Can You Get Braids Wet in the Shower, Pool, or Rain? What Happens?

Young black woman with braided synthetic hair wearing pink shades and lip gloss

Braid newbies often wonder whether braids and moisture mix. When they try to find the answer, they’re out of luck. The reality is that advice on this topic is sometimes inconsistent.

Some say you should avoid water like the plague when you have braids, while others state that water is totally fine for braids.

So, which point of view is correct? In this article, we’ll answer the question of the day, “Can you get braids wet?” in detail so you can make the right choice for your hair. 

Can You Get Braids Wet?

You can get your braids wet in the shower, pool, and when it’s raining. However, we do recommend taking certain precautions to protect your braids from fungal growth, hair damage, frizz, and unraveling. Keep reading to learn more about the potential risks of getting your braids wet.

Key Takeaways

  • Wet Hair and Braids: It’s okay to get braids wet in the shower, pool, or rain, but be cautious of risks like fungal growth, hair damage, and frizz. Quick drying is essential to maintain the integrity of your braids and prevent issues like itchy scalp and hair breakage.
  • Protective Hairstyle Care: Use gentle washing techniques when wearing protective styles like micro or box braids. Avoid harsh products that can strip your hair of its natural oils. Consider natural ingredients like coconut or jojoba oil for nourishing dry hair and maintaining scalp health.
  • Swimming with Braids: If you’re swimming with braid extensions, take steps like wetting your hair with clean water beforehand to minimize chlorine or salt water absorption. Post-swim, rinse thoroughly, and consider a leave-in spray to protect hair texture and prevent frizzy braids.
  • Drying Braided Hair: Dry braids properly using a microfiber towel, air-drying, or a cool setting on a blow dryer. Avoid tight braids or styles that can lead to hair loss at the root of the braid, and ensure braids are completely dry to maintain braid maintenance and longevity.
  • Braid Maintenance Routine: Regularly clean the scalp to prevent product buildup and promote hair growth. Use hair care products like aloe vera or castor oil to nourish the scalp and hair follicles. Adjust your braiding style and hair care routine according to your hair type and lifestyle factors for optimal braid health.

Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your hair healthy when wearing braids if you regularly swim or get them wet in other ways.

Risks of Getting Your Braids Wet

Getting your braids wet can’t be too bad, can it? Well, there are some real risks involved when you allow your braids to get waterlogged, and we’ll fill you in on all of these risks below. 

African American woman with a braided hairstyle with human hair for a more natural look

Fungal growth

Wet, warm, enclosed areas are the perfect breeding ground for fungi like mold and mildew. That means that drenched braids that aren’t dried properly are at risk for mold growth.

The first sign of fungal growth is an unpleasant odor emanating from the braids. And once mold and mildew begin to grow in your braids, it’s tough to get rid of. 

The longer your braids remain wet, the higher the risk of developing fungal growth. So, it’s crucial to completely dry your braids as soon as possible and as thoroughly as you can.

Further down in the article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to properly dry your braids. It is always easier to prevent mold growth than it is to remedy it. 

Hair Damage 

Researchers have found that hair is weaker when it is wet, so when your braids are wet, they are more vulnerable to breakage. The risk of breakage is higher when you have heavy braids since their weight puts considerable tension on your roots (e.g., hairline).

For example, there are different risks for getting box braids wet if you’re using weave versus creating braids with your regular hair.

Also, swimming in chlorinated water can cause your hair to dry out and become weaker, leading to brittleness and breakage in some cases.

Black lady with natural curls braided into individual plaits

Frizz and Unraveling

Frizz is another risk associated with wet braids. The water causes your natural hair to swell and expand, and when the hair dries, it often looks much frizzier than before. It takes just one dip in the pool to ruin certain styles.

Box braids and cornrows won’t frizz up as much as a single French braid or crown braid would. It’s all in the amount of tension applied during the braiding process – the less tension used during installation, the frizzier the hair will be after coming in contact with water. 

Another issue that you could run into is unraveling. If your braids are not secure, they will begin to unravel as soon as water touches them. 

Can You Swim with Braids?

