Tag Archives: Crochet Braids

Protective Styling – It’s Not That Hard!

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So why have I been making it so hard? Or am I just lazy/content with what I’ve been doing thus far? I think it’s the latter. Lately, I’ve been seriously thinking about other ways to protective style that will not hurt my pocket book so much. (I just showed my age saying pocket book LOL!)  I LOVE going to the shop and getting my hair braided, however that’s not always financially feasible. Braids are a wonderful investment that you can get two – three months out of, especially when you find a great hair braider. Crochet braids only last for a few weeks (depending on style and type of hair you use) and then you have to take them down.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten myself into the bad habit of twisting or plaiting my hair and then taking it down the next day to wear a curly fro, then retwisting or plaiting to do it all over again night after night. Well, I’m noticing split ends and extra shedding. Not good. The shedding and split ends aren’t just because of over manipulation. It’s also because I haven’t been tucking my hair away this winter. The cold, harsh winter air has my hair dry and brittle. To be more loving and gentler to my hair, I’ve set a new goal for myself, inspired by fellow Naturalista’s on Facebook. My goal is to leave my hair in a protective style for a week and to keep doing it every week until it becomes a habit. I think this is a great goal for people like myself who desperately need to leave their hair alone.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany. Not only am I going to invest in more colorful scarves so I can wrap my hair in different styles, I’m going to also invest in a WIG! And not just any ole’ wig, I want a good wig that looks like my natural hair. I’ll admit that I’ve been resistant towards wigs for quite some time. I’ve never worn one in my entire life except for a talent show. I’ve always felt that I wouldn’t look right in them. But I’ve now had a change of heart and I’m ready to rock a wig! Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s and I no longer care about what other people think. Regardless of the reason, I’m here for them. I’m here for wigs! yaaasssss

Until I get my wig and more colorful scarves, here’s what I’m rocking today to keep my plaits in my hair:

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses, hat and closeup

Come through, hat! 😉

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Did Protective Styling Cause More Breakage?

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Ok guys, I’m clearly thinking out loud as I try to figure out this whole bald spot/breakage thing. As I examined the area where the bald spot is, it looks as though there is more breakage happening around that area although it’s very small. (Any breakage is bad breakage in my opinion!) I’m trying my best not to go into panic mode, but I want this breakage to STOP! Losing hair at the front of your head is one of the worst areas to have this happen in my opinion. I’m just glad that there is plenty of hair there to camouflage the affected area right now. Anyhoo, I’m still reading and looking things up on the internet regarding all the possible reasons and causes of breakage and hair loss. Now granted, I know all of the basic causes, but I just want to make sure I’m not overlooking something. Then the light bulb went off in my head. Yes, I had another EUREKA moment. 😉

Just a few weeks ago I took out my kinky twist braids. I had them in for almost 3 months, and I blogged about how upset I was that my new growth caused me to take them out sooner. Remember how I talk about I’m “team save the edges” and how I didn’t put my braids into cute buns on top of my head or any other up-dos that would put stress on my edges? Well while I didn’t do any of those things, I did have the (bad) habit of flipping the braids in the front to the back to keep them out of my face. My husband even told me I needed to stop doing that because it was  pulling on my roots. The one time I should have listened to him…

You know where I’m going with this, right? Where is this new breakage that I’ve found? In the front, in those same areas where I was flipping back my braids. The stress I was putting on my fragile roots for almost three months of constantly flipping my hair back was clearly too much. Now that the braids are out and my hair has had a chance to breathe, I’m seeing the effects of my rough treatment of my hair. AND, I might add, my braids were more than likely done too tight even though I’m not tender headed. It’s sad when you expect your braids to hurt because that’s how most hair braiders braid hair – tightly. They catch every edge and every nap so tightly that if the wind blows on your scalp, you’re in tears afterwards. Braids should never hurt. NEVER. Now I’m not saying that I’ll never get braids again, because I will. I think from now on I’ll lean more towards crochet braids, and even with those you have to be careful of how tightly your cornrows are braided and the type of hair you use for your braids as certain synthetic hair can cause irritation and breakage to your hair.

In the end, I think I figured out where I went wrong you guys. I’m dealing with two issues here:

  1. The unexplained scalp pain that comes and goes and the small bald spot that occurred in that area BEFORE I got my braids
  2. Breakage in the area where I continuously flipped my braids to the back

Reading other blogs and surfing through YouTube and other places on the internet on this subject has helped me to figure out a solid game plan of how to attack these issues. I’m going to stick to a regular hair care routine that consists of deep conditioning and hot oil treatments, and I’m going to start back taking my biotin supplements. I’m also going to continue to be gentle with my hair and not manipulate it (comb, touch, pull, etc.) too much. I know in time I will see the results that I’m looking for, which is healthier hair, but being patient is key. Good things come to those who wait. 🙂

Winter = Protective Styles

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Here in the midwest we’re in the midst of the dog days of winter. Since becoming natural almost two years ago, I had decided that as part of my winter hair regiment I would get braids during this time. For one, it gives my hair a much-needed rest. During the spring and summer months I primarily rock my afro. The dry, cold winter air is so damaging to our natural hair that you must cover it up and consider some type of protective style to keep it healthy and protected.

