I always loved the way braids looked on other people. I appreciated the fun cornrow designs, the beauty of a nice set of knotless box braids, and some of the bold colors people were forgoing black and brown shades to try. After cutting my locs off in 2018, I was looking forward to trying it all and doing so often as an alternative to trying to wrangle my afro. However, the more that I would wear braids, the shorter and shorter amount of time I would find myself keeping them in. My scalp would end up red, itchy, and I would be scratching and beating on it for days after installation to find relief. I was resigned to believing just a few months ago that they just weren’t for me. My scalp couldn’t take it and I would just have to accept that.
But then I read an article about how the braiding hair used in shops and that we buy at beauty supply stores, like Kanekalon, is made with chemicals. Many have an alkaline coating, for example, that doesn’t bother some people, but can create an allergic reaction in others and can have lasting effects. I was then informed that to avoid that discomfort, I would need to soak the hair I buy in diluted vinegar. It was a great tip to find out about, but who was I kidding? I knew I wasn’t going to make time to soak four and five packs and hang up the hair to air-dry before an appointment. I was back to feeling like this was all just a sign that I needed to focus on taking care of my own hair and move on.
Soon after, I was given the opportunity to try hair from a Black-owned beauty company called Dosso Beauty. Created by Kadidja Dosso, she sells everything from skin products and cosmetics to hair. Her pre-stretched braiding hair, which she lauds as being made from only the finest materials, is “hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and anti-itch,” according to a brand statement. The 28-inch lightweight hair is also pre-layered for a feathered look, making it appear less shiny and fake compared to the synthetic options out there.
“I’m in love with our pre-stretched hypoallergenic braiding hair because it allows my scalp to breathe, and it cuts my install time in half because of its feathered ends,” said Kadidja Dosso, who founded her brand in 2018.
Coming in a range of rich shades, including ombre and tri-color options, I picked an ombre red shade and made an appointment with talented Brooklyn-based braider Mariam. I had found the right stylist to braid my hair without it being too tight and taking too long. Had I finally found the right hair?
Nearly three weeks since my appointment, and still wearing my cornrows, I would say yes. By day two, I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night running my nails over my scalp. The weird tingling sensation that can occur when you’re having an allergic reaction to hair, it didn’t happen this time. And after some time, the hair didn’t start to look tangled and frizzy just because, falling all over my home. It’s also important to mention that my braider said the hair was “really good” while installing it, saying that cheaper synthetic hair tends to feel weird when braiding it in. However, the Dosso Beauty hair felt soft.
I would tell anyone who’s weary of buying packs of hair that smell like plastic and then washing them free of skin-irritating chemicals to try Dosso Beauty pre-stretched braiding hair. Not only is the hair great quality and hypoallergenic, it’s a similar price to what you find at beauty supply stores. A single color pack is $4.99, ombre packs start at $5.99, and fancy tri-color shades are $6.99. But the most appealing of all of this is the fact that the line is owned by a Black woman. Dosso understands what we need in the hair that we use to execute some of our favorite styles with confidence, and chief among the characteristics is for the hair to not be toxic.
If you too have found getting your hair braided to not be the comfortable, convenient experience you hope for due to unhealthy, cheap hair, you have options. Dosso Beauty is one of them.