Sew-In Hair Extensions, The Good and Bad
Sew in hair extensions are a protective style that can help you growout your hair while still looking good. It is a tried and true method I've used to grow my hair out whenever I want to start over or try a new look. Who doesn't love a protective style that also allows versatile styling?
There are so many options to choose from when getting a sew-in. Sew-ins are great because you can experiment with lengths, textures, and color, but sometimes the install can be painful.
Sew-ins Can Be Painful
In this article, we will discuss why sew-ins can be painful but don't worry. We'll also discuss what you can do to prevent pain during and after the install. But, first, I would like to say that a tight sew-in should not be "dealt with." You should not "suck it up," and it does not "come with the territory" of getting a sew-in.
A sew-in that is too tight can result in scalp damage and sometimes hair loss, so it is something that you want to take seriously. Here are three indicators that your sew-in is too tight:
● Your sew-in is too tight if you notice bumps and swelling around your braids
● Getting a headache due to smiling and laughing can indicate your hair is too tight.
● You are unable to sleep or have to take painkillers for the pain.
Are You Tender Headed?
You've probably heard the phrase "tender-headed" used by a friend or someone you know. But if you haven't, the term means exactly what it says, their head is "tender" and sensitive to pain.
Those who are tender-headed are more sensitive to pain when getting their hair done. Even the slightest pulling while detangling can cause extreme discomfort. Due to this, these people may have a hard time getting sew-ins, braids, and other hairstyles due to the pain. In addition, because their scalps are more sensitive, styles that aren't typically painful may be very painful for someone considered "tender-headed." While being tender-headed is somewhat common, sometimes a sew-in can result in a tender scalp which is something a little different.
Let's go over some reasons for a tender scalp post-sew-in.
3 Reasons for A Tender Scalp Post Sew-In
#1 The Braid Down
The braid down, also known as the foundation of your sew-in, is essential to a flawless install. However, the tension from braids, if done too tightly, can cause discomfort to your scalp. Too tight braids can result in swelling or bumps around your scalp, known as tension bumps. Tension bumps are inflamed hair follicles due to the literal tension on your hair.
#2 The Sew-In
Similar to the braid down, your stylist also wants to ensure your tracks are secure. Because the average sew-in is kept for 4 to 6 weeks, your stylist will always work to make sure that your style will last. Therefore, they will sew tightly to avoid them coming out. However, this can be problematic when determining whether it's your braids or the tracks sewn in too tight. We'll discuss more of this later.
#3 You are not hydrated
I know this sounds crazy! But I promise you this is true! A dehydrated scalp can stop the production of natural oils in your scalp and lead to a dry, itchy scalp. Unfortunately, adding extensions and subjecting your scalp to tension and pulling, can aggravate your scalp even more.
This irritation can take the situation from bad to worse. It can cause your dry, itchy scalp to become inflamed and sore to the touch.
The one thing you can do to avoid this painful experience is to speak up! Unfortunately, sometimes clients hesitate to speak up and tell their stylist when they feel pain during their install. Some hairstylists are heavy-handed and braid too tight. Simply speaking up could make a huge difference in your hairstyle and, most importantly, scalp health. Your stylist may be unaware of the discomfort you are experiencing, so don't be afraid to speak up!
Speak up as soon as possible. Once the service is complete, a stylist will be less inclined to want to take down all of their hard work and re-do your hair. The moment you're sure your hair is too tight, inform your stylist of your discomfort and ask them to braid with less tension.
Beauty is Pain
When I started getting sew-ins often, my stylist tried to create a flat look around my edges, and she would pull so tight at the thread that I would develop white tension bumps. I told my stylist that it was too tight around my edges, and when it was all said and done, we figured out that she could leave some of my edges out so as not to pull them so tight when she braided.
Many people only realize this once it is too late, but over time, extremely tight sew-ins can lead to breakage or worse. You can permanently damage your hair follicles or experience traction alopecia because of a tight sew-in. Even though now the majority of us focus on leaving our edges out of our sew-ins, the crown area of our scalp can also be damaged when wearing hair extensions.
Will My Hair Extensions Stop Hurting?
To alleviate tension from an improperly installed sew-in, here are a few things that you can do:
#1 Apply an Oil
Peppermint oil, tea tree oil, or braid spray are good options to soothe tender areas of the scalp. These oils have anti-inflammatory properties that can ease irritation and treat any sores you may have. However, remember to use these oils sparingly to avoid any adverse effects.
#2 Apply a steaming towel to your scalp
Moisture is your friend!
You can reduce your pain if you can loosen the weave up and adjust the tracks. Water can help create slippage amongst the extensions and thread so you can manipulate your hair slightly more. Steam will temporarily soothe your scalp, and I only recommend this method if you don't mind restyling your hair or if you have a wavy/curly texture.
#4 Cut some of the threads
Another way to ease the pain of tight sew-in extensions is to cut off some threads. Be very strategic about this step. I have cut thread and ended up with a few tracks bobby-pinned into my braids. You also don't want to cut your hair mistakenly; that could be tragic. You should always cut the stitches around the areas with tension and proceed to pull or feel around the area you cut to ensure you are cutting the correct piece of thread and not your hair or extensions!
#4 Go back to your stylist
Sometimes the pain is so unbearable that you may have to return to your stylist to get your hair re-done, taken down, or loosened. Of course, it is best to speak up while your hair is being done the first time, but maybe you didn't realize just how painful your sew-in was until you got home.
While it is easier to correct a painful sew-in while you are still in the chair, if you paid $250 for a style that is unbearable, it's your right to have it corrected professionally for free. Your stylist should know how to loosen a sew-in. Politely explain the problem, show them what is going on, and ask what can be done. A good stylist will want you to be satisfied.
Learn to Be Painlessly Beautiful
Private Label Extensions has beautiful hair textures in various lengths that we are sure you want to invest in! Investing in this hair means you can wear it comfortably, knowing the health of your scalp isn't in jeopardy.
Review these tips and share additional suggestions in the comments below on how you have gotten past extreme scalp pain.