Life After the Protective Style

If you have ever worn a protective style, wigs, Marley twists, box braids, etc., then you should know that bittersweet feeling of taking off the wig or taking out the twists or braids.

This is a bittersweet moment because hopefully you loved wearing your protective style and it made you feel different and you knew your hair was

protected and growing, and that’s the “sweet” part. The “bitter” part comes in when you realize you have to spends hours taking out your extensions and possibly have to go back to styling your hair every day.

Just because it is a bittersweet task, doesn’t mean you should never want to wear protective styles or you should leave your protective style in a ridiculously long time, it just means you have to be mentally prepared when you are getting ready to take out your braids or twists.

Why do you have to be mentally prepared, you ask? Because a lot of questions run through your head, just like they ran through mine when I took out my Marley twists this past Sunday.

Questions like:

Before and After

“What if I don’t look as pretty with my braids/twists out?”

“Am I still going to like my natural hair when I take them out?”
“What if my hair didn’t grow as much as I wanted it to?”
“Is it possible that I damaged my hair?”
“Should I get another protective style right away?”

And many, many, more, but these are just a few thoughts that ran through my mind. Here is where the mental preparedness comes in…you have to be able to combat those semi-negative questions with uplifting and positive answers like the ones listed below.

First question response: You have to know you look beautiful with or without your protective style.

Second question response: You should always love your natural hair, no matter the texture, length, etc. Your natural hair is amazing!

Third question response: You have to remember that your hair will grow. Don’t get too caught up in length where you start neglecting health. Healthy hair will grow no matter what.

Fourth question response: If you know that you moisturized and conditioned your scalp and hair while it was under your protective style, then you have nothing to worry about! You hair is not damaged at all.

Fifth question response: You shouldn’t get a protective style right away, especially not if you want to do it because you feel like you don’t look as good while wearing your natural hair. Give your hair a break and re-embrace your own hair!

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Protective Styling 101

Recently I decided to jump aboard the protective style train. This was my first time getting any type of extensions in my hair.DSC_0015~2

I did a lot of research on Pinterest and Google to find the right protective style for me. I decided to go with Marley twists. It was definitely a good decision!

What is protective styling?

Protective styling is when you give your hair a 1-2 month break from styling. You won’t be able to constantly have your hands in your hair because it will be under a protective style, which is a good thing. You can keep your hair in twists, braids, or even under a natural wig.

What do some styles look like?
protective styles
How do you take care of your protective style?

Some basic items you need to wrap your hair at night are a satin bonnet and satin scarf. To moisturize your hair you can use the LOC method.
Liquid– mix water, a leave in conditioner, and a cream moisturizer in a spray bottle and spritz on hair daily
Oil– use any type of oil (castor, jojoba, coconut, etc.) to moisturize your scalp
Cream– use styling cream (Shea moisture is my preference!) to keep the scalp and hair soft and beautiful

Why should you try protective styling?

1) It gives your natural hair a much needed rest
2) Allows you to try out a totally new look
3) Wearing protective styles helps your hair grow and retain length

Don’t be scared to step outside of the box and try out a protective style. Look at images online and watch YouTube videos to get hair inspiration.

You can also ask other natural girls you know for advice on ones they tried out. Just go for it and rock your new hair!

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Mini-Twist Out Challenge Update

Sometimes when you challenge yourself to something it falls through. Well this challenge has fallen through for me. I got tired of wearing the same style all of the time. I am the type of person to switch things up from day to day. However, I am proud of myself for sticking with the challenge for a month. I loved wearing the twist because I did not have to do my hair every morning, but most importantly, my hair grew a lot. I was really happy to see my hair growth progress because that was the reason I started wearing twists.

I took my hair down last Saturday. I had to take my picture for a photoshop project I had for one of my classes. I really wanted my hair down and in a fro. It really did not help that the next day was Easter, and I did not want to wear the twists that day either. Since my hair was growing, I decided to take it down. The twist out left my hair really curly and pretty. I was amazed at how well my hair responded to the twists. The growth was evident in my fro as well.

When I started the challenge, my plan was to wash and re-twist my hair every three weeks. I stuck to the plan, so after the first three weeks I took my twists down and left my hair down for a day. I did this to prepare for my wash the next day. Here is the process of my wash day after three weeks of twists.

  • Co-wash with As I Am Coconut Co-wash. I decided to use this instead of regular shampoo because the co-wash helps me retain moisture better than the shampoo.
  • Condition with Aussie’s Moisturizing Conditioner. I just use this to help with detangling. I apply the conditioner to my hair, and then run my fingers through it.
  • Apply Leave-in Conditioner. I used Shea Moisture’s Leave-in Conditioner from the castor oil line. I really do not like the smell too much; I like what it does to my hair though. It leaves my hair really soft.
  • Twist hair into six sections. I do this to allow my hair to dry for an hour. I realized that if I twist my hair while it is slightly dry, they would be more elongated.
  • Apply Shea Butter and Black Jamaican Castor Oil mixture. This is what I use as I twist my hair. The mixture allows me to keep my hair very moisturized.
  • Twist the hair into mini twists.

