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Products for braiding hair are important because braided hairstyles remain a go-to protective style that can help your tresses grow out.
That's why I've compiled a list of 11 great braid products to try and remember in order to avoid a dry and itchy scalp, cleanse your hair of product buildup, and select quality hair.
Box braids, cornrows and braids in other forms, are the most popular summer and winter protective style when you don't have time to fiddle with your hair.
Whatever protective style you choose, you must take care of your hair and ensure that you are not causing more damage than protection.
Avoiding dry scalp, sticking to wash routines, selecting a great moisturizer for those braids, and even selecting the right pack of braid extension hair bundles are all critical steps in the process of getting box braids – no step should be skipped or overlooked.
Be sure to check out this entire list of the best products because they serve different purposes in the braiding process.
Some products are for braid installation preparation, other products for during and after braid installation hair care.
Touted as the best braiding gel by many naturals, Diamond Edges Braid Tamer by BLACK PANTHER STRONG is a non-sticky gel pomade for braids, locs, and frizzy edges.
It’s one of the best braiding gels because it contains deeply nourishing oils derived from coconut, jojoba nuts, sunflower seeds, and castor seeds, which help to lock moisture into box braids and cornrows and seal the cuticles.
Aloe leaf extract keeps the scalp's sebum balance in check, preventing dryness, itching braids, and dandruff.
This #1 best braiding gel keeps hair in place while braiding and fixes baby hair swoops and flyaways at the edges.
This is one of the best braiding gels because the natural oils protect the braids from heat, sweat, and humidity while also preventing cakey or sticky layers from forming on the scalp under cornrows and box braids.
Key Braiding Gel Ingredients: Castor oil, Sunflower oil, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil, Glycerin, and Aloe leaf extract
Buy Black Panther Strong Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
Let's Jam! Condition & Shine Gel by Soft Sheen Carson is also one of the best braiding gels in store because it uses micro-emulsion technology that conditions your hair and imparts shine.
This braiding gel reduces hair breakage and does not leave any residue as it does not contain wax or alcohol. The extra hold formula of this “best braiding gel” contender is perfect for braiding, styling, twisting, smoothing edges, and taming frizz and flyaways.
Unlike regular creams, waxes or other naturalista products, this braiding gel does not cause flaking.
Buy Let’s Jam Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
The Triple Care Braid Cream from Pantene’s Gold Series is a moisture-locking and texture-enhancing styling product for braiding hair.
This product contains pure argan oil, which relieves the stress caused by braiding on the scalp and hair making it one of the best braiding cream products on the market.
The provitamin B5 and vitamin E condition the braids and keep them from drying out or breaking. This box braid & cornrow cream also helps to control frizz and adds a subtle shine to braids and locs.
The formula is thick enough to spread evenly on textured hair, but it is not greasy and does not accumulate in the cuticles.
Key Braid Cream Ingredients: Argan oil, Panthenol, Histidine, and Salicylic acid
Buy Pantene Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
This cleansing rinse gently detoxifies and conditions hair that has been braided or weaved.
It also reduces frizz and soothes scalp itching, making styling a breeze and making it one of the best products for braiding natural hair.
African Pride's cleansing rinse has a moisturizing base of black castor oil and coconut oil that nourish and promote hair growth. Apricot extract, wheat protein, and vitamins B5 and E aid in the repair of stressed hair and cuticles.
This cleansing rinse is naturally formulated to maintain and protect textured hair that requires weaving, braiding, and/or twisting on a regular basis.
Key Ingredients: Black castor oil, Wheat protein, Panthenol, Apricot extract, Coconut oil, Peppermint oil, and Vitamin E
Buy African Pride Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
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This braid oil is one of the best hair products for cornrows because it’s made with an exotic blend of sunflower seed, olive, sweet almond, tea tree, and wheat germ oils. This nourishing oil blend hydrates and conditions braids, crochet braids, butterfly loc, twists, and traditional dreadlocks.
