kayw

How to relax braided horsehair

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I have a large amount of braided horsehair that has been stored for some time and am trying to use lengths of approx 3 1/2 ft. for making bolo ties.  Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to relax the hair so that it hangs straight without curling?  KayW

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What I would try is what I would basically do when show grooming my dogs by shampooing it with a good shampoo that has conditioner in it.

If you are unbraiding the hair:

Shampoo, rinse with warm water then repeat. Usually the first shampooing will not foam and maybe not even the second or third time. It will depend on how dirty the hair is, how hard your water is and how concentrated the shampoo is. When the hair is clean two things will happen 1. shampoo will foam with a very light scrubbing and when you rinse with a fine mist of water there will be very small water beading visible on the hair.

Then hang it like you would clothes on a clothes line. Slowly dry with medium heat from a hair dryer and while drying use a good greyhound comb or soft brush. You may have to use a curling iron to straighten the real bad kinks. When finished drying weight it down on the ends and leave to hang until it is totally dry, it may remain damp for a day.

If you are leaving it braided:

Shampoo and hang as above but drying is going to be more intensive with no brushing or combing involved all hair dryer type work and no curling iron. I use too groom a fairly rare breed dog ( Bergamasco dog ) that has 3 coats that naturally braided and it took 24 -36 hours to completely dry. The problem I can see is that if you do not get the braided hair dry to the centre core it will rot and eventually stink.

kgg

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I bought the braided horsehair several years ago so I won't be trying to re-braid it.  I appreciate your suggestions on shampooing it but I also was thinking of perhaps using a steam kettle to soften it and then as you suggest maybe tie a weight on the end of each piece and let it hang until it dries.  Thanks much for your suggestions.  KayW

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Using steam may work very well just I never thought of that method but would probably work. Rather then using a steam kettle maybe try a regular steam iron with a damp cotton cloth much like pressing a pair of pants with a nasty crease it may give you better control. That way you force the steam right though as well as combining it with heat and see what happens. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

kgg

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Hi.  I braid horsehair bracelets etc and I also shampoo/washing up liquid and hang on the line, but that is pre-braiding. Washing then steaming is obe way but also have you thought about ceramic hair straighteners?   I've had great success with some stubbornly curly horse hair!  I've even used the spray lotion that goes with the straighteners.  :)

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Thanks mucho! I will give this a try and let you know how it comes out  KayW

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