Protective Styles: 004

In my mind, this style was going to be two really high, braided poofs (you all know, I love me some poofs). However, anyone who has a child knows that “plans” do not always, or hardly ever, go accordingly when toddlers are involved. As soon as the comb hit the hair, little miss made it very clear that she was not having it. 

Mom-3, Makenzie- approx. 10,000.

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I did a co-wash with Mielle Organics detangling co-wash and it is amazing. It smells so good and, while I roll my eyes when I see the word “detangling” on a bottle, this product really does live up to the name. If you are a woman who grew up as a child with curly/kinky/coily hair and had multiple, unfortunate experiences with combs breaking in your hair then you understand my disbelief of a product that claims to be a detangler. This, however, is not your average product. Even the rat tail come slid through those curls like butter. BUTTER. You know what I mean.

Side Note: I mean, look at those curls and that color!

Anyways, after I realized that little miss wasn’t going to give me the time of day, I decided to do two bantu-knots on top and two-strand twists in the back that could stay in for a few days and would then give her some pretty texture in the back after I untwisted them.

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I brushed the hair up to see exactly where I wanted the knots to go….

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….then I made my parts.

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The entire back side of her head was twisted into two-strand twists while the front was cornrowed in small sections and twisted into a bantu-knot.

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And there you have it, folks! Simple and sweet.

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Protective Styling:002

This, my friends, is one of those 3-hour hair styles I mentioned in a previous post. I have to be in an especially good/all-together focused mood to get this kind of style done.

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These particular photos are from Mothers’ Day weekend and, as moms tend to do (put their kids first.duh), I decided that little miss Makenzie Alice need to look extra extra pretty for my special day.

As I have mentioned before, braids just look better and prettier if they are done on clean, wet hair. I washed, deep conditioned, moisturized and oiled her hair down before I started braiding.

It probably stems from the fact that I, myself, am “tender headed” in the middle of my scalp but I almost always leave the middle of the head for last if I can help it. For this design, that is exactly what I did.

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I parted her entire head into four sections with my parts going from ear to ear. I wanted to be able to see a bantu knot in every section of the hair that was braided down no matter what angle you looked at her so I staggered the bantu knots to achieve that look. I didn’t want there to be “gaps” in the style because of the cornrows.

Once I figured out where I wanted all of the knots to be placed, I parted the four sections accordingly and cornrowed her hair from root to end. You can see in the picture that the knots are made up of braids–not loose hair. That is so all of her hair would be in a “protective” style and I wouldn’t have to comb and re-do the knots every morning.

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I left this style in for a week. Once I took the braids out, baby girl had this amazing braid-out (excuse the very literal, unimaginative style name) so I put her hair into two ponytails and let her rock that for a couple of days. I would still consider this part of the protective style since I didn’t comb her hair to achieve the look (this would have taken the curl pattern away).

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Just look at those beautiful poofs!

Protective Styling: 001

Any parent that is dealing with a young child with naturally curly hair knows (or should know the importance of a consistent hair regimen). Side note: Why is it that people of color– African-Americans, Afro-Latinas, etc.– feel the need to call their hair “natural”? I have never once heard a white girl with super curly hair say that her hair is “natural”. It grows out of her head like that and that’s it. End of story. I do not want to harp on black empowerment issues because that is not what my blog is about (although I have many, many strong opinions on the matter) but the focus of my blog doesn’t change the fact that I am an Afro-Latina with two young children who will inherit all of the pre-conceived notions of their race.

Anyways–back to the topic at hand: Protective Styling!

One of the huge tricks to maintaining length in our hair is through minimal manipulation. The obvious example is dreadlocks. There is no magic voodoo in dreads that make them grow down someone’s back. It is that dreads require minimal manipulation. There is no combing, no heat, and in that environment, our hair grows.

I’m not dreading Makenzie’s hair but I do try to keep a comb out of her head at all times except for once a week (look here to see her weekly routine). In order for me to avoid combing her hair, I usually keep it braided and since her hair is braided so much, I try to keep it interesting and fresh by trying out new designs and styles.

Here is one of my favorites because it’s quick and easy (about 30 mins in comparison to some of the styles that take up to 3 hours). Cornrows into two “puffs”.

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I find that it is much easier to get clean looking braids if the hair is towel dried (but still wet) and saturated with your choice of moisturizer & oil. This time around I used Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Styling Lotion which is very heavy and great on hair that is very dry and is naturally in need of a heavy moisturizer. I also used Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Hair Oil which comes in a spray bottle and is great to seal in moisture after braiding without having to actually touch the hair and scalp. These two products work great together and can be found at any beauty supply store, Walgreens, or Target.

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