Tag Archives: Protective Styles

My Natural Hair Needs Braids To Grow


Arnold shoulder shrug

As a little girl, through my tween years, my mother and older sisters kept my hair braided in various styles. When I say braided, I mean regular braids without the addition of synthetic hair. My hair always flourished this way. When it was time for my hair to be washed, the braids would come down, my mother would wash and deep condition my hair, give me a hot oil treatment complete with a scalp massage, and my hair would get braided up again.

Fast forward to today, and one of the most common ways to braid hair is with the addition of synthetic or human hair. This practice is by no means new. It has been done for centuries by African women all over the African continent. It allows for a myriad of styling and color options, and it adds to the longevity of the style. I know there are those who swear by the rule that you can grow your hair without the use of protective styles (mainly protective styles that require the use of synthetic or human hair via braids or wigs.)  by simply taking better care of your hair and following strict hair care routines. To that, I say no two heads of hair are alike.

Since being natural for five years now, I can honestly say that I have experienced the most growth when my hair was in braids. When my hair is simply left alone in a protective style, it thrives. I keep it moisturized, I keep my scalp and braids oiled with castor oil, and I simply let it be. I have learned how to minimize the shedding and breakage, and I don’t tug and pull on my braids because of trying to put them in cute buns or other styles.

I have decided that my girls and I will wear braids more this year. As long as our braids are not tight and we practice edge-saving techniques and healthy maintenance, we’ll all be fine, and our natural hair will love us for it.

I would love to hear from you! Does your hair fair better with or without braids? Hit the comment section and let me know!



Natural Hair In Review – 2017


that's a wrap

Every year I learn something new. New techniques, new natural things to use on my hair such as herbs and oils. While I may not have tried them all, they’ve definitely been added to my “to-do” or “wish” lists.

Lessons Regarding My Hair

The first important thing I’ve learned is to let go of the bad ends. I neglected to clip my ends for quite some time, and I paid for it. My afros,while big, looked scraggly. When I finally got rid of those bad ends, my afro looked healthy. Let go of the dead weight people. Don’t hang on to bad ends for the sake of length. It will always hurt you more in the end with the amount of hair that you end up having to cut.

The second important thing I learned about my hair is that it grows better when it’s braided or in some type of protective style. For a good portion of 2017, I wore my hair in its natural state. I let my fro fly free. While I enjoyed rockin’ my big hair, it became a chore at times. I felt pressured to find and try new styles that weren’t always good for my hair.

For one, the temptation to twist my hair into two strand twists or plaits every night to have fresh curls in the morning was something I had to fight against. Also, the temptation to semi-straighten/stretch my hair more than I should (in the attempt to try new styles) was also there.  Both things can cause breakage when done in excess, and after finally clipping my bad ends, more breakage is the last thing I want. I also noticed that my hair growth seemed slower when not in a protective style. Having observed all of these things about my hair, it’s time to listen to what it needs. I will be more diligent about my protective styles to promote healthy hair growth.

Lessons From The Natural Hair Community 

We have a long way to go with education, acceptance, confidence, support towards one another, and respect. While I’m happy to see many women making the change from chemical relaxers to natural hair, many of them need to be educated on African American hair so they can better understand their own hair. They need to learn our history about hair braiding, head wraps, designs, and why certain negative terms and views that date back to slavery and beyond still have a vice grip on many of us today that prevent us from seeing the true beauty of our hair. Educating yourself is one of the most important steps in your natural hair journey.

It makes me happy to see that there are so many natural hair events all over the states that celebrate all types of African American hair, and I hope to attend a few of them that are close to my neck of the woods. I’ve heard nothing but good things regarding those events, and we need more like them.

I’m going to continue to do my part by encouraging hair-positive messages in the natural hair community through my blog. My focus will be on the positive stories in the natural hair community and less on the negative ones. And as usual, I will continue to strive to take better care of my natural hair.

Thank you all for supporting my blog, and here’s to healthier hair in 2018!








I did not want to have to blog about breakage again, but here we go. I already know the cause of it:

  1. Not protective styling enough
  2. Becoming lazy when caring for my hair
  3. Using too much heat (blow dryer & straightening brush)
  4. 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. 😦


Protective Styling – It’s Not That Hard!