It promotes healthy growth while restoring the natural sheen and texture of hair shafts.
The unique oil blend provides a soothing, cool sensation to the scalp and cuticles while releasing built-up tension.
The weightless formula makes it simple to spread and seep into the scalp, leaving no residue.
Key Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, Olive oil, Sweet almond oil, Tea tree oil, and Vitamin E
Buy Sulfur 8 Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
The Tropical Moringa Pearly BraidOut Glaze defines and keeps braids, twists, and flyaways in place.
It seals in moisture while also restoring softness and shine to the hair. This braid glaze contains moringa seed oil and vitamins A, D, and E, which penetrate deeply into the hair shafts to replenish and restore nutrient balance.
It improves strength, elasticity, and shine, as well as making styling last longer. This Black hair braid glaze product absorbs quickly into your scalp and hair fibers, reducing shedding and breakage.
Is simple to rinse out and not only one of the best hair products for cornrows and natural hair box braids, it’s also one one of the best wash-and-go options.
Key Ingredients: Castor oil, Moringa seed oil, Aloe leaf juice, Celery seed extract, Green tea extract, and Vitamins A, D, and E
Buy The Mane Choice Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
This SheaMoisture hair butter for braids is made entirely of vegan and ethically sourced ingredients. The product formula contains nutrient-dense Jamaican black castor oil as well as shea butter, sweet almond and coconut oils, and shea butter.
While the oils lock in moisture, the active botanical extracts of sage, aloe, rosemary, chamomile, mango seed, and peppermint leaf promote natural hair growth.
To prevent breakage, they nourish, soften, and strengthen individual hair strands from root to tip. This 100% plant-based formula relieves tension and irritation caused by scalp braids and leaves your hair soft and shiny.
Key Braid Butter Ingredients: Aloe leaf juice, Shea butter, Sweet almond oil, Coconut oil, Mango seed butter, Sage extract, Castor oil, and Rosemary extract
Buy Shea Moisture Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
This is a rinse-free hair cleanser that thoroughly cleans and maintains box braids and cornrows without disturbing them, one of the best products for braiding natural hair.
The shampoo contains salicylic acid, a scalp-soothing ingredient that relieves itching, dryness, and dandruff.
Aloe vera powder and vitamin E provide hydration and nourishment to the scalp, relieving stress and tension. This one-of-a-kind shampoo spray for natural hair braids will revitalize and pamper your hair while leaving it with a fresh, lingering scent.
Key Braid Shampoo Ingredients: Salicylic acid, vitamin E, and Aloe vera powder
Buy Better Braids Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
Shea Moisture's Jojoba Oil and Ucuuba Butter Track Tension and Itch Relief Serum is exactly what your braids require.
This shea butter-based serum contains jojoba seed, ucuuba nut, carrot seed, and peppermint oils, which relieve scalp tension and itching caused by tightly braided styles and sewn-in weaves.
It hydrates the hair shafts deeply, reducing breakage and hair fall. With regular use, the oil blend restores the shine, smoothness, and strength of textured hair.
Key Braid Serum Ingredients: Shea butter, Jojoba seed oil, Ucuuba nut oil, Carrot seed oil, Oat bran extract, Rice protein, and Witch hazel extract
Buy SheaMoisture Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
The Murray's Spray Unlock is an excellent choice for quickly and safely removing braids and weaves without causing damage to the hair. It includes a unique herb and oil blend infused in a castor oil base.
As a result, this spray works well as a prepping and conditioning agent. It also contains salicylic acid, which combats dry scalp and conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.
These ingredients protect and nourish fragile hair, preventing breakage and hair loss. This spray can be used on both natural and synthetic hair due to its weightless and chemically safe composition.
Key Ingredients: Special herb and oil blend, Castor oil, and Salicylic acid
Buy Murray’s Spray Unlock Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
Kuza's conditioner provides excellent hold while also deeply moisturizing the hair and scalp beneath braids or weaves.
