I recall client after client calling me in a panic as they stared down the aisle of our local beauty supply store. The anxious and frustrated tone in their voice as they eye over too many options – and not enough information on which products they should buy.
Braid-ups often run in the hundreds and nothing can be more disappointing than accidentally buying a brand that gives you an allergic reaction or even buying the completely wrong products that end up damaging your hair instead of protecting it. Through trial and error and years of experience, I have found 8 of the best braiding hair options that you and your stylist will obsess over.
#1: X-Pression Premium Original Ultra Braid
One of the most well-known brands of braiding hair is X-Pression. The texture of X-Pression braiding hair and how effectively the ends seal in hot water make it the best to use, in my opinion, and the product is incredibly inexpensive. This product’s drawback is that you must spend time pre-stretching it before usage because it does not come pre-stretched. Usually, X-Pression braiding hair doesn’t irritate the scalp.
#2: Outre X-Pression 3x Pre-Stretched Ultra Braid 52”
This product, which is now my favorite, is the same brand as X-pression Premium Original Ultra Braid but comes pre-stretched and ready to go, saving time spent on pre-stretching prior to usage as well as reducing shedding during that process. This brand is the greatest to use because of its texture and how well the ends seal in hot water. It also, in my opinion, offers the best options and blends for hair colors.
You can use this hair to create box braids, silky locs, Senegalese twists, ponytail braids, and cornrow braid hairstyles because it holds braids in place and lasts longer than other brands I’ve experienced.
#3: Freetress Clean Therapy
Freetress Clean Therapy hair is pre-rinsed in vinegar to remove any harsh or harmful chemicals that may irritate the skin. Finding out that you are allergic to the hair used in the installation is the most irritating thing that could possibly happen to you after spending money and hours. The benefits of this hair braiding brand include the fact that you don’t need to spend time pre-stretching the hair or pre-rinsing the hair with apple cider vinegar to prevent itchiness.
The gorgeous passion braids style has been created with both Freetress 3X Pre-Stretched Braiding hair and 6-7 packs of Freetress Water Wave.
#4: Water Wave Freetress
Twists and goddess locs gave birth to passion twists. Water Wave Freetress hair can be braided into a bohemian style or used to make passion twists. Passion twists make the look both messy and polished. The curl pattern is too tight for bohemian knotless braids, and when you separate the curls to feed into your braids, the hair frizzes up and tangles. However, with passion twist you don’t need to separate curls you can feed in smoothly as is. I thus recommend using this hair for passion twists.
#5: Sensationnel 2X X-Pression Braid
As a result of the texture and pre-stretching, this product is another one of my favorites. This hair detangles easily and tolerates being sealed in hot water well. The colors are truly sensational, one drawback being that there aren’t blended color possibilities for this hair.
#6: 3X Ruwa Pre-Stretched Braid 24”
3X Ruwa Pre-Stretched Braid is more lightweight and dries faster because it is water resistant and has a natural shine that resembles blow-dried hair. For serious braiders, this product’s solid color and length range and finger-pleasing grip make it the best choice.
#7: Freetress Beach Curl
My very favorite item to use while making bohemian box braids is Freetress Beach Curl. It is also very popular as hair for crocket braids. When installing and separating each curl, it doesn’t frizz up or tangle since it has the ideal curl pattern — not too tight or loose. Since the curls are synthetic, one drawback is that they may soon begin to matte up, so I advise to use a mouse to reduce this.
#8: Amore Mio 3X Spetra Stretch Braid 25”
This product is excellent because each bundle is fuller than those from other manufacturers and comes pre-stretched. The texture of the hair is soft and, thanks to that, the braids won’t be stiff.
Braiding Hair Mistakes to Avoid
Of course, choosing the right braid is important, but you also need to opt for the right hair pattern and length, as well as feed in the synthetic locks the right way. Here are a few vital tips:
- Avoid dipping the tips of the braids into boiling hot water since it can burn the hair. Instead, add a small amount of cold water to get the water just right. Too hot water can screw up the braid and essentially melt it.
- Use 52” hair unless you want short braids, in which case use 42” hair or shorter. If you want long braids, you’ll have to spend more time braiding down while feeding more hair using 42”. When utilizing 52”, you can braid down straight without adding extra hair to achieve the required length and save time.
- I advise using Freetress Beach Curl or Freetress Deep Twist if you’re doing bohemian box braids. Many other curl patterns lose their effectiveness when the curls are separated to allow for feeding because they frizz and tangle up.
- Hair texture is significant. When braiding, especially on soft hair, the rougher the texture, the better grip you’ll have. Gel aids in improving grip and gives braids a nice, smooth finish.
- If you’ve never used braiding hair before, be aware that the chemicals in braiding hair may cause itching. To prevent itching and irritation, you can use Freetress Clean Therapy hair.
Picking the appropriate braiding hair is crucial. If the wrong braiding hair is used, the results could be very different. Kanekalon is a great alternative because it is made with a higher-quality fiber than other synthetic hair, which can feel plastic-like to the touch. To keep in touch with me and get some braids inspiration, follow me on Instagram @hairbybrazy.