It’s Springtime and my hair has bloomed and come out to play! No more winter-wearing-warm-hat-wiging! Low manipulation and length retention was been a priority and goal for the past few months, now I must get into a routine of styling my own hair once again. Now, since I have attained a new, longer length, I have more styling versatility. I will have to get use to maintenance again since it has been a while, but nonetheless, I am excited and ready to have fun with my tresses!! =D
A couple months ago, I started making a wig for my birthday, I used close to 4 bundles of Peruvian straight hair (18″ 20″ 22″ 24″) which I purchased from an Aliexpress vendor called Hot Hair. The quality and construction of this hair was not the best. I almost didn’t wear it for my birthday because I was very unhappy with it.
I also added a Peruvian straight silk based closure to the top for styling versatility.
The wig is made onto a breathable cap which I also purchased from Aliexpress.
These caps are by far my favorite for wigs because my scalp and hair can breathe underneath it. I’ve used mesh caps, and spandex caps before, and now I’ve finally made a wig on a breathable cap. It makes washing and moisturizing so much easier than any other cap. The main reason why I prefer this cap above any other is because I sew my wigs on. I do not like having to take on and off a wig every night at all, nor do I like it clipped onto my hair because it pulls and gives me headaches. I prefer low maintenance protective styles and therefore I sew my wigs on and take them off when it’s time for a change weeks to months later.
Currently, I am still rocking this wig and making the best of it. I will keep up with this low maintenance protective style until the weekend of May 10th which marks 3 years since my Big Chop!! I plan to finally straighten my natural hair (carefully), for the very first time then, to celebrate the occasion! =D
I didn’t want to make a long post this time, so the rest of the details on on my Peruvian straight Birthday hair can be found on my newest Youtube upload here.
It has been quite some time since I’ve last posted so I owe a major update to you guys today!
I know, I know… I’ll explain ^^^^^, but let’s backtrack and jog our memories for a little..
I sort of flunked my protective style challenge in October due to an interview..
Tried to make up for it by redoing my mini twists after and rocking my Allegra wig..
Allegra didn’t last for too long, I got bored of her quickly-in less than a week, so I exchanged her with my Peruvian curly Vanessa wig..
Rocked Vanessa for the first half of November..
Took down Vanessa and my twists for wash day Nov. 16th&17th..
**Length checked my hair** And it is noticeably longer by about an inch and a half!! =D Yay to LOW MANIPULATION!! It works!
Now that we are all caught up, here’s my protective style update today!
I installed loc extensions on Sunday and Monday earlier this week, November 17th and 18th. This was my third time doing loc extensions and it took me a lot less time than ever before. Over the course of these two days, the total amount of hours I spent doing my hair was in between 11 to 12 hours; as opposed to 3 whole days like the first time I did them. Whew! I’ve come a long way! lol
What I did this time around was pre-twist my own hair on Sunday as a preparation for the loc extensions. Then on Monday, I added the locs. This time, my locs were 10x lighter than the first time I did them. Because this time, I did not pre-twist my own hair with extension hair for length. the extra hair was what added the extra heaviness and bulk the first time around. I did not like that so much because it put a strain on my neck and on my hair from the roots. Heavy hair is not fun! Instead, I coiled the Marley hair around my hair and long strands of the Marley hair for length–added more when necessary. I must say, I am getting better with the trials and errors of doing locs and each time gets better and better. I am totally satisfied with the outcome this time and plan to keep these in until Christmas/New Years time to continue my Fall & Winter Protective style challenge.
This past weekend, I took out my sister loc extensions. Yes.. I survived a whole month!! *pats self on the back* Proud moment. =D Since my hair is currently in mini twists, which under my loc extension, I am going to challenge myself to leave them in until the end of this year! Yes!! That’s right!!! I know, I know, you think my twists will turn to dreads and knots and I’ll have to big chop again. Haha! I understand any concerns and this challenge will require attention and care for me to maintain these twists to prevent them from dreading. I personally do not believe that between now and December I will have dreads, so I am not worried, AT ALL. 🙂
Sister Locs – The Take Down
So this weekend, I washed the twists that were under the locs with my Kinky Curly Come Clean no-sulfate poo and conditioned it with Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Fortifying Conditioner. Taking out my loc extensions before “wash day” was a pretty quick job once I figured out the best way to uninstall them. At first, I would cut the ends and try to unravel them, but as I pulled on the strand it would tighten around my hair and I’d have to cut or loosen it by pulling at it. Then I found the fastest and easiest way soon after where I just pulled down the coil from the root and the Marley hair gathered and slipped off in a perfect coil. Since my hair was still very moisturized from Shea butter, the coils which were already sort of loose from long wear and manipulating styles just slipped off like butter. This removal technique was super easy and super fast. I am not sure if it will work again, but I would sure hope so!