After I did this process, I left the twists in for a week, and that is when I took them down. I have decided that I am going to finish the semester without the twists, in which I get out the beginning of May. I am going to wear the twists for a month to finish the challenge. I am not going to just give the challenge up.

Have you stuck with the challenge?

 

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Mini Twist Out Challenge

I have decided to start doing protective styling on my hair. I have been wearing my hair down a lot, so I am making sure I am retaining length. I will be doing mini twists for the next three months and re-twisting them every three to four weeks. I have also changed my hair regimen to accommodate this challenge. I am going to go through the steps to this challenge.

  1. Wash hair. I washed my hair using the As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner. I really like this product because it cleanses my hair just as well as shampoo, but does not strip my hair of its moisture. Even though it is a conditioner it serves the same purpose as shampoo, I also used Aussie’s Moisturizing Conditioner. I use this product to help soften my hair. I do not leave it in, because I have a leave-in conditioner that I use. This works well with whatever I use to cleanse my hair by adding moisture.
  2. Apply leave-in conditioner. I use Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner. This product really leaves my hair soft. It helps to prevent breakage and damages to my hair. I occasionally use Paul Mitchell’s Leave-in Conditioner, but I am using Shea Moisture for the mini twist-out challenge.
  3. Apply styling product. I made my own mixture for the mini twists. I mixed black Jamaican castor oil with shea butter. This was my first time making this mixture. I usually mix olive oil with the shea butter. I like the black Jamaican castor oil better. My hair is really soft. I have had the twists in my head for four days now and my hair is still very soft and moisturized. I have not had to apply anymore product, since I twisted my hair. I applied the mixture in sections, because I wanted to make sure each strand of the hair was covered. I made sure my ends were moisturized as well. I applied it to the big sections and re-applied as I twisted my hair. It left my twists soft and bouncy.
  4. Twist the hair. I have about fifty twists in my head. I divided my hair into eight sections. I took smaller sections within those eight in order to twist. I did two strand twists by wrapping two very small sections around each other.

I am loving the protective styling so far. I wrap my hair every night with a silk scarf. When I take it off in the mornings, my hair is perfectly fine and I do not have to do anything with them. When I was wearing my hair down, it dried out by the end of the day. The twists are really maintaining the moisture well. I am going to rub the mixture in the palm of my hand and apply it to my hair every week.

I encourage you to try this challenge. Have you ever challenged yourself to try something new in order to help the growth of your hair?

 

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Managing Type 4C Hair

Managing type 4c hair can be very difficult considering the coarseness of its texture, shrinkage, and undefined curl pattern. Learning how to deal with this type of hair takes time and patience. I have type 4c hair, and I have learned how to manage my hair, so here are some tips.

Moisture Keeping type 4c hair moisturized is very important. The hair is more prone to breakage because of its texture. Moisture should be applied daily. The easiest way to keep this type of hair moisturized is to spray it with a conditioner and water mix every morning. You can always find another way to moisturize daily. There are a lot of products out there that will help to keep the hair moisturized.

Styling The best way to style type 4c hair is to use protective styling. Protective styling helps to preserve and retain length. If you do not use protective styling, it will be easy for your ends to break off. Protective styling includes twist outs, braid outs, up-dos, etc. These styles may take a while to do, but keeping them in for two weeks is very beneficial. They allow for low manipulation, which increases the chance of length retention.

Detangling I have learned that the best way to detangle is by using my fingers. Combs and brushes tend to snap the ends of my hair. If you decide to use detangling tools, get a wide tooth comb and a soft bristle brush. Also, detangle while the hair is wet, because it will be easier to move through the hair. Detangling your hair in sections will be a great benefit, for the process will be easier to handle.

Products Make sure the products are alcohol and sulfate free. The alcohols cause dryness. Use products that are meant to add moisture to the hair. Always use a leave-in conditioner, which helps to protect the hair from damages.

Shrinkage Sometimes shrinkage can be very frustrating, especially if your hair is down your back but appears to be above your neck. Type 4c hair can shrink up to eighty percent or maybe even more. There are ways to elongate the hair. Twist outs and braid outs usually help to lengthen the hair. These hair styles also help with creating a definite curl pattern. Due to shrinkage, type 4c hair does not have much of a curl pattern. There is a pattern, but the coils are really tight. Wearing a fro and embracing the shrinkage is cool too, but remember to moisturize the fro in order to prevent breakage.

