This has been one of the most humid summers to date in my neck of the woods. I took down my micro braids in early June and it’s been a challenge finding ways to to style and protect my natural hair. The majority of the time I let my afro flow freely. However…I also found it more difficult to deal with my hair in it’s constant shrunken state. I would plait my hair, tie it up, and it would be stretched, but by the time I made it to work, some serious shrinkage have already taken place.
I’ve done heatless stretching on my hair by doing the banding method or braiding or plaiting my hair and it worked just fine…during the winter months without any humidity. It’s summer now and I wanted something that would take less time and last a little longer in this humid weather. As my family and I were preparing to go out of town a few weeks ago, I decided to straighten my hair with a straightening brush.
Most straightening brushes look similar to this one pictured above, including mine. I only wanted to loosen my tight curls, not get it bone straight, so I only ran the brush through my hair twice at a 400 heat setting. I figured that after shrinkage took place, it still would be easier to deal with, and I was right. About two weeks later I used the brush again. At night I would plait up my hair in medium sized plaits and tie it up. In the morning I take them down and finger comb and go.
What also helps me in the stretching process is castor oil or Blue Magic hair grease. I have thick, coarse hair, so I need those heavier oils. The only thing is when using oil or grease, you need to be more diligent about washing your hair. Make sure you use a clarifying shampoo to help clear away any and all buildup.
In the photos below you see my hair after having used the brush, but significant shrinkage has also taken place. Despite the shrinkage, my hair has been more manageable. I know constant use of heat is not good for your hair, and I’m not going to use the straightening brush again for a while, but it’s a nice option to have when you want to do something different. Or when you’re simply trying to fight the heat and humidity. And since I hadn’t stretched or straightened my hair in quite some time, it was nice to see my growth progress.
…To take down my micro braids!! Good lord it’s HOT!!!! The take down process ended up being a day and a half. The detangling, washing, deep conditioning and styling took another five hours. When I say I’m exhausted, please know that I mean it!!
My hair is in small – medium sized plaits that I will take down in the morning for a curly fro style. I’m not posting any pictures of it’s current state because 1) It’s too darn hot 2) I’m sweaty 3) Sweaty on me = not cute in my book 4) I’m too lazy to put on decent clothes to take a picture.
I did watch some videos and read some blogs about how to detangle hair after taking down braids, and one very helpful tip was to use conditioner. I applied a liberal amount to my hair with a little water, and slowly and gently detangled sections of my hair. It was very time consuming but worth it. Had I tried to comb through the product build up, dead hair and tangles, I would have lost a lot of unnecessary hair. My hair feels soft, my plaits are bouncy and juicy, and my scalp feels very clean.
I had my micro braids in for three months and didn’t have a lot of product build up. The hair shedding I experienced was normal and I haven’t noticed any bald spots. 😉 My hair grew A LOT, especially in the back which is where it typically grows the fastest. I gave my hair (the ends in particular) and scalp a lot of TLC this weekend and will continue to do so going forward. Scalp massages are the BEST!
The one thing I didn’t get a chance to do because I didn’t have any on hand was a protein treatment. I need to purchase some product ASAP. Otherwise, this was a long, hot weekend dealing with nothing but my hair. But, it was a labor of love. Show your hair some love and it’ll love you right back! 🙂
I did not want to have to blog about breakage again, but here we go. I already know the cause of it:
- Not protective styling enough
- Becoming lazy when caring for my hair
- Using too much heat (blow dryer & straightening brush)
- Not moisturizing enough
It’s all shameful because I know better. I know better. However, I took a break from getting my hair braided this winter and I’m paying for it. I became a very lazy natural and now I have breakage as a result towards the back of my head. I noticed more than the usual shedding and unevenness. I have no one to blame but myself, and I know what needs to be done to fix it. I need to do the opposite of all four things I listed above!
I’m going to cut off as much breakage as possible (try to even out my hair back there), give it some extra TLC, and then get my hair braided. It’s time, it’s been almost six months since I’ve been to the shop to have my hair braided. I tried faux loc crochet braids recently (see picture below) but could only tolerate them for almost three weeks because the synthetic hair made my scalp itch horribly! But they were cute! As always, I’ll keep you posted on my breakage saga. 😦