How many braids did you try? Just one or several? Also did you try sleeping with a satin bonnet on?
Do you find that your hair is dry, stiff, and frizzy? If so you could have too much protein in your hair's products, and this could be the culprit of the brittleness and dryness. Try clarifying and doing a moisturizing deep treatment with heat. Usually helps.
Lastly I really don't recommend dry detangling! ouch! Not to sound rude, but why do you feel that is necessary? Wetting the hair (with conditioner too) is always best.