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Hair Braiding in the Bahamas and Caribbean


Here's what you need to know about getting your hair braided on your next cruise or Caribbean vacation.

If you go on a Caribbean cruise or vacation, you're sure to have plenty of opportunities to get your hair - or your daughter's hair - braided. This can be a memorable experience and the braids are fun looking. Some cruise ships or resorts have these services available in their salon or spa, or even on deck. Even if they don't, you're sure to get plenty of offers in the Bahamas or at a Caribbean island port of call. Here's what you should know before you commit.

This photo is my own. (c)Stephen Johnson.

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Hair braiding Tips and Information - Know what to expect when you get your hair braided on your next vacation.

1. Before committing to getting braids, be sure the setting and combs used are clean. Several vendors in the Nassau straw market asked one of our clients if her daughter wanted hair braids. When they agreed, the lady who did the braids took our clients to a salon that was a couple of blocks from the straw market. This type of situation makes it hard to know exactly what you're getting into in advance.

2.) You'll have more control over the setting if you go into a salon and look the situation over, rather than waiting for someone to approach you on the street. Ask for a salon recommendation at a tourist information desk near the port or walk along the main shopping district to see if you find a salon sign - remember that they may be in a second story, above a gift shop.

2. Hair braiding is different than hair wrapping. With braiding, several small tight braids are put into the hair. This can go the full length of the hair or may just be near the crown. Hair wrapping is when colored threads are wrapped around a strand (or strands) of hair.

3. The braids are small and tight and the process can be painful. My client's twelve year old daughter did just fine but two other little girls at the same shop were crying because it hurt.

4. You should also be aware that getting braids can take some time - braids that go over the crown of the head (like the ones in the photo below) can take over an hour. Braids that go the full length of the hair can take even longer - three hours is not uncommon. Be sure that this is how you want to spend you time at the Port of Call.

5. Negotiate the total price prior to agreeing to the services, otherwise, you might be surprised and run embarrassingly short of funds when you hear the final cost when the work is done. Our client paid $2 per braid in Nassau; there were 32 braids for a total cost of $64.00USD + tip. You might be able to set a fixed price, rather than a price per braid.

6. It is customary to provide a tip, if the braids are done well.

7. Consider photos and cruise formal nights when deciding whether to get your hair braided. You may want to select beads that match your formal wear.

8. Braids can last from weeks to months, depending on the type of hair. Just shampoo and rinse to take care of them. You can smooth any stray hairs with gel or a similar hair product.

9. A few people don't adjust well to the feel of tight braids up close to their heads. Our doctor told us that she took her braids out within a couple of hours because it just felt so strange to her. Be prepared for this possible reaction when getting a young girl's hair done. Otherwise, you could end up as a frustrated parent who resents spending the money on a hairstyle that gets undone right away. This type of reaction is the exception - most people enjoy their braids.

10. Finally - and maybe most importantly - your hair braids will expose skin on your scalp that usually never sees direct sunlight. You need to put sunscreen on your head to avoid getting a miserable sunburn. The spray application sunscreens work great for this.

If you do leave your braids in for several weeks, you may be concerned about the amount of hair that seems to be falling out when you remove the braids. Don't worry - the braids did not cause the hairs to break. You normally lose some hair every day but the braids keep these hairs in place until you unbraid the hair. This can create some tangles. The easiest way to handle this is to unbraid the hair and then shower, using a lot of hair conditioner - this will make it much easier to comb through the hair. Depending on the texture of your hair, you may want to take a second shower and condition the hair again after you've combed through and removed most of the loose hair, if you find the hair drying and trying to tangle while you work. TIP: Cutting the little rubber bands will be easier than trying to unwind each rubber band separately.

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We'd love to hear about your hairbraiding adventures.

Have you ever had your hair braided? Tell us about it...

hschifty on July 16, 2014:

@keilaniludlow: My family and I just got back from Turks & Caicos. We were on the main touristy island, Providenciales and staying at a more family friendly, smaller resort. We were on the beach and this older lady approached my mom asking for hair braiding. That was the one thing my sisters and I wanted before we left.

The lady who did my hair and other two sisters initially said $3/braid, and according to her photo album. We each had 7 braids on our left side until our part. Our hair is relatively thick and curly/wavy. After about an hour and a half of braiding all our hair, we got the right amount of money out ($63), and then, she proceeded to tell us that she charged $5/braid. We said she said $3/braid, even having that in her little photo album with previous hairstyles and prices. But we didn't cause any problems, just wondering why we decided to trust a solicitor running around the beaches and resorts. We ended up paying $105 for just 21 braids. Which I think is incorrect.

