Protective Styles

My self installed yarn twists

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So I plaited my own yarn twists, for the third time and if I do say so myself, they came out even better than last time.

My twists in 2013My yarn twists in 2013, were a thinner and shorter and took me about three days to put in.

I really wanted to do thicker and longer twists than the last time, but the thought of sitting for three days put me off. However, this time it took me less time, and I was pleased with the result.

My process

1. I bought a lot of wool, in the end I used about 8 rolls. I bought black and a bit of brown, so I could mix the two (looks more natural with my hair). Wool is easy to find and quite cheap, the wool sold in supermarkets is ideal for yarn braids. Other tools needed are a pair of scissors, lighter (and candle, I just find that easier) and a lot of patience.

I washed my hair, conditioned it, made sure to use protein as I always do before I put in a protective style. I then separated my hair into smaller sections of front sides, back sides, back centre, middle and fringe front.

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Sectioning

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Started from the back

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When tired…


    2. Had to section the wool too, into the length I wanted, which is another tedious      process. To plait one braid, I had 20 length pieces of wool, which I would then        bend in half to plait. With installing on to the hair, I started off with a three strand  braid ( I haven’t mastered doing the twist right from the scalp yet, although this  looks more natural).

 I twisted starting from the back, then sides, front and finished off with the middle.  When I got tired or needed to go out during this two day process, I used a scarf to cover the front.

 

 

 

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Still left with the middle at this stage

 

3. For the ends, I’d burn them using a candle.

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Done!

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This is after about 3 weeks



I kept them in for about 4 weeks, although I would have kept them for 6 if my strands would just stay put.
I washed them twice, although I was worried about my hair locing when it shrunk in the twists, thankfully it wasn’t a hassle at all to undo.

 

 

Categories: My hair, Protective Styles, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Crochet Braids

I’m always on the lookout for new protective styles, as I usually have a protective style about 90% of the year.

Recently I’ve been thinking of getting crochet braids done. I’ve thought of doing them on my own, but I’m not great at plaiting cornrows on my head, let alone crocheting pieces of hair into them. So I’ve decided to search for hairdressers in Harare who do it, I heard that there are a few.

What is crochet braiding?
A crochet needle is used to weave packaged, usually synthetic, hair into natural hair that has been French braided or braided into corn rows. Crochet braids, despite the name, are actually closer to sew in weaves than actual braids.

What is the difference with sew-in weaving?
Sew-in weaves are hair extensions sewn into tracks, placing more tension on the hair. Crochet braids use crochet needles (latch hooks) to loop bulk pieces of hair extension onto cornrows.

Advantages
• Low cost and low maintenance way to protect hair
• Give better access to the scalp than other protective styles, such as sew-in weaves
• Don’t require hair glue or caps, making them easier on the scalp
• Place less stress on edges
• Look very natural, especially with natural looking extensions

Here are a few pics:

crochet braids 5 crochet crochet braids crochet braids 4 crochet 2 crochet braids 1 crochet braids 2 crocet cro crochet braids 3

All images can be found on the Tumblr page.

Categories: Hairspiration, Protective Styles | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

The pros and cons of using yarn/wool in hair

2013-08-16-2077_2I haven’t seen many Zimbabwean women with yarn braids/twists etc but I have with women of other African nationalities, especially West and Central African ladies. I absolutely love them, although it’s only my second time getting them. So I decided to list the pros and cons of using yarn as a protective style:

PROS:

  1. Look like dreadlocks after a few weeks, so are more natural looking
  2. There’s room to be very creative and fun with the range of different colours acrylic yarn comes in
  3. Is gentler on hair than extensions and is lighter causing less stress to hair strands
  4. Able to keep moisture in longer than hair extension
  5. Hair can be washed, deep conditioned and treated in yarn twists/braids. In fact, washing makes the twists softer
  6. Inexpensive and yarn is easily accessible. One roll of wool in Bon Marche in Harare costs $1 of which I used three
  7. Is a protective style that can last weeks and even months if taken care of properly, but beware of hair actually locking

CONS:

  1. Can smell of mildew if not washed
  2. They easily collect lint, but this can be prevented by washing them, using a satin scarf or pillowcase at night and not using heavy cream or butter products in the hair. It’s better to use liquid based moisturisers
  3. They are heavy when wet

I haven’t had many problems with my yarn twists. Issues I had with box braids such as dry scalp, itchy scalp and scalp pain are non existent. I will review when I undo my yarn twists, but so far so good.

 

Categories: Hair tips, Protective Styles, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Yarn Twist Process

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This was my second attempt at yarn twists and they came out much prettier than my first attempt twists. It was my second time plaiting my hair in braids instead of getting someone else to do it too. The first time, was a lot messier because I got impatient and I was just inexperienced at doing my own hair. THe second time is much neater although I had cramps everywhere, fingers, wrists, neck, shoulders, bum, knees, you name it. It took me a whole weekend and three rolls of acrylic wool (which ended up being a little less than I actually needed).

Yarn twists/braids are basically just box braids/twists using acrylic wool instead of hair extensions.