Anyhow, before washing my hair, I wanted to pre-condition and also deep condition. Those two things did not happen. Unfortunately, I only washed and conditioned my hair as if it were a regular wash day. Such a lazy natural I am, sometimes. I suggest that after wearing a protective style for a month or more, one should pre-condition and especially deep condition their natural tresses to restore moisture and strength and combat dryness and fragility.
After washing, I air-dried my hair and while it was damp I did the LOC method to seal in water moisture. So here’s what I did: I don’t always use the LOC method in order, sometimes it’s LOC, LCO or even just LC. I still like the method as a guide and simple reminder of what you need to do to retain moisture in your hair. So I used three leave-in creams first [after Liquid which is water in this case]: Shea Moisture Balancing Conditioner, Curl Junkie’s Smoothing Lotion, and Eden Body Works’ Coconut Shea Leave-in. I squeezed out about a quarter-size of each, mixed them together in the palm of my hand, and applied all over my twists. Then I used coconut oil to seal in the moisture. Here are the results:
The next day, I realized that I had buildup of hair shed, dirt, and other elements near the root of my twists where the beginning of the loc extensions and my hair that was exposed met. I thought I had washed out everything when I washed my hair the first time, but apparently that was not the case. So as much as I didn’t want to, I had to untwisted and finger comb/detangle each twist and retwist them. This process took a long, long time—6 hours. <—-There went my Saturday night. -_- For this process, I sprayed my hair in sections as I went along with water. [It is better to detangle damp hair as opposed to dry hair to prevent breakage]. I also sprayed Lavish Curls Moisturizer from the Curl line at Target. That stuff gives my hair slip, so it was easier to remove the gunk with the combo of that and water. Then, I used raw Shea butter on each twist before retwisting it. This ensured that each twist was totally quenched.
In the end, this process was absolutely worth it and necessary to do so that I avoid any potential for my hair to dread!
Now I know for sure that dreads wont happen. And if I put loc extension back in before December is over, I will be sure to do this again!
Fall – Winter Protective Style Challenge
Now that the weather is getting colder, I am sending my hair into hibernation until next year, hopefully. Knowing that I have HIH [hand in hair syndrome] (lol) this is absolutely going to be a challenge. However, after changing up my hair so much and trying different styles for the past few months in the Spring an Summer time, I am feeling lazy and a little burned out from all the changes. So I am deciding to give it a rest for these two seasons and pick back up when my birthday comes around. Also, these mini twists are very small and it took time to put them in, and it will take time to take them out. I don’t want to have to take them out and then spend more time on trying to tame the beastly afro I will have let loose. That is another reason why I want to maintain these twists. Oh! and my biggest reason of all, is LENGTH RETENTION! I’ve hit a point in my natural hair journey where I feel like my hair growth has stunted or slowed down. More than likely, I’ve probably suffered a bit of breakage from high manipulation and also my eating habits are not the best so I am sure that contributed as well. Going from high manipulation to low or none is one of the best ways to retain length and prevent breakage [when done carefully and in a healthy way]. A combination of things, including drinking lots of water water, eating healthy and cutting out or reducing the intake of not-so-healthy things can also help with the strength of ones’ hair to reduce breakage. So I will make a more conscientious effort to take extra care of my hair for length retention throughout this fall and winter. Once, I make these things good habits, then they will become a normal part of my routine.