Managing type 4c hair can be tough, but it creates a very distinct look that helps individualize an individual. No matter how much time it takes to do my hair or how difficult it is to manage my hair, I have learned to embrace what I have. My type 4c hair is a part of my identity and individualized style.

Do you have type 4c hair? Do you feel as if it is the most difficult hair type to manage?

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Time Stops for No Fro

As a student, I’m always on the run, but one of my goals for this year is to make sure that even when in a rush, I dedicate myself to taking care of my body. So here’s to the one of the parts of my body, and likely yours, that needs some of the most TLC—the hair.

Between wash days, there are times when it seems like there is nothing we can do to care for our hair. With all the spritzing of water and slathering of products, it can seem like nothing will do the job but another wash day, thus comes the Baggy Method. After applying water (just enough to dampen and not to soak the hair) and the product or oil of your choice, place a shower cap or a plastic baggy over your head and just wait. Whether you’re eating dinner, working, or even sleeping, you can use this method to quench your hair with moisture and to reduce manipulation to it. Not only is this method great for home, but it can also be a great way to care for your hair on the go. As you leave your house, simply grab your baggy or shower cap, slip a small portion of hair out to make a flat twist or a bang, throw on a hat, and TA-DAH! You’ve just successfully multitasked, getting out of your house quickly and caring for your hair all in one swift move.

Not a fan of the baggy method? Or want something a bit more suitable for the winter months? Try looking for new methods to getting your hair detangled and styled quickly. For instance, vloggers like Naptural85 have great videos on quick detangling methods. As seen in Naptural’s 25 Minute Cowash + Detangle video, she provided a quick and easy way to get hair ready for styling without all the hassle of a dry detangle. Couple her method with a few chunky twists and a head wrap, and you cannot only get to bed earlier, but you can have a nice twist out ready for the next morning. As you get more comfortable with this method, you can begin to experiment on days when you are more free so that you optimize your time for future washdays. Just remember the more you do your hair, in simple or complex styles, the easier and quicker becomes the process of doing it.

Although, all days will not be perfect hair days, sometimes you can turn them into one. If you’re not finished with your hair, simply take the part that is not done and make a flat twist out of it, and then add on to the hairstyle over the course of the week and people will actually think you’re changing it up. When you want to take care of your hair, but don’t have the time to do a lot, try pushing your hair up into a bun, moisturizing the ends of your hair and tucking them into the bun for a fun protective style. By putting your hair into this style, not only do you create a quick style to go, but you also stretch your hair, which can be useful for setting yourself up for future looks.

So all this is to say, no worries, “everything little thing is going to be all right”… literally! By taking small steps to take care of your hair each day you ensure that big things like sleep and work get done too, and more so that your hair is knows you’ve got it’s back, or strands.

 

Good luck,

Kayla

 

photo credit: http://bit.ly/1tZK5S5

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And She Braids Too

High fashion powerhouse, Vogue, dropped an artful video featuring Lupita Nyong’o today, and just like every other time Queen Lupita does anything, the Internet went wild. This video didn’t feature Lupita performing a monologue or stunting on us with her fashion as usual, but it showed her engaging in one of her favorite hobbies: braiding hair. What can’t she do?!

In the short video titled “Braids,” Lupita tells us about how her aunt taught her to braid and twist, as she corn rows a friends hair on camera. All while looking fly, I might add. Her desire to learn the craft came from a disappointing visit to a braid shop in NYC while she was an undergraduate. Throughout the video she skillfully braids the hair of her six closest friends, and shares some of her views on braiding and hair with a subtle passion that is genuinely beautiful. In her eyes, braiding someone’s hair can be “intimate”. She saw it as her “side hustle” and a hobby that gave her the opportunity to connect with others. The short clip is a cute look into her life that adds to her enigmatic presence in pop culture, but also humanizes her, and makes her more relatable. As an African woman myself, it was great to see her doing something that so many women in my family do in their day to day lives. Hair braiding is a cultural symbol that is engrained in the community of black Americans and Africans throughout the Diaspora that has recently been co-opted by sources of high fashion media. As braids show up on runways and fashion spreads, they are becoming trendy, and people who are blind to elements of black culture have believed it to be a “new” hairstyle. In some ways this video helps take ownership back, all while embracing the art form of braiding and natural hair itself.

In cultures across the world, hair is a woman’s crowning glory. To me it’s a physical expression of oneself and identity. Natural hair, and the beauty of black women in general is often chastised and belittled in our society, and that’s one of the many reasons Lupita has been such a breath of fresh air. She is a different picture of “black womanhood”, and to many the physical manifestation of the black woman that is often forgotten in mainstream media. “Braids” is a simple but poignant embrace of the beauty of black hair, African culture, and Lupita herself. I loved it and I encourage you to watch it here!

photo credit: http://hiphollywood.com/2014/06/braided-up-lupita-nyongo-reveals-haircare-hobby/

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