Hey, lovelies! So a few weeks back I posted a picture of Gabrielle Union with her gorgeous, free flowing twists with the hopes of getting them myself. Well, that didn’t happen. I thought my braider could re-create the look with the same or similar hair used for Gabby’s twists, but that wasn’t the case. I ended up getting my usual Senegalese twists. Yes, I’m totally bummed about that. However, a few lessons (and reminders) were learned from this experience:
- Not every hair braider can do every style you want. Have a backup plan in place, and by backup plan I mean other hair braiders and stylists. It’s ok to shop around and keep an eye out for other talented braiders. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a very loyal customer to my beautician when I was getting relaxers, and I’ve been very loyal to my hair braiders over the years. When I find a good one, I stick with them and follow them wherever they may go…unless they go overseas which is what happened to one of my very talented hair braiders. That’s when the following stops, lol. But seriously, keep this in mind. There are other options out there.
- Braids are not cheap, and every woman who gets them can attest to that. That being said, we pay too much money to not be satisfied with the end product. That’s why it is so important that you find a braider that listens, not one who simply wants your money and gives you what THEY want you to have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If they can’t recreate a style, are there any alternatives? Perhaps using a different type of hair or technique? If the shop provides the hair and they don’t carry the hair needed to do a certain style, offer to bring your own.
- There is no reason for your hair to be braided so tight until your scalp is in pain for days or weeks afterward. If your hair is constantly being braided tight, even after you tell your braider that it’s too tight, it’s time to look for a different hair braider. Heavy hands and tight braids will leave you bald around the edges and with bald spots throughout your scalp, and that is totally counterproductive (and unacceptable) to having braids in the first place. Braids are used as a protective style to us naturals to preserve what we have and to protect it from the elements and over manipulation. Keep that in mind when getting your hair braided. DO NOT allow a braider to damage your hair and scalp by braiding your hair too tight.
- Don’t be afraid to ask other women who did their braids. Trust me, that’s how I’ve found my hair braiders over the years. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Just the other day at the grocery store, I complimented the cashier on her eyebrows. They were beautifully shaped and her make-up was beautifully done. It looked very natural and it wasn’t caked on. What I loved the most was she was a dark skinned young lady and she used all the right shades of makeup to compliment her beautiful skin tone. Anyway, she thanked me, and before I left with my groceries she handed me her business card. It turns out she’s an African hair braider and cosmetologist! She also has a YouTube channel that I will be checking out soon. But do you get what I’m saying? I now have another option to look into for my braiding and styling needs.
Too often because something is the “norm” we accept it. That should never be the case when it comes to our health, and it should never be the case when it comes to the health of our scalp and hair. Just because braids are typically done tightly doesn’t mean they should be. It also doesn’t mean that we should accept it. Remember, there are other options out there so don’t be afraid to explore them.
Looking back on my natural hair journey for 2015, I noticed, and you’ve probably noticed too, that I was fixated on protective styling. That quickly got trumped when I discovered my bald spot and breakage. The bald spot, though traumatic, ended up being a blessing in disguise. It made me take a closer look at how I treated my hair. It made me realize that I was being too rough on my hair and on my daughter’s hair. I had to rethink my hair care regimen. I was also forced to look at the products I was using, even though I take the minimalist approach to my products. I’ve incorporated more natural oils into my routine, and I deep condition more. Positive changes definitely came from my bald spot scare!
Since starting this natural hair journey, it’s always been about learning and embracing. You have to take the good with the bad no matter what. I will admit that when my bald spot was discovered, the thought of cutting off all of my hair did cross my mind. I felt this would only be an option if the breakage had spread to other parts of my head, and it never did. I’ve read many blogs and watched many YouTube videos on breakage and the steps some have taken to deal with breakage, and cutting off all of their hair is one step some have taken, depending on how severe the damage was. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to that extreme, but I was prepared to do so if push came to shove.
