Hair, Protective Styles

How I Got My Braids (Pt. 3)

So we’ve got Part 1 and Part 2 down and here we are starting to braid. I think a lot of the things I did before I started this healthy hair journey were just habit, bad habits at that. So getting ready for braids took no time at all in the old days. Now everything will be planned and there will be thought put into every step. Healthy hair is like having a house plant, you need to help it live. Don’t be the person with the dead orchid on your windowsill.

Preparing for braiding

The next part of my mission took me 2 hours.  Two hours I’ll never get back and possibly the start of all my later issues. This was where I pre-sectioned all of the synthetic hair ready to braid so I wouldn’t need to take a break once I started. Someone please tell me why I felt the need to prep 12 packs of hair. I think I just got carried away with myself. I had that thought in my head that the packs are getting smaller and smaller every year but 12 packs (5 purple, 5 blue and 2 black) is just too much.

There were over 200 twists in my hair that were being converted into braids but I obviously could have done thinner braids. Note to self, if you can’t carry all the packs of hair under one arm, you have too many packs of hair! Speaking of the hair, hopefully you can see in the picture to the right, the difference in texture of the hair. However, the Pinkle hair was so ridiculously soft, I can’t even. The blue not so much as it definitely felt rougher to the touch. I do think this was due to my ACV rinse/ attempt at washing the hair.

I’m jumping ahead a step but will let you in on a secret, I love how the finished hair looked. I’ll let you in on another secret. That s**t is heavy! A pack of hair is between 80 and 100g which means the hair I’ve added to my scalp is anywhere from 960g to 1200g (around 2 to 2.5lbs). That’d be like wearing a big bag of sugar on your head at all times!

At this point, I’d spent almost 8 hours on my hair – washing, twisting, prepping and I haven’t done a single braid! I normally take a more haphazard just-get-on-with-it kind of approach which is much faster than this. I also don’t decide to normally put enough hair on my head for 2 to 3 people!

Time to braid!

Yay!

I earmarked 3 evenings after work to put my hair in, yea, that was ambitious.

I would love to explain my braiding technique, or how I grip my roots but honestly, I think technique is overstretching how I do it! But another time perhaps. In the meantime, get yourself onto YouTube for some inspiration and education. I have two ways of completing my hair, either braiding each plait to the end as they go in, or plaiting just past my natural hair and leaving the ends out until my whole head has been installed. Then have a braidathon to get it all finished. The latter was the method of choice this time and it soon became evident how thick this install was going to be and I got scared but persevered.

The picture to the left was at the end of night one. That to me, in retrospect looks thick enough for my whole head but as you can see from the other pics the volume increased…exponentially.

You can tell I wasn’t impressed by the last picture. Getting the hair in had taken about 11 hours. I know I’m slow and I know it is harder to do your own head but my gosh, that was a slog! The main reason for this speed or lack thereof was doing my hair after a full day at work, this meant I didn’t start until about 7.30pm each day. But the main obstacle was how much the blue hair tangled. I literally couldn’t believe it. Compared to the Pirkle hair, it was like drinking water versus drinking treacle. I don’t know if the ACV wash I did mainly on the blue hair damaged it or if the blue was of inferior quality, starting more tangled.

I don’t know but the whole thing almost killed me. I’d navigated 2 days at work hiding the mass of hair that was “growing” out of my head. I awoke on Saturday morning ready to get this thing finished and I did, just before bed. One whole day of intense braiding and mothering (I suppose I had to look after the kids too) DONE! Luckily braiding it down reduced the bulk otherwise I would be in the middle of a disaster. My shoulders were sore, my bum was sore, my fingers were sore, my back was sore…ok you get it! And then SHE was done!

Have you ever put a colour in your hair and thought whoa??!!!

Trimming and sealing

There’s always that one braid that somehow, against all odds, is longer than the rest. It must be trimmed. I like to let my braids do their thing, I trim off the straggliest of ends just to neaten up the overall look Some people like the way the ends fray a little, I happen to be one of them. Although I thought I would give sealing a go. It is possibly the easiest step in the process. Place your hair into some hot water for 30 seconds to a minute. That’s it.

You do have to be very careful when pulling your hair out of the hot water so you don’t scald yourself because that would be bad…and an unfair price to pay for great hair. And yes I am feeling myself right now, I mean, look at my jugs!  Obviously, Kanekalon/synthetic hair takes on whatever shape it is in when in hot water. That’s why it’s great for curling.

This also means that if the hair is all crushed up at the bottom of the jug, then it will come out all crushed up. If it’s in rollers when it goes into the jug, it comes out beautifully curled. Which scenario do you think fits here? Well I liked how it looked when it came out the jug. It softened up the blunt edge of the trim I did. Happy accidents are the best.

Now do not get me wrong, I take pride in my work but I don’t feel the need to spend another few hours trimming off the stray hairs that didn’t make it into the braid. It makes you’re hair look perfectly neat but nothing about me is perfect. Life is too short and by this point, I had sort of had it with my hair. I just wanted to be free and do something else. I mean I was almost 30 hours in.

The clean up

Synthetic hair sheds like a…anyway, you will be finding hairs in places you couldn’t imagine, in places you haven’t been for days, if not weeks after you’re done. At least with my hair being blue and Prinkle, the hairs stand out like a polar bear in the jungle.

And that’s the braids installed but that’s not the end, check out Part 4. And to start at the beginning, head to parts 1 and 2 too!

Let’s keep braiding together!

xx Lee xx

While you’re here why not subscribe or check out my 30 days 30 styles challenge with this hair on Instagram!

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How I Got My Braids (Pt. 2)

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How I Got My Braids (Pt. 4)

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