Knowing the risks, you may think that swimming with your braids isn’t a good idea. But if you take the proper precautions, you can enjoy the water or wash your braids with minimal issues.

Dark skinned beauty with black hair wearing rose-colored shades to protect her eyes from UV rays

Here are some things to do if you plan on swimming with your braids: 

1. Choose the Right Style

Not just any braided style will mesh well with water. Some styles that can handle water include small to medium box braids, cornrows into a bun, Ghana braids, or lemonade braids.

Ensure that the ends of your extension braids are secured with rubber bands, dipped in hot water, or burned.

If you braid your hair without extensions, be sure that each braid is secured at the ends with rubber bands or pinned up using bobby pins or clips. Doing so will ensure that you won’t have to get your hair redone after a day at the pool.

Here are tutorials for some of our favorite braided hairstyles:

2. Wet Your Braids Beforehand

Since chlorine can be detrimental to your hair, it’s essential to take steps to prevent the harsh effects of the chemical.

One great way to do that is to spray your braids down with clean water, enough so that your natural hair will absorb it. If your hair has already absorbed the clean water, it won’t be able to absorb much chlorine. 

3. Rinse Your Braids Afterward

Whenever you swim in chlorine-treated water, you should rinse your hair clean immediately. This is especially important if you didn’t wet your braids down with clean water prior to hopping in the pool.

If you want to be thorough, you can also wash them with shampoo and follow up with a leave-in conditioner – we’ll cover this in the following section.

4. Wear a Swim Cap

Wearing a swim cap is an excellent option if you don’t want to take other precautions. But be aware that these caps may not keep all of the water out, especially if you’re unable to get a good seal around your head. Still, they are better than nothing. This swim cap is specifically designed for women with braids and dreadlocks.

Cute black lady with dry hair preparing for a day at the beach

How to Wash Braids Without Ruining Them

Most ladies keep their braids in for about 4 to 8 weeks before removing them. But over the weeks, your scalp and braids may get itchy, and your hair could take on a dusty look.

That means it’s time to give your braids a good wash. Many refrain from washing their braids because they are afraid to get their braided hair wet. But there’s no need to worry if you use the right washing and drying techniques. 

Here are some step-by-step instructions for washing your braids: 

How To Wash Box Braids NO FRIZZ + Drying Hacks! | jasmeannnn

  1. Make a diluted shampoo by mixing one part clarifying shampoo with 2 parts water and pouring it into a spray bottle (or applicator bottle). If you use undiluted shampoo, you may find that it’s very difficult to rinse out later. Spray the shampoo mixture onto your roots. This is where buildup and excess oils tend to accumulate. Also, we don’t recommend using dry shampoo on braids.
  2. Take the time to gently massage your roots. Be thorough and ensure that you’ve loosened up any buildup between your braids. Feel free to spray the mixture down the length of your braids and lightly massage it in. 
  3. Rinse out the shampoo mixture entirely and repeat the previous two steps to remove any residue or debris that remains. 
  4. Squeeze out the excess water so that your braids are no longer dripping. 
  5. Dry your braids thoroughly. Use the tips below to ensure that your braids are dried thoroughly:
    • Begin by drying your braids with a large microfiber towel. Wrap it around your head and press it into the braids. You can also wrap the towel around a few braids at a time and gently squeeze them. Let them air dry the rest of the way. 
    • Avoid tying up your braids in a ponytail or bun while they are still dry or damp; let them fully dry in the open air over the course of a day. 
    • If you don’t have time to air-dry your hair, you can use a blow-dryer on its “cool” setting to speed up the process a bit. A bonnet hair dryer (or hooded dryer) will also do the trick – it should only take a couple of hours at most. 
  6. If your braids feel dry, mist them lightly with a leave-in conditioner. If you use regular conditioner on your braids, this could lead to build-up. You don’t need to rinse out your leave-in conditioner.
  7. Style your braids as usual. 

We recommend following the above steps to clean your scalp and hair without excessive frizz or fungal growth.

Note: The process to wash box braids isn’t significantly different than washing ghana braids or any other type of braids. If you use the basic steps outlined above, you should be fine. It is important to note that we recommend using gentle techniques as you braid hair and air drying where possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section, which addresses common questions about getting braids wet. Here, you’ll find straightforward answers to help you maintain the health and style of your braided hair.