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! 😉

Gabrielle Union Twists Update



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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Hey Girl Heeeyyy!


It’s been a long time, and I’ve missed you!

Let’s talk HAIR! I’ve been rocking braids for the majority of the spring and summer. Keeping my hair in a protective style (with a few weeks of rest between styles) has produced growth and retention. I don’t fuss with my braids when I have them i.e. putting my braids in buns or constantly pulling them up or back into ponytails. I love my edges and I want to keep them! When I take them down I’m not experiencing a ton of shedding that would have me concerned about breakage, which is awesome.

I just took down a cornrow style that I had for almost two months and I’m just rockin’ my afro at the moment. I plan to have braids installed again next week. My usual braids of choice are Senegalese twists or Kinky twists, but my latest braid-spiration (yes I just made up that word) came from Gabrielle Union. She wore these beautiful twists to the BET Awards about a month ago and I was mesmerized! First of all, they were neatly done, so shout out to her hairdresser/braider, and secondly they flowed as if they were the weight of a feather! What the heck? It was clear that her hair braider didn’t pull her edges tightly at all, and the hair that was used was different from any other hair I’ve seen used for twists.

Gabby's twists

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Ever since seeing Gabby’s braids (yes I called her Gabby as if we’re friends), I was on a mission to find out what kind of hair was used to accomplish this beautiful, regal look. I asked my hair braider and she told me the name of the hair used, and of course I can’t recall it at the moment, but I text her a picture of Gabby’s braids and told her that I wanted them. I cannot wait!!

Here are some pictures of me in the braids I’ve been rocking since the last time I’ve posted.

BeFunky Collage

I’ve also been keeping my two girls’ hair in braids and their hair is growing and is very healthy as well. Keeping our hair moisturized while we have the braids and deep conditioning is a must after I take our braids down. And remember, be gentle and take your time when taking down your braids so you won’t experience unnecessary breakage.

I’ve kept my products to a minimal, still making my own butters and mixing my own concoctions of oils. I’m in love with my organic mango butter, coconut oil butter that I make that is awesome for your entire body from head to toe. And yes, to have an awesome twist out I will use good ole’ Blue Magic hair grease from time to time, but not often. I’m looking for a new shampoo and conditioner to use and I’ll post about that at a later date. Till next time my lovelies!


Interview With A Naturalista: Part III


Flaunt your fro

This is my final interview in this series, and I must say it has been a lot of fun connecting with all of the ladies and talking natural hair. Michea is a long time friend of mine. We go waaaaay back and she’s one who has been natural since I’ve known her, and I’ve known her for well over 20 years! She’s the sweetest, funniest, most outgoing person you will ever meet. I think you will find her interview very honest and refreshing.

Q: How long have you been natural?

Michea: I’ve been natural most of my life.

Q: What made you go natural?

Michea: After I got my first relaxer at 14, it has been pure laziness and busy life that keeps me natural.

Q: Was the transition easy?

Michea: I’ve been obsessive about protective styles which has allowed me to be natural so long, so transitioning is always easy. I cut it short then get some braids. When I get bored with my natural hair, I relax it. So no big “natural hair movement” for me. I flip-flop.

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

Michea: Versatility and being the only race that has this ability to do what we do with our hair.

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

Michea: Umm finding different hairstyles. When the natural hair community found YouTube, I got more ideas.

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

Michea: Be patient. You may not love it at first. Do it because you want to not because of pressure, and if you don’t find peace and happiness do something different. Sometimes that means going back to a relaxer.

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

Michea: Honestly, I don’t think I have any real favorite products. But since the beginning grease and a spritz of water has given me all I ever needed for a good twist out. Braids are my favorite protective style.

Many thanks to my girl Michea for taking the time to chit-chat with me. Like I always say, every naturalista’s journey is different. Not everyone’s truth is the same as the next person’s. All of my participants, Mleta, Tyssa, and Michea spoke their truths. You may not agree with all of their views, but you can do nothing but respect them because these are their stories and their truths. THANK YOU to all of these lovely ladies for sharing a bit of their natural hair journey with me. I hope it inspires and encourages those who read their interviews and provides them with insight. Let’s keep spreading the positive love and acceptance of everyone’s natural hair journey!