Around January 2nd I had crochet braids installed by my sister-in-law Gina. She’s the crochet braid queen in my book! She used Freetress Water Wave hair, 2 1/2 packs. The install from start to finish took about two and a half hours.

SJ Crochet Braids Crochet Braids Jan 15

The picture on the left is the night she installed them. The picture on the right was taken about three and a half weeks later. The hair still looks good, right? I kept these braids in for one month, which is about the length of time they typically last before this type of hair starts to get matted and knotted up at the ends – even with tying it up every night.

To keep my natural hair moisturized, I spritzed my cornrows underneath the crochet hair with a concoction of olive oil, avocado oil, peppermint essential oil, and water. Just put it in a spray bottle and spritz it once a day or every other day.

My second protective style for the winter: Box Braids.

I took down my crochet braids and decided to get box braids right after. It has been years since I’ve had box braids. I’m talking sometime in the mid 1990’s! I didn’t want them to be too big (ala Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice), so I opted for medium-sized ones. The install took about seven hours, and that’s mostly because my appointment didn’t start on time and there were a few interruptions along the way. The good thing about these braids is they’ll last for three months or more, and I typically keep them in for three months. You can still wash your hair with them in, but I wouldn’t recommend washing your hair too often as that will cause you to lose braids and cause too much pulling and friction on your hair. I use the same spritz I used with the crochet braids of olive oil, avocado oil, peppermint essential oil and water to keep my hair moisturized. While I love rocking a big fat bun, it’s not something I’ll be doing on a regular basis because of the pulling and friction it causes on your edges. I am team SAVE YOUR EDGES! LOL!

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Interview with A Naturalista: Part I

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Positive Life

Hello my lovelies! Lately I’ve felt like I spent too much time venting about the divisions among fellow naturalista’s, so I decided to bring back the positive vibes and encouragement. What better way to do that than to interview naturalistas and learn about their journey?  I decided to interview a few of my naturalista friends and get their viewpoint on their natural hair experience. A big THANK YOU to all of my friends who agreed to participate, I adore you ladies!

The first person I interviewed is Mleta. She’s an old high school buddy of mine and she’s a riot! All we have to do is look at each other and we’ll die laughing! Without further ado, here is my interview with Mleta:

Q: How long have you been natural?

Mleta: I have been natural since March of 2012, so 2 years and 8 months.

Q: What made you go natural?

Mleta: I went natural because I noticed my hair was starting to thin out and it just did not feel or look healthy. I was unhappy with it so I decided to make a change.

Q: Was the transition easy?

Mleta: The transition was very easy. I think it was due to the fact that I wore quick weaves all the time and my hair was changing right before my eyes.

Q: What do you love most about having natural hair?

Mleta: What I love most about being natural is how healthy my hair has become. It’s grown thicker, longer and I also love the natural curl pattern of my hair.

Q: What did you find to be your biggest challenge with natural hair?

Mleta: The biggest challenge for me was learning that there would be far more maintenance required with my natural hair than I’ve ever had to do when I was relaxed.

Q: What advice/encouragement would you give to someone that is considering going natural?

Mleta: My advice first and foremost would be to research it before going natural. Going natural is not for everyone! It requires a lot of patience. The transition period can be tough, and at some point you may want to run for the creamy crack. Stay strong. Just because you are natural, it does not give you a pass to walk around looking like BUCKWHEAT! Please tame the mane, lol! Also, keep in mind that what works for one naturalista may not work for you. This is going to be all about trial and error. Please do not get discouraged.

Q: What are some of your favorite products to use and protective styles, if any?

Mleta: I have narrowed it down to 2 must have products. My first favorite product to use, and don’t laugh at this, is Blue Magic – Coconut Oil. My hair is IN LOVE with this product, especially on bantu knots. The second product that my hair loves is the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried a plethora of products, but I have found for me, these 2 are a must have. My favorite protective styles are crochet braids and quick weaves. The first year that I went natural, all I wore were quick weaves all the time. I started doing research on Youtube and I came across the new technique of crochet braids and I was sold. Till this day I rock my crochet braids, which are my favorite. They are low maintenance and you can care for your scalp while wearing them. There are so many different styles and hair types that you can work with..I absolutely love them!

Once again THANK YOU Mleta for taking the time to share your natural hair journey and experience. As far as the Blue Magic Coconut Oil goes – hunny that stuff gives me LIFE! I love it too! I hope this interview and the ones to follow help and inspire all who read them! 🙂

It’s Been A Long Time…….

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“It’s been a long time…..” as the hip hop legend Rakim of Eric B. and Rakim put it! I feel like I’ve neglected my blog. Part of my absence is due to life. Plain and simple. Being busy with the kids, my husband, work, running around – you know, LIFE! The other part was I wanted to wait to write something new when I had updates or news to share, and now I finally do. As you can see from the pictures I took out the crochet braids after having them in for almost three months. I’ve had tremendous growth while giving my hair a much needed rest with the crochet braids protective style. I have not blown dry or flat ironed my hair since I’ve taken my braids out so I don’t really know just how much my hair has grown, but it’s significant. I’ve been doing bantu knot twist outs and plait outs on my hair since taking my braids out, and I’m still tweaking things and trying to figure out which process works better for my hair and for the length that it’s currently at.

