How do you pick out a brand of braiding hair extensions? How do you know which one works best for which styles? Read on for our compilation of 5 best braiding hair brands fit for every woman.
Just thinking about what braided hair style to go with and the best brands to buy for it can give you a headache even before you get to the salon. If you are like me, you simply make a point to note all braided hairdos on the street as you go about your day and see which one you would like best.
Whether you are new to braided hair or have been doing it for years, the question of which brand to pick can be difficult.
Here is a compilation of 5 best braiding hair brands for you to consider. All come in varying colors and lengths.
Benefits of Braiding Hair
Apart from looking great, there are a few benefits to enjoy from braiding your hair.
Hair grows best when it is undisturbed. With your hair out, you brush, tug here, pull there on a daily basis. Not forgetting regular heat styling. These can cause hair to break. Undisturbed hair results in better length retention and in most instances results in stronger hair.
Braids lower the time and cost of hair maintenance. You don’t have to comb and brush it every day. That is not to say that the need for maintenance is eliminated. You still need to switch up styles for fresh looks. Your scalp and natural hair underneath shouldn’t be neglected in the name of braids. Be sure to moisturize to prevent excessive dryness and flaking.
Many, many style options
This is my favorite element about braiding hair. There are so many options. You can have the quite popular box braids, corn rows or micro braids. Other options include the dreadlock look-alikes called faux locks. If you don’t want to spend long hours at the salon, there is the option for crotchet style braids.
Once done, all these then allow you to get creative on how you style them. Hold them up, let them down, create a parting… whatever you like.
5 Best Braiding Hair Brands – A Comparison Table
Braiding hair brand
X-pression African Collection Braiding Hair
Box braids, Senegalese twists and silky locs
Vanessa Kanekalon Marley Braid
Black Diamond Braid
Box braids, corn rows and micro braids.
Ali Robam Ombre Kanekalon Box Braid
Strands ( pre-braided)
Rustafri Classi Pre-stretched Braid
Box braids and feed-ins
5 Best Braiding Hair Brands Comparison Overview
This is one of the most popular brands of braiding hair. It is 100% Kanekalon and is made better by processing to be softer and smoother than other brands. This is what gives you a smoother finish.
This brand is thick but surprisingly light. This makes it a preferred option for users looking for a bulky look without too much weight on their head. Salonists say they generally use less of it which also works out to be good for the overall cost of the hairdo.
It generally comes in a length of 82 inches and can be cut in half for a shorter look and convenient economizing. Cutting it like this essentially gives you hair equivalent to almost 2 packs of the hair.
According to salonists, this brand is ideal for box braids, silky locs and Senegalese twists.
- 100% Kanekalon
- Thick but light
- Higher price point
As their name betrays, Marley braids are a type inspired by the first family of reggae. The intention is to create extension braids which closely resemble the natural afro-kinky texture.
Vanessa Marley braids are available in a variety of colors. In terms of length, you get 18 to20 inches when folded and 36 to 40 inches when unfolded.
They are generally light braids though weight on the head depends on the number of braids used and the size of individual twists.
Marley twists are the most popular style created from this braid. It can also be used for any other natural twisted style. It is the go-to option for salonists looking to wrap hair for faux locs.
Unlike X-pression braids, Marley braids have a roughtexture and are quite frizzy. Some people react to this and develop itchy bumps at the back of the neck and ears.
- Last long
- Kinky hair look
- Varying color options
- Can be frizzy and itchy
- Some people react to it
You will be forgiven for assuming that braiding hair extensions only come in synthetic form. It is true that a good majority of what youfind in the market is synthetic but if you want natural braiding hair, it is available. There are two different ways braidersachievethis.
You can gethuman hair braiding hair made specifically for braids. This one, like synthetic braiding hair is ‘loose hair.’ What this means is that it cannot be used for weaving because the ends of the strands are loose. They are not woven and held together in a hair weft as is the case in a weave.
The other option is to get your hands on a human hair weave and cut the track off the top therefore leaving the hair loose. This is then used to braid hair just as is done with synthetic braiding hair.
Human braiding hair can be used for box braids, cornrows and micro braids.
- Very light
- Smooth, glossy finish
These come pre-braided. Attachment is done by crocheting on each strand one at a time. This saves you (or your braider) the hassle of tangled hair during the attachment process. It takes some time but doesn’t require as much time investment as micro braids.
You can go swimming in them without worrying about frizzy hair later. In fact these are recommended for women who spend a lot of time in water such as swimmers and divers. It also helps that they are reusable. You can take them off, wash them thoroughly and put them on again.
Each order gets you 6 packs of 22 strands per pack. These will usually be insufficient for full head coverage so you will need to order more than one.
The downside to keep in mind is occasional unravelling of the strands which can be quite annoying.
- Pre-braided – quick attachment
- Water friendly
- Smaller than advertised
- Unravelling problems
The Rastafri braid is popular for the rough Rastafarian look created. It comes in a variety of colors including unconventional ones. This makes it a preferred option for people looking to practice some color creativity for unique individualized looks.
It has a soft texture. This is not only good for users, some of whom tend to react to rough textured braids. It is also good for the braider’s hands. Braiders often have to deal with minute cuts from poor quality synthetic braids.
Pre-stretching is perhaps the most outstanding feature of Rastafri braids. What is pre-stretched hair? It is hair which comes feathered out at the ends to keep it from unraveling and tapering as it is being done. This makes it perfect for box braids and feed-in braids.
It is worth mentioning that stretching hair thins the bundles out. It is common for buyers to assume they are buying less or smaller quantities of hair compared to non pre-stretched hair but it is actually equivalent in weight.
- Soft texture
- Unconventional color variety
- Hair appears less
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Braiding Hair Bands
Human hair or synthetic
Just like other hair pieces, you can choose between human hair and synthetic braiding hair.As expected, human hair braids are significantly more expensive.
Synthetic braiding hair on the other hand is cheaper but doesn’t allow heat treatment unless it is labelled as heat resistant.
Standard synthetic and Kanekalon fibers
These are used to make braiding hair which is still synthetic but incorporates a polymer which is closely related to the protein in natural hair. Kanekalon therefore represents what braiders refer to as higher quality synthetic braiding hair. It feels and looks a lot more like natural hair.
How much braiding hair do you need?
This is perhaps the most common question braiders get from their clients. How much braiding hair do I need to get a full head of braided extensions?
There is, quite frankly, no standard answer. It depends on several factors. For instance, each brand of hair extensions packs their product in varying quantities and numbers of bundles so you need more for some and less for others. There is also the clients head size. The average adult’s head circumference is 22.5 inches. Some women have smaller heads so they would need less braiding hair.
Lengthis another factor. You could choose to cut the braiding hair in half to achieve shorter locks or use it as it is for long locks. When you cut them in half, you need half as much hair as you would when it is used whole.
Longevity and reusing
How long can you keep the braided hair on before it starts looking rough? While there is a place for skill in the braiding process, the braiding hair matters a lot.
In the same breath, there is also the question of reusability. Some braiding hair can only be used once. It looks great the first time and that is it. Others are made such that they can be washed and reused. Some braids, especially those made for a kinky hair look can be reused and even look better on the second or third use.
Cost comes in here. It is more cost effective to spend more on reusable braiding hair compared to one-use braiding hair.
Braided hair extensions are extremely popular among African and African American women. You can’t blame them. They offer so much convenience and always have a way of looking uniquely fabulous.
After deciding what kind of braided hair do you like, take time to research on the best or recommended brand for it. Don’t forget to care for your hidden hair and keep your scalp moisturized.