My process of putting them in was as follows:

  • I detangled, washed, conditioned with a protein conditioner, then a moisturising conditioner and air dried my hair in braids to stretch my hair
  • Sectioned my hair into 8 manageable parts and cut strings of yarn. I wanted just a few inches longer than shoulder length twists, so I cut the wool strings quite long, about double my mid back length
  • Using my fingers (and tail comb sometimes), I made parts about 0.5inches in length and width
  • Taking four pieces of wool, I bent them in the middle to have 8 pieces then plaited the 0.5inch part rooting it by braiding a few centimetres then twisting the rest
  • When twisting, since my twists would unravel, I would twist each individual piece against itself then twist the parts around each other. I do this when I twist my own natural hair too or else the twist won’t stay put
  • I plaited from the back, my edges, then finished with the middle of my head
  • For the ends I got help to cut them straight, then using a lighter and a candle I burnt the ends

Tips for yarn twists / braids

  • Make sure you use 100% acrylic yarn and not just any wool. In Zimbabwe, most of the yarn found in the supermarkets is acrylic. Here it’s just called acrylic wool and will usually state if it’s 100%
  • Try to match the colour of your hair to the yarn to make it look natural, you can experiment and have fun with lots of other colours too
  • Keep them moisturised. I have been doing the same process of moisturising as when my hair is out.
  • Keep them clean by washing as usual, although yarn is heavy when wet
  • Make sure you continue using a satin scarf/bonet or pillowcase as usual.
Categories: Hair tips, My hair, Protective Styles, Uncategorized, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yarn Twists / Yarn Braids / Yarn Wraps / Yarn Locs / Genie Locs Hairspiration Part 2

Some more yarn inspiration for hair:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Categories: Hairspiration, Protective Styles | 1 Comment

Box Braid Takedown

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Source: Tumblr

 

Undoing extension box braids can be incredibly arduous and tiring, if you’re undoing your own hair. When it comes to box braids, I usually undo my own hair without anyone else helping. This needs a relaxed state of mind on my part and a free day, so my patience is not tested and I end up with damaged hair.

 

The takedown stage of box braids is a crucial stage of trying to make sure that the hair growth attained is retained and that no damage is done to the hair that was being protected.

 

This is what I do when I’m undoing my extension box braids:

  • Get a free day, a few good movies, some pillows and cushions to be as relaxed as possible
  • Spray my braids and my own hair with a  detangling mix spritz until my hair is damp  – I use about a fifth aloe vera juice, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil/coconut oil, about a quarter light conditioner and the rest water
  • Then depending on the length of the braids, I cut of the ends about 3 inches below where my hair is, then undo the braids using my hands to unravel and pull off the braid when it’s loose enough.
  • With each extension braid off, I make sure I detangle the ‘box’ part of my hair, remove whatever buildup is in the hair. DON’T just pull out a knot, make sure the section is undid, using more oil and the spritz if necessary. (THIS STAGE IS KEY! )
  • Undo all the box braids, putting all the undone parts in larger twisted sections
  • Just go steady at a leisurely relaxed pace until it is all undone
  • Do note that you will likely have a lot of shed hair, it’s the perks that come with having hair in a protected style for a while.

There isn’t much to it, just PATIENCE and MAKING SURE TO DETANGLE PROPERLY.

After undoing my hair, I usually detangle again in the bigger sections, then wash my hair, condition my hair with a protein conditioner and a moisturising treatment. Then figure out how I’ll style my hair.

Honestly, I prefer undoing my hair to getting my hair done though. The excitement of seeing my hair after a few weeks and new hair growth does the trick.

Categories: Hair tips, Protective Styles | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Hair Journal: Update

So I got a new pet crocodile, Pookie, but will have to return him to the crocodile farm after a few months to avoid accidents.

Pookie and me

Pookie and me

 This past month I’ve had box twists in my hair and I had new box braids/twists issues that came up. I truly wish hair issues would be non-existent but alas. I braided my hair for winter, since our winters although not very cold, are very dry and windy. So to protect my strands, I got box twists. Now this time, the box braid/twist experience was not as smooth as last time.

My box twists...

My box twists…

The last time I had waist length box braids that I kept in for about six weeks, this time, I had my hair done in past shoulder box twists with extensions called Afro Kinky for the same length of time.

 

 The last time I had issues with scalp pain from tight updos and itchy scalp which were solved quickly. This time, I had to battle a dry scalp almost daily, but it was not itchy. My hair in general was just really dry and it didn’t help that I didn’t moisturise my hair as often as I should have. Box extensions tend to make me feel lazy with my hair, but I do fight it… I undid a few braids on my crown to redo them, to find that I had a lot of split ends, which just made me so sad. What is the point of protective styling if the ‘protection’ seems to cause more harm?

 

I’m left with about a week, then I will undo my twists. I’m seriously praying that the split ends aren’t widespread on my head, that will just make me cry.

 

I suspect that along with the harsh dry weather, the extensions I used for my fine, fragile strands could have been the reason for the damage. I had my twists done at the salon, and the extensions they recommended were the Afro Kinky ones which are apparently easier to twist with. Personally I really liked the name (considering I love all things natural hair and kinky coily) and loved the fact that they looked more natural. The texture of these extensions however, is quite brittle and wiry. I believe the extensions rubbing my hair, could have caused split ends and exacerbated the dryness.

 

So I learnt a very big lesson for the future: it’s not just about how you install and take care of your protective style, if extensions are being used, choosing the right ones is also highly important.

 

I’ll have a better view of the state of my hair when I undo it next week, right now, I’m just praying all is well.

Categories: My hair, Protective Styles | Tags: | 1 Comment

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