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Just don't have a random old lady braid your hair on the beach. Go to a salon where actual business is settled.

keilaniludlow on June 20, 2014:

We just got our hair braided in Nassau and boy was it a hit. I love the hair braiding. If I go anywhere involving heat and humidity and water excursions, I get my hair done right off because it's just so much more manageable. Each time before it's cost about $35-40, it was a flat rate, and I have a bob just past chin length.

This is the hair braiding station right off the pier in Nassau. Big covered area that has hair braiding written on it in large letters and lots of women work there.

This time the lady tells us it's $3 per braid. I'm thinking of my previous braids, how wide they are, front to back and think it will be around $50, less for the boys (their hair isn't long, but long enough to do a cornrow front to back). We're in seats and can't see each other or a mirror. After about a million of the tiniest little braids on the planet were put on our heads, in multiple spots you can see where they split one braid into two just to add to the bill, we were charged a total of $800.00. Yep, you read that right. We were stunned. Totally floored. Tiny little braids. Many of these were 1 inch braids on the boys heads. They didn't cornrow front to back though we had said that more than once - there were individual little braids sticking up all over (which yes, was cute, but not economical by any means) and we lost all our trip fun money and more. To make it worse, the next day we went to Coco Cay and the very most expensive braiding there would have totaled $300 for all three of us and we wouldn't have gotten the most expensive because none of us have long hair.

Final comment - ask for a total for the head before you start. Clarify the width of the braids and the style before starting. Don't get screwed.

sherri777 on June 15, 2014:

LOVE my Bahamas, always get Bo Derek braids, tiny, have long hair, the best way to get the tiny braids out is...A straight pin to get them going, I'm a cosmetologist for 35 yrs, I also use hair oil, takes me 2-4 hours to get them out, it is so worth it..The best part is not having to fix your hair, taking some out now. SHERRI MORRIS 6-15-14

anonymous on July 28, 2012:

Had mine done in spain, loved the look of it but in an hour my scalp for sun burnt so had to take it out, wished I kept them in for weeks

anonymous on July 28, 2012:

I had my hair braided in spain, loved how it looked and wanted to leave it in for weeks but my scalp got sun burnt so had to take it out within an hour

julieannbrady on April 24, 2012:

When my hair was longer and much thicker, I always longed to try hair braiding ... it surely looks artistic!

anonymous on April 23, 2012:

I had my hair braided in Jamaica. It was a fun experience.

MelonyVaughan on April 22, 2012:

I've had my hair braided before, but more loosely. It was so relaxing I nearly fell asleep!

angelsigh on April 21, 2012:

yes at the Renaissance Festival. It was so lovely! It was simply a crown braid like the princesses wore. I had it in for about a week. Hated taking it out. Lovely lens and very helpful about the hurting part. I have a very sensitive scalp so I picked the least painful braiding and it still brought tears to my eyes. I even had my face painted... ;D

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 15, 2012:

I have noticed that so very many people come back from vacation with the beautiful beaded braided hair style. I have never had it done but I sure do appreciate how it looks on those who have it.

RinchenChodron on April 06, 2012:

No I have short hair - but enjoyed your lens.

anonymous on April 06, 2012:

if never had my hair braded but m leaning all kinds of braids...............fishtail,corn rows all kinds!

biminibahamas on March 10, 2012:

I have never had my hair braided, but there is a stand in the Straw Market on North Bimini Bahamas and it is amazing to watch the the ladies braid. Theor fingers just fly!

Sharon Berry from Michigan on February 24, 2012:

I never had my hair braided but was on vacation with my grand-daughters in Jamaica mon and they had their hair braided. These woman braid really, really fast.

flicker lm on February 03, 2012:

Never had my hair braided, but I'll try anything once. Well, most anything. :) Nice lens!

WriterJanis2 on February 02, 2012:

Had mine braided in Jamaica. Just a little bit of my hair. It lasted for a long time.

anonymous on August 18, 2011:

ok cool

anonymous on June 25, 2011:

Braids are beautiful because anybody with any type of hair texture can wear them. But the real adventure is the removal process-that so many people dislike. Some consider it a con to getting braids, but we have discovered a product called Take Down Remover cream that makes that process easy, fast and painless.

Louis Wery from Sarasota, Florida USA on March 15, 2011:

I wondered about the pros & cons of these tightly braided styles. Thanks for the info!

Louis Wery from Sarasota, Florida USA on March 15, 2011:

I wondered about the pros & cons of these tightly braided styles. Thanks for the info!

RascalO on February 19, 2011:

Kipsy will ROCK the braids!

moonlitta on February 03, 2011:

This hairstyle is a favorite of mine though yes, I'm the kind who will have it quickly undone:)

anonymous on February 02, 2011:

This hair style looks great and attractive. I haven't braided my hair in such a style but would love to experiment.

anonymous on January 24, 2011:

Great advice for any one traveling and interesting in get their hair braided.

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