More Stylists Sharing Photos of Braid and Weave Work on Balding Clients: Confidence Booster or Bad Practice?

Photo credit: Braids by Darnita

Box braids, twists, and faux locs have really been making their rounds on everyone’s heads this year. They’ve always been popular, but currently, I can’t scroll through one natural hair account on Instagram without seeing a gorgeous set of braids, twists or faux locs.

Why not get a set of these protective styles? They’re low maintenance, fun and you can style them various ways. I’ve already had two sets of twists this spring and I’m definitely itching to get them done again. I had a permanent and fuss free hair style for over two months and it was heaven!

Recently, I saw a few braiders on Instagram showcasing their braiding talent. I always look at what other braiders are doing so that I can show my stylist how large or small I want my braids or twists. After looking for a bit, I started to see a trend. There were multiple braiders who were braiding balding women’s hair. It wasn’t just slightly balding, but shiny scalp, no edges, and patchy kind of bald.

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My first thought was, how are they braiding hair that is so sparse? I would think that the braider wouldn’t have anything to grab on to, but I was wrong. The braids were neat and filled in as well as they could be filled in. It really did seem like the braider worked a miracle. Followers even commended the braiders under the hair photos. The clients in the photos appeared to be very happy with the results.

My next thought? Why would a woman want braids if she has scalp issues and is severely balding? I understand longing for a particular hair style, but is it worth it to get braids at this point? I would like to think that if I were in the same boat, braids wouldn’t be my style of choice. Braids can cause damage to even the healthiest head of hair. The tension and weight of the braids can pull on your own hair and cause it to break if they aren’t done correctly. Even worse, they can cause traction alopecia if done too tightly. I would probably choose something that causes less stress on my fragile scalp.

balding blonde

I always say that it’s the stylist’s responsibility to inform their client on what’s best for their hair. It pains me to see braiders knowingly braid damaged hair for a quick dollar. I’ve seen it happen often in African braiding shops. However, I’m almost positive that’s not what’s happening with the braiders associated with these photos. It truly seemed like the braiders were trying to help the client feel better about their hair and give them a boost in confidence.

Build a braid! Build a brand!!! #BookIt #BraidsByDarnita. Just another satisfied client. Press play. #CoverUp

Posted by Darnita Lewis on Thursday, April 30, 2015

It isn’t clear why these women are balding and what issues they may have with their scalps. Is there hope that their hair may grow back or are they at the point of no return? If they’re hair has no hope of ever growing back, does that make it okay for the braiders to braid it? I’m also not sure if the braider or stylist is even responsible for any further damage done to the client’s hair after installing the braids. After all, the client knowingly sought out these particular braiders because they knew they were good at hiding balding areas. Personally, with so many other hair styles that could cover those areas, I’m not sure braids are the best idea.

Do you think braiders are boosting confidence or causing further damage?

20 thoughts on “More Stylists Sharing Photos of Braid and Weave Work on Balding Clients: Confidence Booster or Bad Practice?

  1. The braids and weaves are just causing further damage. They should advise these people to invest in a couple of good wigs, a bottle of JBCO and teach them how to do a proper scalp massage. The only thing left to do is to pray for a miracle.

  2. I’m of two minds on this.

    On the one hand: I have never had to deal with baldness but I know women who have. I’m not going to begrudge them doing whatever they feel they need to do to feel more comfortable and confident. Just like everybody else out here who’s wearing relaxed hair, natural hair, synthetic hair, Indian women’s hair, etc….it’s their hair, their heads, their choice.

    On the other hand: In a different, more ethical industry, braiders would 1) ask these clients if they’ve talked to a doctor for their hair issues AND 2) make them aware that the style they’re requesting MAY cause further damage. Sadly, as many of us should know by now, too many of these stylists couldn’t care less about their clients’ hair health. In fact some might even say straight-out that it’s not their responsibility to care.

    In both cases the onus is on the CLIENT to get educated. Otherwise, caveat emptor, as they say.

  3. You can walk in a salon with one strand of hair on your head and These so called braiders, weave specialists etc. will say,
    ” I can make it Work! $300 please hair not included. ”

  4. I think this is a bad idea unless you never plan to wear your real hair out again. . Yes, There are different forms of alopecia. I had a form of it that required me to use daily treatments. How are people able to do that as well as cleanse regularly with this style. I wore wigs and scarfs when out but let my scalp breathe when at home. I did notice wigs and wig caps affecting my hair line eventually so I cut back even more.

  5. Too many black women are starting to suffer from hair loss. The major kind where they have permanent damage and end up going bald. They are doing too much manipulation on their hair. Too many different styles that cause tension on the scalp and too many different products with loads of chemicals. Black women spend 3 times more on hair products than any other women. We are a big market.

  6. I sit on the fence with this. If you have a serious condition and the hair isnt going to grow back, I guess I dont see the harm. There is nothing wrong with a confidence boost. However, if they are just not taking care of their hair..that is another story. There are just too many variables to think one particular way.

  7. This reminds me of a client I had. she had thinning hair and she would do weaves and extensions and all sorts of stuff that pulled on her hair. Now she is sporting wigs, but people need to stop doing that to their noggins if they already have thinning and fragile hair. In the end it’s not worth it.

  8. I install extentions and I’m a very big advocate for hair care. I’ve been asking my client’s not to relax for 10 years now! I can personally say that there are a considerable percentage of women who Do Not Care what condition their natural hair is in. They only care about the style that they want at that moment. I’ve told a client recently (while holding a mirror in front of her, I might add) that her edges were thinning badly, but not yet to a point to be irreversible. I suggested an alternate style that would protect her edges while they recovered. She firmly replied, ” I Don’t Want To See It….just put my hair in.” OK.. Conversation Over… Sadly this happens 50% of the time that I point this out.

