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When Braids Get Loose is Hair Growing?

When braids get loose is hair growing? The answer is likely yes, if you've had a proper braid installation that was already loosely installed enough to not put tension stress on your scalp and edges, the looseness is probably from new growth hair.

On the contrary:

Installing extremely tight braids or extremely small in size versions like micro braids can have the opposite effect of hair growth and lead to breakage that will have you running for your favorite hair growth oils and biotin thickening shampoos.

To get faster new hair growth, your stylist should use thicker braid styles and put them in with the intentions of being a true protective style to grow hair and preserve length retention.

[SEE NHP's Ultimate Hair Growth Guide: HERE!]

When Braids Get Loose is Hair Growing? Yes, with a caveat.

Box braids, crochet braids, plait braids, faux locs, and cornrow braids are gorgeous hairdo styles for Black women with kinky-curly hair.

Not only that though:

They are effective protective hairstyles and are often one of the best ways to promote hair growth and protect the newly gained length.

The rumor about braids promoting hair growth and length-retention aren’t empty rumors.

Still though, sometimes your braids seem to loosen and you assume that your hair must’ve grown fast, however, when you take down your braids and do a length check, you realize that it’s the same length as before the braids, and sometimes you’ve even suffered severe breakage.

And this raises the question, when braids get loose is hair growing? Let's discuss...

When Braids Get Loose Is Hair Growing?

When Braids Get Loose Is Hair Growing? It's possible that the answer is yes.When Braids Get Loose Is Hair Growing? Yes, with a caveat.

The answer is yes, when your braided hair gets loose it’s normally a sign of growth and length-retention, there's a caveat though. Only when braids are installed and treated right, loosening braids after three weeks or more often means hair growth.

However, if the braids are too heavy and your hair is too soft, like when chemically relaxed or permed, the braids are prone to slipping down and off of your natural hair, which means that any loosening that you’re experiencing is not hair growth and more about slippage.

[RELATED: Can you wash your hair with French Braids?]

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What NHP Means by “When Braids Get Loose?”

We’re not talking about braids unravelling and coming undone when we talk about “When braids get loose”, although you do have to manually loosen them for a proper uninstall (or takedown) without losing hair. 

What we’re saying is:

When braids are first installed, they sit very close to your scalp.

However, after a couple weeks or so, you’ll begin to see a little bit of space forming between the base of your scalp and where the original natural hair braid or synthetic hair braid was made.

This is what we mean by loosening braids.

False Alarm: When Loose Braids Doesn’t Mean Getting Hair Growth

When braids get loose is hair growing. False alarm.When braids get loose is hair growing? It may be a faulty clue...

When braids get loose is hair growing, always? Don’t be fooled, because sometimes braids are getting loose for the wrong reasons.

Reasons for loosening that have nothing to do with hair growth.

Now, most times when you have all-natural hair braids with no braid extension hair attached, you can pretty much trust that when braids get loose your hair is growing. It’s a natural loosening with no interference factors.

Still though:

While some women opt for purely natural hair braids choose to add extensions. Using extensions for braids is the most common protective style choice and can be very effective for hair growth.

You need to be careful though...

Because, if your braids consist of very heavy synthetic extension hair, then loosening is not a guarantee that your hair has experienced any growth.

So before installation, you need to consider the state of your hair, how many weeks you plan to have the braids in, how heavy the protective braids are, and how you plan on maintaining your protective braids for successful hair growth.

If your braids are too heavy or your natural hair is too smooth or soft, and you’ve used heavy extensions that weigh down your braids, any loosening that you notice could simply be your hair buckling under the weight pressure of heavy extensions.

It could also be the case of overly-smooth or straightened hair strands that don’t grip the extensions well.

Extra smooth or soft hair has a hard time gripping braid extensions and it’s easier for the strands to slide loose and become undone when overloaded with heavy braids. If this is your situation, don’t be too quick to celebrate hair growth when you feel loose braids.

Also, if you notice this loosening just a few short days after leaving the salon, it is definitely not hair growth. Hair does not grow that fast, even the fastest hair growth is much more than 1/2 inch per month.

Therefore, if this loosening occurs in less than a week, it is unlikely to be due to hair growth.

[RELATED GALLERY: See Black Natural Hairstyle Ideas! HERE!]

When Braids Get Loose From Manipulation It’s Not Hair Growth

Similarly, if the way you handle your braids includes a lot of manipulation and styling, like too much washing (daily washing isn't needed with even the best shampoos), or if you do alot of tugging and pulling on your braids then the loosening can occur without hair growth.

It is important to note that braids with extensions involve added weight on your scalp, something that your hair is not used to, which means that poor management could result in braids loosening as they slide off your natural hair strands.

The only way to check if your hair is truly growing when you experience braid loosening is to check the roots to see if they're new hairs growing in.

New growth hair roots are often thick, textured, and healthier-looking compared to older hair. Also, given the slow growth of hair, the loosening should be minimal and only a couple inches long depending on the installation duration of the braids.