Overall, I believe 2015 was a good year. Towards the end I got hit with the bald spot drama, but it all worked out once I got a solid hair care regimen in place. I love the natural hair community because through me sharing my experience with my bald spot, fellow naturalista’s rallied around me and let me know that I wasn’t alone. They’ve experienced breakage and bald spots, and they’ve gotten through them. I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful advice and constant support and encouraging words, and I will forever be grateful for that. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I pray it’s full of positivity. Here’s to healthy hair!!
We’ve all done it: Tried something that we knew wouldn’t quite work the way we wanted it to, especially if trying it for the first time. I took my kinky twist braids down yesterday with the help of my two girls. After washing and deep conditioning, I blew my hair out just a little with the blow dryer to do a twist out. I wanted my hair stretched out a bit more, hence blowing it out just a tad. At the last minute I decided to do flat twists on my dry hair. I got on YouTube to look at tutorials on how to do flat twist outs on dry hair since I have thick 4c hair. Just about every tutorial I looked at required the use of hair gel. I HATE using gel in my hair, and I stay away from using it as much as possible. Needless to say, I tried it.
After putting JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil) on my scalp, and my homemade mango butter mixture on my hair, I commenced with the flat twisting of my hair. Now mind you, I’m no expert on flat twists. I’m still learning and trying to get the technique down. I rolled up the ends with rollers to have extra curl definition.
This morning when I took my hair down, of course it did not lay the way I wanted it to. Again, I’m no expert at flat twists so I’m sure my technique and braid pattern had a lot to do with that. My hair was basically a curly mess. The one thing that bothered me the most was that my hair was also very, very HARD. But, like a true Naturalista, I went to my plan B hairstyle: I finger fluffed my hair as best I could (considering I had used gel in it) and grabbed a head band. Head bands have saved the day many times for me, y’all!
Don’t ask me why I broke the cardinal natural hair rule of never trying a new hairstyle without first testing it out – especially when you have to go to work the next day! It was on a whim, and I felt adventurous. I’m laughing at my mistake now because I knew better, and I did it anyway. Because of my hard headed “adventurous” ways, I’ll be washing my hair again tonight to get rid of the gel that has my hair feeling hard and crunchy. Yay me. <—- (sarcasm) This morning as I was taking my hair down from the flat twists, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself because deep down I knew it was going to be a hot mess. Oh well, lesson learned…even if it was a funny one!
Vlogging always seemed like it would be fun. Maybe it’s because so many YouTubers who are experienced vloggers make it look fun. They enjoy doing it and they’re good at it. “I can do that” I’d think to myself. “It looks fun and easy” I’d foolishly tell myself. Then one day I tried it, and I tried it several times talking about various topics, and by topics I mean natural hair topics.
Here’s where I messed up: I attempted to vlog late in the evening while tired and sleepy. When I would watch the finished video, I looked like I was minutes away from falling asleep. That’s not a good look. I also talked slow, which I’m sure will irritate those who are impatient and want you to get to the point. My eyes were so heavy that if you looked at me long enough you’d become sleepy too! What I talked about was interesting (to me at least), but I had no energy. NONE. I work full time, I come home and cook, help kids with homework, putz around the house and take care of whatever else needs to be taken care of. Depending on what day it is, I’ll sit down long enough to watch my favorite TV show (if I can keep my eyes open long enough), and then off to bed I go.
In order for vlogging to work for me, I’d have to do it on the weekends and I would have to commit to it. Is it doable? Sure it is. Will I stick to it? Probably not. I’d be one of those vloggers who post a new video once every other month, if even that. So yeah, I’m going to stick to blogging. I’ve always been one who expresses herself better in writing than speaking. I can get my thoughts out faster by typing them out. I’ve always been wired this way.
To those who vlog, keep up the good work! You’ve found your niche, you’ve developed a following so keep it up. As for little ole’ me, I’m going to stay in my lane of writing. It’s much, much easier for me. And if I’m tired and sleepy while blogging, you’d never know it. 😉