The Solution to Stop Allergic Reaction to Kanekalon Braiding Hair

Have you ever been so excited to get your protective braiding style installed only to experience severe irritation of the scalp? Did you feel like you were going to be called the itchy and scratchy show? I feel your pain. The same has happened to me and apparently lots of other folks. Have you ever considered Kanekalon or synthetic hair as the culprit?

Back in 2013 I had wanted box braids so bad. So when I finally found a stylist that could do them and was affordable I was beyond lit. I spent ten hours in the salon chair to get them done. But baby, when the stylist turned my chair around and I saw them in the mirror I was in love. Everything was going great until a few days later when I started to experience severe itch and irritation of the scalp. I even had red tiny bumps begin to appear along the hairline and throughout areas of my scalp. I thought it was something related to my sensitive skin initially until I spoke with my sister and she asked if I knew if I was allergic to the hair that was installed.

Upon doing more research, I discovered my symptoms were a result of being allergic to the Kanekalon braiding hair that was used for the box braids. It was a little disappointing to see that I was allergic to this hair and I just assumed that meant I could never wear braids anymore as most styles require that same hair. But I am hear to tell you I was completely wrong and if you have suffered from the symptoms that I have described in the past, you can wear your braids again too.

Why does Kanekalon hair cause so much irritation to occur:

Kanekalon hair is a synthetic braiding hair that is manufactured to resemble human hair. This hair is coated with a chemical called alkaline lye by the manufacturer to produce a heat resistant product. This hair is created this way so that it is highly thermal resistant for your protection. Unfortunately, for you and I this chemical that is distributed onto the strands of Kanekalon hair can cause our scalp to feel hot like fire with irritation, dryness, itchiness, and can sometimes cause small hairline bumps to form.

How to overcome the itch and irritation:

I have three words for you my friend. Apple Cider Vinegar! Yes, you can still wear all of your protective styles such as box braids, Senegalese twists, Marley braids, and Fulani braids like I have done most recently but you will need to apply Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to the hair before installation.

Supplies I used to apply to Kanekelon Synthetic Hair to stop irritation/allergy


Supplies Needed:

  1. Packs of Kanekalon Synthetic Hair
  2. Bucket (or use sink)
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Strainer Stopper for Sink
  5. Gloves

Applying ACV Solution to Synthetic Hair in bowl

How to soak the hair:

  1. Remove packets of hair and place into a large bowl
  2. Fill a large bowl with part warm water
  3. Pour 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar into the bowl of warm water
  4. Let the hair soak for about 20-30 minutes or until you see a white film appear
  5. Remove hair from bowl and rinse with cold water
  6. Place stopper in sink (if applicable)
  7. Remove excess water from braiding hair and allow to air dry (I wore gloves on my hand for this step as I did not want the smell of vinegar on my hands)

A white film that rose to the top of the ACV/Water solution after soaking Kanekelon hair. Yuck!


This method worked amazing for me this time around as I did not experience ANY irritation after install.  However, if you experience irritation after you had your Kanekalon synthetic hair installed you can always apply part 1-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle to apply directly to your scalp daily. Just note that it may take days to experience relief as your scalp has really gone through trauma. So if you can, be patient otherwise you may need to take out the braids immediately if your symptoms do not improve.

And there you go! There is your solution as promised to live in harmony and get your protective styling installed as desired!

Have you experienced irritation due to synthetic braiding hair? What has helped you to find relief? Or if this post has helped, please let us know in the comments as we would love to hear your experience.

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