3 Tips For Finding Pain-Free Braiders (yes they exist)

It's not a myth, fairy tale or urban legend. Pain-free braiders DO exist. The only, ONLY person in the last three years that has braided my hair has been Ms. Nikki J. If it's not her, I'm not getting them - she's THAT good. I’m serious about the integrity of my hairline and definitely don’t want to compromise it, so sticking with my trusted stylist and resisting the urge to chair-hop has kept my edges free flowing. But how did we establish this trust between client and stylist? How did I even find her in the first place? Why won't I try other braiders in VA? Three words: Research, Reputation and Reviews.

Anywhere I live, I make it my business to find the most reputable stylists to maintain Ms. Sophia. Ask my besties Kay or Dione, and they'll tell you, I've kept my hair up since we were kids so I play no games even when I move. Since being in VA for the last three years, I have been a client of Salon Noa and my hair is thriving. I researched. I knew this salon was highly respected in the area, and that its focus was healthy hair. So much so, that when I decided to change my kitchen beautician hobby into a full-time cosmetology career, I started working there two years later. Check out my journey from #bloggertobeautician here and here!

With Ms. Nikki J, it’s not just a simple braid down. It’s a spa-like deep cleansing shampoo (minus the chimes, essential oils and the dim lighting), treatment, heat-damage free blow dry and style. You have to do your research and ask questions when you can’t find the answers on your own! Is a clean, healthy scalp important to my braider? Will they treat my tresses to a complete service to ensure the foundation of my protective style is solid or do I have to shampoo my hair at home? These are the questions I had in mind when considering hiring my braider.

Next check out your braider’s reputation. Are they respected among their colleagues? Is my braider considered a technical expert when it comes to the overall health of the hair? Can my braider be relied upon to provide expert hair care? Does my braider know when to escalate any scalp or hair issues that may arise? Is my braider well respected by clients? This is important to me (and I’m pretty sure it is to you too!), since I have dense, fine strands that are prone to breakage with too much tension.

Lastly Reviews. And I don’t mean the ones us loving clients give to our favorite stylists. I mean the comments under the caption of Instagram posts (because let’s be honest IG is one of the best ways to market yourself), how clients rave about my braider when they see them, and lastly the condition of their hair. Do they have edges? Is the style they have tight, showing signs of tension, hair loss, redness or swelling? If the answer is no, then this is the best review you could probably get on your braider and it might be time to consider booking them!

This latest style from Ms. Nikki J. is probably my favorite of all the styles we’ve done. I’ll be braided up all summer to beat the heat and hopefully Nikki and I will collaborate on another bomb style! Let me know what you look for in your braider below!

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