natural hair

End of Box Braids Round 1

Hair looks good, but it is dry and straw-y!

Hair looks good, but it is dry and straw-y!

7/12 – 7/27.

That’s how long this set of box braids lasted.  I didn’t make it to 3 weeks, but I am pleased with 15 days.  I took out my braids and my hair was an absolute bird’s nest.  I had gone swimming the day before the removal and made a MAJOR mistake.  I should have applied conditioner prior to getting into the pool and immediate rinsed and conditioned again following the swim.  My hair felt like hay and was super frizzy, hence the early take down.  Lesson learned…

Hair is big, but it worked for brunch.

Hair is big, but it worked for brunch.

At least it looked good right?  I had someone asked me how much I paid for my hair because he wanted to pick some up (Yes…’he’.  Because Atlanta is oh-so-fabulous and I love it!).  But that was part of my problem…one which exists for many in the natural hair community.  Hair that looks good but doesn’t feel good is the beginning of the end.  It’s a backwards endeavor.  When that is the case, this is when we end up in some stylists chair, upset with them because they take off 4 inches when you go in for a trim.  If we strive to make sure that our hair always feels good, looking good would require much less effort.

Hair pinned back and up...protects ends and minimizes frizz!

Hair pinned back and up…protects ends and minimizes frizz!

So I am embarking on a major week of conditioning.  I should probably do a protein treatment as well.  To be honest, I am not quite sure what combination of hair goods I will use, but I will let you know in an update.  There are so many new products on the market, does anyone have anything that they absolutely can’t do without?  Drop me a line, and I might be able to throw it in the mix!!




No Box Braids Extensions for Me

So, yeah.

Hair is closer to waist length than I thought.  My thumb on the right is where my natural waist is.  Should be fully WL by year end.

Hair is closer to waist length than I thought. My thumb on the right is where my natural waist is. Should be fully WL by year end.

Box braids with extensions did not happen.  As much as I really, really wanted them, I simply could NOT bring myself to fork over the insulting price that I was quoted to get them done.  I get it.  I have a lot of hair, and – to my surprise – it is much closer to getting back to waist length than I realized – but c’mon son (a little piece of NYC that came with me to ATL)…more than double what other people are paying?  A naturalista’s version of the buyer’s dilemma…

I was thoroughly disappointed.  But I quickly realized that my hair on its own could rock box braids.  I previously did them on a regular basis when I was pregnant with kiddo #1.  Not sure why I fell off…they led to a lot of length retention.  In addition, its a protective style without the added tension that comes from adding hair.

These are just pulled back and secured with a bobby pin.

These are just pulled back and secured with a bobby pin.

And so, they are back.  Box braids without extensions.  I started with freshly washed and detangled hair.  I spritzed each section with water, then coated strands with Oyin Handmade Honey Dew, and finally sealed with shea butter before braiding.  To preserve, I have been spritzing my hair lightly with plain water, shea butter over the roots, and tying down with a silk scarf at night.  This has kept the frizzes at bey.  I have also made sure to spritz and seal my ends every other night.

Chunky, medium-sized braids.

Chunky, medium-sized braids.

I decided to create my own little protective-style-self-challenge.  In a perfect world I would love to keep these in for about 6 weeks, but realistically speaking, I want to start with keeping in the same set of braids for stretches of 3 weeks, separated by 1 week of rest and deep conditioning.  August 2nd marks the end of a 3 week period.  I might have to make some adjustments as I start a new rotation on August 4th, but for now, I’ll just keep spritzing and sealing.

Anyone rock box braids with their own hair on a regular basis?  How long do you keep them in?  What’s your regimen?


The Key to Understanding Your Natural Hair

If you look at 1000 natural hair blogs, you will get 1,000,000 tips, tricks and regimens for growing your natural hair.  But there are 4 major things:

  1. Look to others with similar naked hair
  2. Know your personal optimal protein:moisture balance
  3. Protect your ends
  4. Get healthy on the inside

That is it, in a nutshell.  There are no miracle potions, secrets to be discovered, or magic vitamins.  I, personally, am not sold on the idea of growth aids.  I truly believe that some of it is simply augmented by the extra TLC that comes along with using these aids.  In my opinion, the most important of these is finding a mentor, hair twin, blogger or whatever whose naked hair looks just like yours.   I will use myself as an example…

My hair is coarse, wiry and dense.  It has sheen, but not shine.  It takes a lot of water to “wet it down” as the water tends to just run off my strands.  It has waves, kinks, curls and only a few true coils.  It grows out before it grows down.  There is really only one other person that I have come across that is a true “hair twin”, and many of my hair explorations have been personal trial and error.  However, this was a learned process.

My hair, when loaded with styler and leave-in conditioner products looks as if it could be silky and not as coarse.  But this simply ain’t so.  In the beginning, when I was trying to figure out my own hair in 2006-2007, I would do a lot of stalking of people whose hair looked like by styled hair.  But I get no benefit from buying products used by someone whose normally hair looks like my styled hair.  The same products that they might use simply do not work on my hair texture.

Over the years, I have gotten the most growth (outside of pregnancy!), when I did protective styles which took care of my ends, had the best balance of moisture and protein, and had the best diet and exercise regimen.  As I have gotten the latter of these back in gear, I do believe that getting back to WL is right around the corner.

So, what do you guys think?  Do you agree or disagree?  Is there something else that you absolutely believe is key to understanding your hair and aiding in natural hair growth?


Getting Back to Protective Styles

Soooo, I’m really contemplating getting some box braids.  Not because it’s the latest trend (especially since most of us long term naturals have been there & done that and are on round 2 of the “trends”), but because I really need to get back to protective styling.  My hair grew and retained the most length when I was dedicated to protecting my ends.  I was past waist length at the end of 2013, an over-the-hill trip to waist length, and I had a stylist beg me to even out my hair, even though I said, “Don’t even out my hair, I don’t care about that.”  Nevertheless, I punked out (to put it nicely) and now I’m hovering between MBL and WL.  Remember, always trust your gut and stick to your guns, especially when it comes to natural hair.

At the moment, I am rocking a 4-day-old twist out, and I’ve been sleeping with a bonnet at night so my ends don’t lose moisture.  But I need something else.  Something different.  Anybody have any suggestions before I go and haggle on pricing for some braids?  I am completely open-minded…sometimes :-/

Shrinkage will always be realCurly on my right.Curly on my left.Length