How Braids, Hair Growth & Loose Protective Styles Work Together

when braids get loose is hair growing. How Braids, Hair Growth & Loose Protective Styles Work.

Fact is, healthy hair will grow whether you braid it or not. But the protection you get from loose protective styles will make a world of difference in boosting length-retention.

This is because when you protective style your hair with braids, there is far less manipulation, which allows your hair to rest and naturally maintain growth. That’s why, usually, when braids get loose it’s a sign of hair growing.

When hair is not protected by braids, it’s far easier to cause damage through various kinds of manipulation. Manipulation could be simply brushing, playing with your hair, combing, styling, tugging, and pulling, all of which cause breakage.

Another concern is that if left unbraided, it takes the brunt of harsh elements like UV rays from the sun, chemicals in the environment, etc. All of these elements can limit your hair’s ability to grow.

Braids in and of themselves do not cause your hair to grow, they just give your hair a break from manipulation, and block out some of the elements that fight against faster hair growth.

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Best Braids For Hair Growth? Loose Fitting Protective Styles!

You wanna know the best braids for hair growth, good, we’ll break it down for you and it’s likely that when your braids get loose it’s because your hair is growing.

When installed loosely, box braids are a great protective style. The problem is that many women get box braids and let their stylist mess them up by installing them way too tightly which defeats the purpose of keeping braids in for hair growth and length retention.

When done correctly though, here are some of the best braids for hair growth:

Box Braids

When braids get loose is hair growing with box braids?When braids get loose is hair growing with box braids?

Box braids that are big and loosely installed are one of the best braid styles for hair growth, but not THE best. We’ll get to that in a moment…

With box braids that are really small and tight you can run into problems with the tension being too hard on your edges and it's so easy for you to pull out your edges. If you notice your braids falling out, chances are your real hair fell out with them. This is so damaging and bad for your hair. So remember, even the best braids for hair growth can be bad for hair growth with improperly installed, get them loose and with wider circumference size.

Corn Rows

When Braids Get Loose is Hair Growing with Cornrows.When Braids Get Loose is Hair Growing with Cornrows? It's a great hair growth style!

Corn rows are also one of the best braids for hair growth. They also work better when you get them in bigger sizes. Women often notice more length retention after making their box braids and cornrows bigger and leaving them in for a month at a time or more. The benefit is less tangles and less breakage.

Faux Locs

When braids get loose is hair growing with Crochet braids?When braids get loose is hair growing with Crochet braids?

Asking “when braids get loose is hair growing?” may not fit here because they aren’t really braids. Still, although they aren’t “technically” braid they are treated in the same way that you would treat a protective braid.  They are usually made to be quite chunky, similar to the box braid which is famous for hair growth.

Crochet Braids

Crochet braids are done slightly differently than other types of braided hairstyles. Your natural hair is cornrowed as usual and the extension is then weaved on to your hair using a special threading needle. It's one of many quick braid styles for protecting new growth.

If you don’t have time to sit down and wait for each individual hair to be braided then this could be a great compromise for you, and when braids get loose hair is probably growing.

Loose & Fast Hair Growth Rule: How Long To Keep Braids In For Hair To Grow?

If you’re wondering how long to keep braids in for hair growth, here’s your answer. Eight weeks should be tops for how long you leave braids in for it to show growth, especially if you have bigger braids(which you should), because they won't last as long as smaller ones.

When your braids start growing out and displaying looseness and new growth at the roots, it's usually an indication you need to take them out.

Although it’s true that the longer you can keep hair in the same protective braid style the more growth you can retain, don’t overdo it.

You don’t need to keep one braid style in for four or five months to get hair growth. Being able to wear it for one or two months is good and you should feel the braids getting loose because hair is growing at about the 1 month mark.

How To Make Sure Any Braid Loosening is Hair Growth

When installing braids, make sure that you don’t hang heavy extensions on a few strands of hair.

Pulling down on a small patch of hair could not only cause breakage, but it could cause your braids to slip leading to loosening that isn’t actually growth.

Also, be sure that your hair hasn’t been permed or relaxed just before braid installation, perming could make the hair too soft and vulnerable.

Keeping your hair in its natural state helps keep your tresses strong enough to hold braid extensions without slipping or causing breakage.

On top of that, make sure to avoid braid hairstyles that require too much pulling and tugging. Limiting your washing, conditioning, and moisturizing to once a week or at least every 10 days.

This way, your hair will be subjected to less manipulation and you can trust that any braid loosening that you notice will most likely result from hair growth.

It may also help to take advantage of the best hair growth oils and when washing, grab a hair thickening shampoo that's infused with biotin.

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NHP Wrap Up: When Braids Get Loose Is Hair Growing

As you can see, there are many factors in determining if when braids get loose is hair growing, still though, you’re on the right path to growth when you turn to protective styles.

Speak with your stylist and make sure they know your primary goal is growth so that they can work with you for the best result.

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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.

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