View Full Version : Braids CAUSING splits?

March 31st, 2009, 10:07 PM
Hi everyone,

I know that the general advice for hair care is keep it tied up or back - braids, buns, rolls, all considered 'protective' styles. Compared to letting it fly free I would generally agree, but I seem to be experiencing the opposite with braids.

I usually bun my hair 24/7 but it's getting too bulky to sleep in and certainly won't fit under a helmet (which is suddenly critical now that I'm learning to cycle). So, I started french braiding a bit more and letting it hang down half the time, rather than bunning or flipping the braid up.

However, in the last month I've noticed an incredible increase in splits and white dots at the tips and further up the shaft within the past month or so, all the way down my length. I only changed my styling habits in the last couple of months and had no other routine change. The ends are feeling quite tangly and horrible and S&D takes a couple of hours each time!

Has anyone else experienced this? Might braids not offer enough protection when all the shorter hairs stick out from every bump?

March 31st, 2009, 10:10 PM
How long have you been cycling for? That is, could the splits be due to the helmet instead of the braid?

March 31st, 2009, 10:15 PM
If you are just leaving your hair braided and exposed to the elements while you are out riding, then I would bet on that being the main culprit. As far as sleeping in a bun..ouch!

March 31st, 2009, 10:59 PM
I don't cycle or wear any kind of helmet. But I tried braiding my hair every night for sleeping for a couple of months, but had to abandon the practise because of tangles and splits. I think rubbing the hairs against each other is damaging, especially for my relatively fine hair.

March 31st, 2009, 11:03 PM
I was wondering if you had considered a netted clip to protect your hair while cycling. Or something that would keep it contained like wrapping it in a scarf to protect it from the wind.

Just a thought I had.

March 31st, 2009, 11:12 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.

I've only been cycling for about an hour a week for the past month or so (I'm still getting the hang of it!) and I wear a bandana under my helmet to prevent rubbing, while the rest is either tucked down my shirt or wrapped into my scarf around my neck. I had a kid pull my braid while I was still putting on my helmet on the first day (before I had even sat on a bike!) and I thought, "right, that's going to be put AWAY out of harm's reach!"

March 31st, 2009, 11:27 PM
My hair gets horrible splits and breaks when I braid it. It's very fine and doesn't stay in a tight braid well. So I don't do it anymore. What worked better for me when I used to ride motorcycles was just putting a bunch of those cloth hair ties down the length of my hair.

It works fine, but everyone might seem to want to comment on it more than usual. :shrug: Don't know why that is.

April 1st, 2009, 05:54 AM
what do you think is best to avoid damage... tight braids or loose braids?? im also trying to figure out whats the best thing to do with my hair when i go to bed..

April 1st, 2009, 08:04 AM
Realistically, buns will provide protection. That's what I wear most of the time.

Many wear braids, but I don't understand it. Loose or tight, I mean, the sheer act of chafing strands of hair across one another and then tightening it so you can tie it off ... I get clear damage when I wear it like that. And then during the day - the chafing as your braid constantly rolls and moves up and down against your back - at the end of the day, I literally have thousands of hairs poking out of the bumps in my braids because of the chafing.

I do suppose it depends on hair type. Perhaps thicker hair doesn't react this way? I'm certain that some do have great success wearing braids.

As far as nighttime, I wear a silk sleep cap or at least wear my hair in a really high bun. I'm quite used to it so neither bothers me anymore.

April 1st, 2009, 08:13 AM
I just posted about this the other day. Every time I braid or put my hair up (my buns are very messy and not to LHC standards, but they are all I can accomplish) I get more tangles, and more splits and bends, it seems like.

other people responded that it might have to do with hair type, and that I should comb my hair before putting it up. Maybe you already do this, or maybe it is obvious, but I thought finger-combing was enough.

the other thing that seems to help me is having hair that's better 'lubricated' before braiding. Because of this I tend to only braid very 'dirty' or heavily oiled hair. Clean hair I tend to wear down both to enjoy it and to keep the ends from more kinking.

However, as a daily bike rider I understand the need to keep it out of the wind, too. What about braiding it loosely and tucking it into your collar or scarf? This 'do is easier on my hair at times, I don't get braid 'bumps', and I can take it out when I get where I am going.


April 1st, 2009, 08:14 AM
I have noticed that braids cause more damage to my hair also. I am going to have to get a trim due to the amount of splits I have gotten that past couple months from braiding and go back to bunning all the time. Very frustrating. some people are lucky that can do braids and not have problems.

I would do the fabric scrunchi's down the length as suggested. There are also things that can be purchased from bike shops or the net that are long and wrap around the hair length and have snaps, can't think of what they are called but have seen many men and women that wear them while biking.

April 1st, 2009, 08:24 AM
Braids aren't nearly as protective as buns, especially for fine hair. (The folks with coarse hair don't seem to have issues with this, that I've heard about.) The hair tie can be damaging, and the whole length rubs on shirts and is generally exposed to the elements. For me, this is still less damaging than loose, but darn it, sometimes I would rather wear a braid than a bun, so I do, because it's part of enjoying having long hair for me.

If you're cycling, I imagine you'll get better results if you can figure out a way to cover the braid, so it isn't getting whipped by the wind. Something like horse's tail bags might work, or you can simply tuck it inside your jacket. (This is motorcycling, right?)

For sleep, I like to use a sleep cap, and I wrap my loose hair around my hand a few times, then pile it on my head and pull the thing on. Keeps my hair contained, prevents me from sleeping on top of a braid, and there's no way I could sleep with my hair bunned.