Can I Wet My Hair if I Have Braids?

Yes, you can wet your hair if you have braids, but it’s crucial to do so carefully. When braids become wet, be mindful of potential damage, such as hair breakage, especially if you have tight braids like micro or box braids. After wetting, dry your braids thoroughly to maintain the longevity of your braids and avoid issues like damp braids leading to an itchy scalp or fungal growth.

How Do I Protect My Braids in the Pool?

To protect your braids in the pool, pre-wet your hair with clean water to reduce chlorine or salt water absorption. This helps preserve the hair’s natural oils and reduces the risk of dry, frizzy hair. Post-swimming, rinse your braids thoroughly with warm water. Consider using a protective style like knotless braids or synthetic hair extensions if you’re going to be in the pool.

Is It Better to Take out Braids Dry or Wet?

It is generally better to take out braids when they are dry. Removing braids while wet can lead to more hair breakage and damage, as wet hair is more fragile. Dry hair, especially if treated with hair oil like coconut oil or olive oil, is less prone to breakage, ensuring the health of your hair shafts and scalp.

Should I Get My Hair Braided Before Vacation?

Getting your hair braided before vacation can be a convenient choice, particularly if you’re seeking a low-maintenance, protective style. Braids like Dutch or waterfall braids can provide easy care while traveling, saving you time and effort. However, consider the climate of your destination and the activities planned to ensure your braiding style matches your vacation needs.

How Long Do Braids Last For?

The longevity of braids typically ranges from 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the braiding style, hair type, and maintenance routine. Proper care, including regular scalp cleaning and avoiding prolonged exposure to dampness, can help extend the life of your braids. Styles like box braids or micro braids may last longer with the right care.

Can You Get Braids Wet in the Shower?

Yes, you can get your braids wet in the shower. However, it’s essential to use a gentle washing method to avoid making the braids frizzy or loose. After showering, dry your braids thoroughly to prevent damp hair from causing scalp issues or reducing the longevity of your braids.

Can You Get Box Braids Wet in the Pool?

You can get box braids wet in the pool, but take steps to minimize potential damage. Before swimming, wet your braids with clean water and consider applying a protective hair oil. After swimming, rinse your braids thoroughly to remove any chlorine or salt water, which can lead to dry, frizzy hair.

Can You Get Knotless Braids Wet in the Pool?

Knotless braids can get wet in the pool, but taking extra steps for protection is essential. Pre-wet your braids with clean water to prevent excessive absorption of pool water. After swimming, ensure you rinse your hair well and apply a leave-in conditioner to maintain the integrity of the braids and prevent them from becoming dry or frizzy.

Can You Swim With French Curl Braids?

Swimming with French curl braids is possible, but you should be cautious. It’s best to protect the braids by wetting them with clean water before swimming and rinsing them thoroughly afterward. This minimizes the impact of chlorine or salt water, helping to preserve the braids’ appearance and prevent them from becoming frizzy or dry.

Can You Get Box Braids Wet in the Shower?

Box braids can be wet in the shower, but following the proper washing and drying techniques is crucial. Use a gentle shampoo and avoid rubbing the braids harshly. After showering, dry your braids properly to maintain their neat appearance and prevent any dampness-related issues like itchy scalp or hair breakage.

Related Articles

Now, you can wash your braids or take a dip in the pool without obsessing over what could happen. You know the risks of getting your braids wet and how to avert these risks. Understanding how to manage wet box braids and other braided styles is the key to maintaining healthy, hydrated hair.

Whether you’re gently washing your braids or enjoying a swim, remember to utilize protective styling as you take care of your braids. Try to keep your hair dry and use a silk scarf on a daily basis to protect your style.

By taking these steps, you ensure your hair and scalp stay healthy and your hair remains smooth and moisturized. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge for confident care of your braids, promoting both the health of your hair and the longevity of your style.

We urge you to take as many precautions as possible to preserve your hair’s health and the neatness of your style. We hope that this article is helpful to you and wish you the best with your braids!

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