  9. Coincidentely, I’ve seen two balding women this week sporting extensions clinging to weak hair strands. They should wear weaves. I’ve had alopecia myself and would not have put my hair through this kind of stress. But I didn’t dare say anything to either lady for fear of getting an earful.

  10. I saw recent episodes of The Braxton & Tamar & another sister had their “natural” hair out and the first 2-3 inches were so thin I could see their scalp!! Why??? They would rather risk traction alopecia rather than find healthier ways to style their real hair? These lace wigs and full weaves are out of control. It used to be you’d add tracts at the back & middle for fuller & longer hair…now that is played out. The weight of a full lace front wig or an entire head of weave day in/out 365 days…how can your scalp not be at risk?There aren’t enough DC and oils to undo that constant abuse. Tamar is always flippin those weaves like its hers( annoying btw!!)! Meanwhile its pulling out her damn hairline! I don’t understand the mentality. Youre wealthy but can’t find a top notch stylist to care for your hair? And everyday chick’s will blow a check to get their weaves done.where are our priorities? And if I hear one more person say” it’s a protective style bc their tv work requires a lot of hair manipulation and heat”…who says you can’t be naturally curly/kinky on camera? Why is fabulous & glamorous only reserved for long flowing, loose curly or straight hair? We as blk women are the ones destroying our scalp bc we don’t like to deal with our hair. Most of us can’t jump in the shower& wash our hair in 15m like a white woman..but it’s our hair& its not something to be tucked away like a secret illegitimate child that we claim to love but hide bc ppl would! Let them! Stand proud & stop shaming your hair!

  11. I can’t pass judgement on these women. They clearly have advanced stages of ccc alopecia, the kind that scars the hair follicles from below the surface. It is considered permanent (but can be stabilized with treatment). The weaves have become toupees for these women. They will lead to further baldness but in their despair they would rather cover the problem and add to it. Sad. Hard to judge someone for that.

    All I can hope for is that anyone seeing this, who doesn’t have alopecia: Avoid these harsh practices before you get it!! This goes for us naturals, too!!

  12. It’s really sad how much some black women hate their natural hair. I was right there with them. The women in my family looked down on women with natural hair. I remember them calling it ugly, nappy, nigger public hair. My first perm was at 5 or 6, and it left me with a bald spot on one side of my head.
    I grew up thinking that my own natural hair was ugly and would look ugly on me. I always permed my hair every time I saw the slightest new growth. I kept it in braids for years and it kept thinning. I used to say to myself if I go bald, I’ll start using full sew ins. Black women accept that although damaging, extensions are the only way to have beautiful hair. Whatever the cost may be, it’s worth it for a few weeks of flowing hair. As the commentator stated about the Braxtons, Tamar has the worst alopecia from extensions. I remember them adjusting her tracks to cover a bald spot in one episode. Naomi Campbell is one of the worst alopecia victims. I couldn’t believe those pictures I saw of her scalp. So scary! I finally grew tired of all the breakage and flat ironing and permig of my hair. I went natural and I love my natural hair. It’s so thick and strong and growing so long. I’m at bra strap length currently and that’s a length I never imagined I could get to (I use to have long permed hair, but long means past your neck lol). I no longer have hair envy and my bald spot from long ago has completely filled in. I think hair dressers should show pictures of balding scalps. Women like me who were misguided by other women can really benefit and wake up and realize how important taking care of your hair really is.

  13. Obviously I can’t speak to every condition. But I think these styles on these types of clients may do more harm than good. I have a friend who had similar breakage after getting her hair braided. The person doing the braids was able to cover up the balding areas, but it only exacerbated her hair loss. Why not just let the hair and scalp rest? If a wig isn’t an option, head scarves are a nice alternative.

  14. I just couldn’t stop praising God for my healthy, strong, fast growing hair as I read this article. Although I’m experiencing a major setback & have a lot of breakage due to my Sickle Cell Anemia; I’m so thankful for what God has blessed me with & its huge potential to thrive. Thank you BGLH for giving me the tools & knowledge to regain my hair’s health. My heart is filled with compassion for those suffering with major irreversible hair issues. I just pray they find positive answers & most of all peace & contentment.

  15. That looks so scary. I hope they don’t pull off any more hair with that process. It’s so sad where ever I go I see receding hair lines and people asking me for advice on how I take care of my hair. All of these chemicals and weaves and glues and what now are the cause of all of this. Give your hair a break and some tlc.

  16. I can’t judge them but if they were my family members I would advise them to purchase a wig and to moisturize their hair when they are home . This makes me thankful for my healthy thick natural hair . I have never had bald spots or alocepia but I did experience damage and breakage when I had relaxed hair and when I was transitioning . It saddens me to say hair stylists still doing tight braid styles to their hair even though they know it’s balding and breaking off . It shows that they would do anythinh for money and don’t care about the state of their clients hair .

  17. I think sometimes braids are actually the problem years ago in fact the last time I let anyone ever put braids in my hair again the braids were so tight I was crying from the pain – no amount of pain medication I took helped – I took the braids out at 3 am my scalp was sore and I lost half my hair lucky for me my hair was thick and with time it did recover from the damage caused by the braids

  18. My mother suffer from this same issue. Hair loss was a side effect of some of her diabetes meds and she didn’t realize until it was to late. So i wish there was something we could do but she avoids braids and stick to wigs.

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