It contains natural beeswax and paraffin wax, which provide essential fats and emollients to dry and stressed textured hair.
This braid conditioner restores moisture balance and relieves scalp tension caused by braiding. It can also be used as a pomade to seal braids, locs, twists, and other kinky and coily hairstyles.
Key Braid Conditioner Ingredients: Natural beeswax and Paraffin wax
Buy Kuza Beeswax Products For Braiding Hair AT AMAZON
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Now that you've seen the Top 11 Products for braiding hair, let’s talk about how to use specific braid products for common issues we face…
Problem #1: The first and possibly most important step in getting box braids is selecting the right hair. It may be tempting to opt for less expensive hair, whether synthetic or human, but the chemicals used in braiding hair can irritate your scalp and cause an allergic reaction due to the alkaline base coating.
After some research and discussions, I discovered that not washing the synthetic braiding hair I had, as well as the type of hair I bought, caused my scalp to itch and become drier faster.
Solution: Always read the ingredients on hair care packages. It is safe to pre-wash any hair before putting it in your own head, or to look for hair that has already been washed. As a pre-treatment, wash synthetic hair with diluted vinegar or ACV and a cup of hot water to remove the alkaline base.
Product Recommendation: X-pression Hair, an African company that produces high-quality hair. Black 'n Gold Hair, based in California, offers high-quality human and synthetic hair textures that are extremely smooth.
Problem #2: The treatment before and during installation is the second component to keeping your braids looking great.
After two weeks, your scalp will be begging for tender love and care, which begins with the products you use and how you apply them. Between the pulling tension and the lack of wash or co-wash days, you'll want to keep scalp-friendly products on hand.
I'm always hesitant to wash my hair with braids, so I take braids out after only a month of wearing them. I discovered some products that will assist me in extending my protective style as well as responsibly prepping my hair.
Solution: Deep condition your hair a day or two before putting on box braids. You want your hair to get the nutrients it needs before styling, as well as the proper moisture during installation.
This includes blow drying serums to prevent breakage, a great braiding gel or pomade, and a leave-in conditioner spray for quick moisturizing in the coming weeks.
Product recommendation: For keeping hair moisturized & scalp clean look to SoftSheen-Jam Carson's Let's Conditioning Gel. It's one of the best braiding gels for slicking down edges and keeping hair in place.
Carol's Daughter has products designed specifically for protective hairstyles.
Their Mimosa Hair Honey line is a top recommendation because it includes a clarifying scalp treatment with an easy application top nozzle and a Calming Tension Spray that moisturizes the scalp and hair to help relieve itching caused by tension.
Problem #3: Although box braids are low-maintenance, laziness can set in, and we may forget to moisturize our tresses or even tie our hair up at night.
After two weeks, I have trouble keeping my box braids neat and sleek, resulting in the braids looking dull and frizzy, as well as my natural hair reverting to its curly state.
Solution: Bring your silk scarf or bonnet with you. If you don't have it, mousse or setting lotion, braiding spray, and a light pomade are the quickest ways to correct frizz and keep that shine and sleekness. You should never use greasy products that will cause heavy build up.
Apply a styling mousse for your braids, followed by a braiding spray, before tying it tightly with a head scarf. Allow at least 30 minutes for the scarf to dry and the product to settle.
Product Recommendation: Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-free Mousse will provide sleekness, shine, and minimal crunch or flaky residue.
Braid and Extensions in African Royale Sheen Spray has been a box braid staple for over a decade, and it's my personal favorite because it's infused with natural tea tree oil.
These hair products are intended to satiate the desire for textured hair beneath braids, weaves, locs, and twists.
They stimulate hair growth, strengthen and elasticity of hair strands, lock in moisture, soothe itchy scalp with dandruff, and condition hairstyles.
These products also protect and extend the life of the braids. If you want to wear braids and weaves but can't because of the high maintenance, don't worry.
Choose the hair products that are best suited to your hair type from among these numerous options. You'll notice how much your hair enjoys them!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.