Turning into Alicia Keys…

Let me clarify…

I’m about to venture into the world of cornrows for the summer.  This pregnancy has sent the thickness of my hair to a world never before experienced.  My hair thickened with my first pregnancy, and then thinned out a little with the postpartum shedding, but never, ever went back to its original density.  Going into pregnancy #2, I was already dealing with a thicker forest, and it is just getting thicker, and thicker, and longer, and thicker.

I had a trim, which ended up being a mini-cut a few weeks ago, and I would say I’m about BSL at the moment.  Which is fine with me.  My ends needed it.  But I am seriously at my wit’s end.  Styling crazy thick, and relatively long, natural hair is a chore.  No way around it.  For those of you that do it on a daily basis, I’d love for you to chime in with comments so we can share options with each other.  The more the merrier!

As for me, here are the options I was facing and my thoughts on each:

  1. Buns, buns and more buns.  I was doing this for a while.  But I have a big head y’all.  I don’t have hair that easily slicks back into an elegant chignon.  I have THICK hair that I have to beat into submission in order to get anything that remotely resembles a smooth bun, without having humps and lumps that work against what I’m trying to achieve.  My buns tend to make my head look that much bigger because my hair is so thick.  Needless to say, it’s been my fallback style, with a scarf or headband added.  It still takes me about 20-30 minutes of wrestling to get it looking decent, at best.  But I feel the tension I have to create to get it all back is just not good for the hair line.
  2. Mini twists or braids that would last about a week to 10 days that I could turn into a twist out.  These were good for a while.  But I just don’t have the 4 hours it takes for me to put them in.  End of story.
  3. Wash-n-gos. Ha!  The last time I did a wash and go was in my last post…how many months ago was that?  I choose not to do styles that “bring out my curls” because it requires a lot of product and manipulation on my part.  I’m okay with my fuzzy kinks.  The time factor (washing, conditioning, detangling and styling) combined with complete acceptance (I just don’t need to prove to the world that my hair has waves and curls) leads me to just not really prefer this option.  Sure, it’s okay to throw it in there every now and then as an alternative/switch it up…it’s just not the go to.
  4. Relax it. Not really an option for me.  But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t something I hadn’t considered from time to time.  That’s just real talk right there.  No frontin’ on these pages.

So, after lots and lots of deliberation, I came to realize I was tired of every option I had ever given myself.  But then I opened my eyes to an option that had always been there that I never really considered.  Cornrows.

I live in Harlem.  Without fail, like clockwork, every single day when I come home, I am greeted on 125th street with the songs of West African Braiders.  “Hair braided Miss?  Hair braided?”  I usually reply, “No thank you.  Not today.  But have a nice day.”  To which I get smiles and “Take my card for next time.”  And I do and I put it in my bag and never really think about it again.

Then yesterday, as I was digging around looking for my keys, I realized I had at least a dozen cards from hair braiders in my bag.  On the front of one was a picture of a woman was really small cornrows that were quite beautiful.  I took the card to my DH and asked what he thought of the style, and he said “That’s kinda hot” and I smiled because I thought the same.

— Side note…it’s amazing how we always look to others to validate our thoughts, ways and moods.  I kinda feel no matter how independent you are, you often go to an outside party for comments.  Is that a matter of validation, scrutiny, etc?  Don’t know.  Just came to me.  But anyway —

So, I started scouring the internet for pics of cornrows.  And all I could find were larger sets or styles with extensions.  None of which appeal to me.  And then I came across A. Keys.  And I found the style I want to [try to] have replicated.  I’m getting it done with no hair added, no feed in, just my good old thick, natural hair.  They quoted my $60, which I thought was a great price.  If it comes out nice, I’ll probably throw in another $20 for appreciation.  Getting it done this evening after work and I’ll report back with the final product.

The plan is to get them done once a month.  But, you know how I am with plans…



  1. I had natural hair as a kid so I have a clue hoe thick it will get. Ive already planned to cut it and keep it at a certain length. It’s the same thing I planned to do with my relaxed hair. It’s just hair to me. Just because I can grow it to great lengths doesnt mean I have to! Anyways that’s just me 🙂 Hope you find a solution that works for you!

  2. I was thinking about getting braids myself. Those braids that A.Keys have in that pic is hot. Can’t wait to see your hair pics.
    Sha 🙂

  3. I think it’s going to look great! I am going to try cornrows in July, when it’s really hot here in LA. My hair is only APL so I’m worried that I will look like a little boy! Can’t wait to see pics!

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