April 1st, 2009, 09:28 AM
I can't sleep in braids either, as I'm TERRIFIED of the damage. My hair is fine also, and if just wearing a regular single English braid down my back causes so much friction on my hair, imagine what I'd do to it if I were tossing and turning on it. :(

April 1st, 2009, 11:02 AM
I agree, braids seem to damage my hair also. After a full day with braided hair I will have dry ends poking out everywhere and terrible tangles. Especially if it is a braid worn at the nape of the neck! So I rarely wear that style anymore. I do however like braided buns, and I just make sure to have my hair well oiled before braiding and slightly damp before bunning. :)

April 1st, 2009, 11:15 AM
This is something I found it hard to believe when I was a new member because braids weren't a problem at shorter lengths. However, the longer my hair grows, the less protective a braid is. Due to all the shorter hairs working themselves free, then my braid swinging across my back jumbling up and tangling those shorter ends, braids just don't work for me anymore. I still braid it for my morning workout but I don't leave it in a braid very long. It's disappointing, really.

April 1st, 2009, 12:09 PM
If you are worried about the wind getting in your braid and causing problems you could try a tail sock. I got one from the feed store, more as a joke and giggle for this thread (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=20880&highlight=tail+sock), but if I use an elastic band on my hair and scoop it all in, it will keep my hair contained on a windy day. I am sure you could make one with a satin lining if you really wanted. :) Just an idea.

And I'm weird enough that I have worn it in public, lol.

April 1st, 2009, 10:04 PM
The tail bag is a pretty good idea! I thought I'd seen someone mention those here before - brilliant!

April 2nd, 2009, 01:16 AM
Is there any place i can buy those caps for sleeping? besides internet? is it something i could ask my groundmother to do :P ?

Milui Elenath
April 2nd, 2009, 04:27 AM
I also find braids allow the ends to stick out and get damaged as the day goes on. I do find rope braids better, they seem to hold the hairs better especially if they are lightly oiled. I like to vary my hair and I have to wear a hat every day, its very annoying finding styles that work around them.

I do know that repeated braiding definately damages hair - a hairdresser once told a friend of mine that she knew she braided her hair all the time because the hairs had kinks, that was even after it was washed and left loose. That's why I think variation is key even for buns.

Also I had to comment on

What worked better for me when I used to ride motorcycles was just putting a bunch of those cloth hair ties down the length of my hair.

It works fine, but everyone might seem to want to comment on it more than usual. :shrug: Don't know why that is.

I've noticed comments whenever this hairstyle is worn too. Paticularly if I wear the pigtail versions. It's weird. :confused:

April 2nd, 2009, 06:09 AM
Thanks guys, it's really comforting to know I'm not imagining it!

From memory, my braids were very protective when my hair was shorter than bsl, probably because most hairs were the same length at blunt-cut. After that, too many hairs escape. :(

I'll have to keep wearing something down while I'm riding, so I'm going to try different ways of covering my braid (or banded ponytail, or rope braid) properly when cycling rather than just shoving it under clothing. Here's hoping scarves or stockings will do the trick *fingers crossed*

I'm also curious about sleep caps - I'm sick of all my nape hairs breaking from the tangles. Any recommendations?

Also, have people who use sleep caps found it harder to fall asleep or stay that way? An over-warm head can prevent people from dropping off to sleep, and from the many times I've tried to sleep with a towel wrapped around my wet hair I can vouch that the theory unfortunately holds true.

April 2nd, 2009, 07:06 AM
My old sleep cap was really lightweight, though it's gotten a few snags in it and has been tossed into the luggage for when I travel or go camping. Didn't keep my head much warmer. I haven't tried my new, somewhat heavier satin ones (the "stay on satin" type) in the summer yet, when having a warm head might be a problem. Then again, I get very cold at night and tend to pull the comforter up to my ears, so a little warmth is welcome. (Associated with a warm head keeping you awake, I am known to wear my warmest winter cap while driving long distances at night, because it keeps me warmer and therefore more alert.)

April 2nd, 2009, 07:07 AM
have you considered a buff?

April 4th, 2009, 09:03 PM
My hair also breaks more in braids.

April 5th, 2009, 03:04 AM
This is what I do when I wear my helmet. French braid, and then put on the helmet. At the nape of your neck, make the tail of the braid into a bun. After a few times of doing it, you will be able to know where to put the bun so it won't interfere with your helmet. What type of helmet do you have? I have a Bell Triton (http://www.bellbikehelmets.com/productDetail.asp?prodID=11), mainly because my hair is so thick that a ladies helmet won't fit. This helmet fits with french braids and french braid pigtails too.

April 5th, 2009, 06:42 AM
I'm not sure what the exact make and model of my helmet is but it's the same style as the Triton. I had tried putting helmets on with low buns but I didn't think to pin it up AFTER the helmet is on. I will try it :)

April 6th, 2009, 10:01 AM

Before I found the LHC I was trying to *protect* my hair by braiding it! I hadn't discovered hair sticks yet and could never get elastic buns to stay... so braiding was the only thing I could think of. :confused:

I always just assumed all the splits that stuck out of the braid were from my other mistreatment of my hair, not from the braid. Sad news, because I still love braids.

April 6th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Well, this thread makes me feel better. I stopped braiding at night because I was noticing a lot more breakage around the top of the braid, and I just couldn't see how it was protecting the hair well when I woke up with bits and pieces pulled every which way in the morning. I braid my hair almost every day now that it's longer because it's easier to fold it and clip it in place than to do successful bun, but now I'm wondering if this is where all my split ends have come from. I guess I just need to keep practicing buns....