because it gets skinny fast.

2. Dianyla's way. Braid starts above nape. Hair pieces are determined by finger parting back of head in a Y. Start not too tightly and keep braiding as even as possible down the length.
Length is 30".

Technique makes a big difference for me.

June 7th, 2008, 08:51 AM
I lose a few inches, not sure of the exact measurement, but it isn't all that much and I'm a ii.

June 7th, 2008, 08:35 PM
My hair's around 37 and shrinks to 30 in a braid. I do braid very tightly, but I go wayyy to the bottom. Long tassels bother me, and esp when my hair's wet, I can get to less than an inch of the ends. Of course, once it dries and has been rubbing along my shirt all day, there are tons and tons of hairs sticking out cause they're all different lengths!

I wish I had done this measurement over the years.. maybe there's a pattern, so I'd know how long a given length would be as a braid. :D

June 7th, 2008, 11:21 PM
I lose about 4 in when I do an english braid, and when I do a dutch braid only lose about 2 in.
Because of how I learned how to braid my hair.

June 8th, 2008, 03:04 AM
I usually lose about a foot in length when I braid, but my hair is a bit on the thick side and is long enough that a foot is still less than 1/5th of its length.

June 8th, 2008, 10:45 AM
I measured once and it was like 25&#37; of the length got lost when I braided it. Of course, that was before the last of the pany-tail damage finished falling out, so now it's probably more like 15% because I now have a big ol' taper.

However, I kind of *want* shrinkage. My goal is to have hair as long as possible *without* sitting on my braid. I dunno, for some reason I don't like hair that goes past-butt. I mean, I want all those great updos you can do with classic or knee-length hair but when it comes to wearing my hair down, I don't want it past my butt. A nice compromise, I feel, is to grow my hair as long as I can, as long as the braid stays at TB. So, the more length the braid eats, the better!

I guess I'm just weird that way. :cheese:

P.S. I meant to say, it's 25% of the length from nape to ends, not 25% of the whole length.

June 8th, 2008, 11:32 AM
Ugg, I lose so much length that it's ridculous! When wet my hair is tailbone lenth, when dry it can shrink up to waist, and when braided it looks BSL! Very annoying. My hair is 4.75" at the nape.

Wow, that's EXACTLY how mine is except it's not as curly as yours. I dunno how thick at the nape mine is, though. I've never measured, just kind of guesstimated.

June 8th, 2008, 01:12 PM
My hair is just past APL dry (and wurly), just past my bra band wet or stretched, and APL braided. So I lose nothing! I have a 2.75 nape pony,

June 8th, 2008, 06:00 PM
I'm at 35... my average tightness braid is 30"... and I've got a lot of breakage and taper too, so I imagine if it were thicker at the end, I'd have even more shrinkage. I'm at roughly 3 1/2" around. Dang shedding. I used to be 4 1/4 :(.

June 8th, 2008, 09:42 PM
I use not even 2 inches..my braid has lots of taper.

June 8th, 2008, 09:58 PM
I know what you mean it feels like I lose 5" but probably not really.

June 8th, 2008, 10:32 PM
I too lose a lot of length in a braid. I'm a little past BSL and a braid will put it at about armpit length. Hm, strange. I don't really braid tightly or loosely, somewhere in between.

July 9th, 2008, 01:14 AM
Hi, everyone! :bluesmile Let's see...my hair is fine, straight-to-wavy, & its ponytail circumference was last measured to be 2-7/8" thick. I was thinking recently that, when my waist-length hair is in a braid, it sometimes "masquerades" itself to be only at mid-back. I can't do any kind of a braid without making a ponytail first, so I might be making its location higher on my head sometimes; that could be one reason mine appears shorter. Happy braiding! :)

July 9th, 2008, 01:18 AM
i'm just going to say just making it past neck

July 9th, 2008, 11:09 AM
My hair actually gains length in braids - the curlies are forced straight'ish', and so my hair looks MUCH longer when it's braided than it does loose. If I flat-ironed it straight, and then braided it, I doubt that I would lose much length, at all......

Ahh, the delights of shrinkage. :lol:

July 9th, 2008, 11:19 AM
I braid my hair tightly and it shrinks about 2.5-3" , hip length hair becomes a waist length braid :)