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It’s happened to the best of us: you get a fresh set of extensions, be they Ghana braids, Marley twists or faux locs. You check the mirror, excited at how fly you look, and commence the itching. That ‘keeping you up at night’ itching, that ‘furiously patting your head’ itching, that ‘using a fork to get at the skin beneath the braid’ itching. Well Ariane of BlackNaps.com has gotten to the root (pun intended!) of the issue and explains why extensions can itch so much!

Well, why is synthetic hair so itchy?

To make the hair heat resistant a coating of Akaline Lye is sprayed on the hair. So when you are burning the ends of the hair or using boiling hot water to curl the Kanekalon hair, you have the Akaline to thank. The Akaline also helps to make the product more sanitary and aids in preventing mold and other growths. Unfortunately many people’s scalps become easily irritated by this coating which is why even on the first day of getting your braids you may find it to be quite itchy.

Not to worry! Ariane goes on to suggest soaking the hair in a solution of water and apple cider vinegar prior to braiding or washing it with regular shampoo. She has an actual recipe for the water/ACV solution here.

Ladies, how do you handle itchy braids? Were you aware of the high alkalinity of braiding hair?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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10 Comments on "This Is Why Braid Extensions Itch So Much"

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Jeanine
Even though I soak my braiding hair in water and apple cider vinegar, then add a bit of shampoo and rinse my braids after a few days begin to itch again somoecialky @ night. Before getting the braids I treat my hair with different oils as well as leave in treatments. I do not have dandruff or anything else. I oil my scalp, I moisturize my hair with coconut oil, or olive oil, any oil really and anti itch sprays and nothing. Any suggestions. I can’t keep them for more than two weeks, I hate having an itchy scalp specially… Read more »
Tamika M Ward

Well can this work even after I have put the braids in cause my scalp is on fire

maddie

My moms been braiding my sister and I’s hair for over 20 years. She knew about this coating before and used to wash the hair before braiding ours. I have a very sensitive scalp and I know for a fact this method of cleansing works very well. I showed her this article and she was very happy to know people are starting to educate themselves on this topic.

JamieB

I put wrap my braids in saran and spray put baking soda on my scalp, after ten minutes spray with hydrogen peroxide, rinsing the scalp completely after two minutes.

Natural MiMi

I treat my scalp, first and then also the hair.

Fix it

Lye!!
Ewwwwwwww
I was just wondering what they made synthetic hair out of
I guess I’m going to start yarn braiding .

star

They don’t make it out of lye, they coat it with a form of lye. yarn maybe safer… the yarn it treated as well.

shan

I soak my kanekalon hair in pure acv 20 minutes then rinse, air dry.

Bkmews

Nice article. I’ll keep the water/acv solution in mind for the next time I get braids.

kalexa1

Well, how ironic is this? In going ‘natural’ and installing braids/extensions we can still be unwittingly exposing ourselves and our scalps to chemicals. I was disturbed to read the word ‘lye’! It just goes to show the simpler you can keep things the better. The message seems to be clear enough “Processed means additives will be present”. What about the residue still left even after said ACV pre-wash of such synthetics? Trace? I dunno.

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