As far as styling goes, I plan to maintain these mini twists underneath my handmade wigs. I have two curly wigs that I made last week for the fall and winter. So I will wear one for a month (starting next weekend) and the other for a month. Then for January, I plan to make another wig for the new year. But I digress, January is pretty far away and my hair plans can change LOL so that plan isn’t quite solidified yet. Anyhow, this has been one long update, so thank you for taking the time to read it.
Yes!! Yessss!! Well, not quite, lol but that’s how I feel about my new do!! These are loc extensions below. I attempted to do Sister loc extensions and this was the outcome.
I challenged myself often when it comes to my own hair. I like to be creative and different and standing out with my looks. I have a strong sense of determination when it comes to trying new hairstyles. And when I set my mind on doing something, I get it done.
These Sister locs took the weekend to complete to entire process which includes washing and moisturizing my hair and pre-twisting it to prepare it for the locs. This is my second time doing loc extensions so I knew what to expect and how to prepare for them Here is what I used:
3 packs of Marley hair (I used 2.5)
..Yup, that’s it. That’s all I needed this time. Last time I did my loc extensions, they were long and very heavy and required about 8 packs of Marley hair. The difference between then and now is that I didn’t add Marley hair to my pre-twists.
So, here are the specs..
I used a color 27 Marley braid hair for each twist. Then, half way through, I discovered some bleach blonde kinky hair in my hair closet. I added some of those strands to twist the front for highlights. (I was super excited to find this because I didn’t think I had any left). It’s hard to find this color in beauty supply store nowadays. I’ve had this left over hair since high school days!
The ENTIRE process took the ENTIRE weekend. I took down my Havana Twists and washed my hair on Friday after getting caught in a downpour, which was quite fine because I was going to wash my hair that day anyway. I used Kinky Curly Come Clean to cleanse and Shea Moisture Deep Treatment to condition. I dried my hair in an old tee-shirt (to reduce frizziness/smooth hair cuticle and reduce chances of breakage). Then I moisturized my hair using the LOC method. LOC stands for liquid, oil, cream. This ensure that one seals in moisture within the strands of the hair.
Here’s my interpretation of the LOC method:
The liquid (L) is usually water (damp hair) and/or a leave-in conditioner (for those with thirsty hair)
My hair was damp and I added a combination of some of my favorite leave-ins: Shea Moisture Balancing Conditioner (technically not a leave-in) and Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion
The oil (O) is any essential oil of your choice
I used Jojoba oil, and Nubian Heritage Grow and Strengthening Serum
The cream (C) can be any butter like Shea or Mango butter (or even a leave-in cream for those with not-so-thirsty hair)
I used Shea butter as my sealant. She is more than enough for my thirsty hair. It keeps it soft.
But I digress,
After moisturizing, I two-strand twisted my hair into very small twists. This took 5 hours on Friday.
Saturday, I began the locs. (there are a lot of YouTube how-to’s on loc extensions if you need a visual on how to start them) I took a strand of Marley hair and split it in half. (A whole strand isn’t needed to coil and cover your hair, also more hair creates bulk and heaviness). I held a part of the Marley hair with my own hair and wrapped the other part of the hair around it tightly in a coil all the way to the ends which then I folded on itself after reaching the desired length. I wrapped it upward until it disappeared. I did it this way so I did not have to burn my ends nor dip it in hot water. I wanted to avoid that because my actual hair lied only a few inched beneath the locs and I wouldn’t want to miss and burn my hair with fire or hot water. Also, burning the hair makes the ends hard and it pulls on clothing or scratch the skin. I find that to be unpleasant.
I completed a little over half of my hair on Saturday. This took about 12 hours.
Sunday, I finished the remainder of my hair. This took about 2 hours.
In total, it took just under 20 hours to complete.
Given that these loc extensions are much smaller, it was a major challenge, especially because I did it on my own head. On Saturday, my pace became slower during the latter of the 12 hours because I was super tired. I ended up straining my shoulder with the constant repetitive movement of my arm while coiling the hair around mine. Also, my wrists and fingers are tight and sore. So, with the pain I went through for this and the time invested, I have no choice but to MAKE SURE that this style lasts me 6 weeks. No excuses.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the outcome of my sister loc extensions! They are short, small, and very light this time around. Any thoughts or questions you have about these, please comment below. 🙂
I will post more pictures later! Stay tuned!