I’ve come to the conclusion that plait outs work best for me, and I need to start rolling up the ends or do a bantu knot so that my ends are curly and not straight. Plait outs are the same as twist outs only you’re plaiting your hair. In my case I plait my hair in small to medium plaits all over my head, and then in the morning I gently take them down with a little olive or jojoba oil on my finger tips. I get wonderful definition when I do the plait out. Also I finally got out to Trader Joe’s and picked up more extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, and FINALLY some grape seed oil. I’ve been using my jojoba and argan oils on my ends and love how soft they make my hair, and I’m still using my raw African shea butter mixture on my hair.

My sister in law has been helping me keep my daughter’s hair in protective styles as well. She does their braids which are very cute, and they are experiencing significant hair growth as well. Much can be said for “less is more” and simply leaving your hair alone. This Saturday I’m getting my Senegalese twists done by a good friend of mine and I can’t wait. Yes, more braids! Until this horrible arctic winter is over with I will keep braids in me and my girls hair.

In two months it will be one year that I’ve been creamy crack free. In May it will be one year since my big chop. YAY ME! I’m so excited for the next chapters in my journey, learning how to do different styles with my natural hair, learning how to make more natural homemade products for me and my girl’s hair (and body), and continuing to love and accept my hair for what it is. My hair may not curl like everyone else’s, and every style or technique I try may not work for me, and that’s ok. The options are still endless for my thick, coarse 4c hair, and I can’t wait to explore as many options as I possibly can. Stay strong and be inspired my fellow naturalistas!

Please feel free to leave a comment below and to “like” if you enjoyed what you read. I always respond back. 🙂

Finally got my braids!

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Sonya crochet braids

FINALLY! I got my braids, but not the Senegalese twists that I really, REALLY wanted. They only cost $200 at the African hair braiding shop. O.o So with my finances not cooperating I started to think of alternatives. The goal after all was to get a protective style for these harsh winter months that are upon us midwest living folks. I follow 4c Natural Hair Chicks page on Facebook and it was on their page that they had a post about crochet braids. Crochet braids have been around since the 90’s, and I got them for the first time in 2000. back then you used braided synthetic hair and simply crochet it into your hair. My sister in law taught herself how to do them and I was her guinea pig. She did a great job! I had short ones that were cut into a cute bob, and then the second time she did them they were long down my back. I haven’t had the crochet style braids since 2001.

I’m not exactly sure when crochet braids made a comeback or if they were ever out of style, but on the 4c Natural Hair Chicks page they showed how instead of using the already braided hair, women are simply using kinky, curly, wavy or any unbraided hair they desired and used the same crochet method. Do you know what this means? The hundreds of dollars spent going to a shop and the hours spent at the shop are over!!! You can get the same look you want for much, much less and in half the time!! There were so many women who posted pictures of their crochet braid styles and I was simply AMAZED that they were crochet braids, and many of them did their hair themselves! There was a woman who used afro kinky hair and she looked like she had a beautiful afro. It looked so real and gorgeous. They were crochet braids. It was amazing. So of course I showed these pictures to my sister in law and told her “I want this!” Being the sweetheart she is she did my hair Thursday night. It took 5 hours versus 8 or 12 at a shop, and the cost? Not even $20.00 for the hair! What made me laugh was one woman on the FB page said she went to a shop and asked how much it would cost for the crochet style using the hair she wanted and the stylist told her $142.00! She said she laughed and walked out of the shop. Why pay that much when there’s a zillion YouTube how-to video’s that can show you how to do just about anything yourself? The money you save doing it yourself or having a friend or family member do it is bonkers!

Trust me, I appreciate having professionally braided hair. I will gladly pay for neat, beautiful work when it comes to having my hair done at the shop. However…..when my money is funny I will do the next best thing, and right now that’s crochet braids. They are neat, my sister in law did not braid my hair tight nor did she crochet the hair tightly into my hair. I have no pounding headache and no need to pop some Advil. AND, with this new way of doing the crochet braids it’s not so obvious that you have the crochet braids like it was years ago where you could see the rows of crochet braids. That was the equivalent of having your tracks show with your sew in weave. Not cute. Also, you can still achieve whatever look you want using whatever type of synthetic or human hair that you choose.

The take away for me is don’t be afraid to explore other hair options. For months I was hell bent on dropping $200 for my Senegalese twists that I didn’t think about any other options or solutions. Little did I know that people are even crocheting Senegalese twists into their hair and achieving the same look! When your money is funny there are always other options, CHEAPER options that can give you the same look you want. Who knows, later on when my finances are looking better I may still go to an African hair braiding shop and get my hair professionally braided. I will never rule that out as an option, but until then I’ve found the next best thing.

Please feel free to post your comments and “like” this post if your heart so desires. Thank you! 🙂