So I kept my yarn braids on for about four weeks, I took them out because they kept coming apart.
So it took about an hour to take them all out. I simply had to un-wrap the first thread and unplait the second part of the braid. It was not painful and it didn’t require anything else. Just remember if you do yarn braids, be careful when installing around the edges and the front. If it’s too tight in can ruin your hairline and it will make it difficult to remove the yarn later on.
Maintaining them was easy really. Yarn absorb oils faster than normal hair so it is important to moisture your hair every day with a spritz bottle. This is better than applying the oil to prevent build up. You don’t want to have a gunk of oil on your head now do you.
I washed them once a week because they become extremely heavy with water. You really have to squeeze the heck out of them. And since I have dreads I had to ensure they dried fast. I usually sat in the sun for a while or I would take a walk and the yarn would dry after four hours at least.
“Going natural” some of us use the term so loosely, but as long as you know that we will all end up being different all in the same even if we choice natural hair; to keep our hair virgin. Virgin hair is what I called it before, but with popularity we are natural.
I personally am on a mission to go fully natural with all my cosmetics to be a true natural.
With regards to my hair journey, I’m still far from my ultimate goal of long, healthy hair, which I’d maintain with all natural homemade products.
When I was still young I’d gotten a relaxer by my mom but I can still say that I haven’t relaxed my hair a lot. I probably haven’t even passed 20 relaxers in my life time. And considering that most people I know get a touch up every 6 to 8 weeks, I haven’t experienced many relaxers sessions in those 12 years of on and off relaxers. I hadn’t ever liked the look of my hair relaxed. It was all silky smooth in those first two weeks when I’d stretch my washes to maintain the just relaxed look, but it would just end up fuzzy and just not my hair. I’d stopped getting relaxers between age 10 and 12 because my mom got sick and passed away. I used to also cut my hair a lot when young and do some s curls. My dad’s had a girlfriend around this time and her cousin would blow out my hair which was about shoulder length and sometime put rollers in my hair which I hated cause we’d sleep with them or have to suffer under a drier for ages.
By 14 I’d quit the relaxers, tonging and even braiding my hair at the salon. It was so painful to sleep and the burns hurt so much. I kept my hair in an afro mostly picking my hair with and afro comb every morning. This is really the first time I had actually looked after my own hair. I didn’t do much to it. I had only once attempted to plait my own hair at 11 and not again after.
In matric (grade 12) I’d gotten my last serious cut, I just wanted to trim a bit, like my sister had (relaxers through and through for her) but my dad went along and told the guy to cut my hair and while I protested the guy ended up snipping me to a few cm from my scalp, what is known as a TWA.
I wasn’t sure when this was exactly but winter period when we were on break before third term because I know by september I got my second half weave style for my matric dance (like a prom) which again lasted only 2 weeks and that’s the same as the first time for my dad’s wedding.
The next year in Oct on the 3rd was my last relaxer for an aunt’s wedding. Did it on my own with Organic Root Stimulator’s (ORS) relaxer which was the only brand that didn’t burn at all verses Ladine, Dark and Lovely and Revlon. (I hate Dark and Lovely in every way. It is and was never good to my hair). Even though I’d done my first relaxer on my own and managed to find a brand my hair agreed with, I still wasn’t feeling relaxers so much.
The next year I tried braids, and asked my sister to do them since she did her own all the time – take it from me, even if someone does their own hair doesn’t mean they are patient to do another’s.
I’d also experimented with hair dye. Once plum in high school on my fro (only visible in light) and again 2010. My sister used Inecto and suggested I go brown (my hair is very dark naturally) while she’d been using black. I did try this but hated it. She dissed me and said I looked hungry. If I was a picture taking person I’d have more to show. I let it fade away. I personally hate my hair being a visible hint of brown. I like my deep dark brown. I’m also dark skinned so it is better to stick to dark.
So skipping two years to April 2012, I found out I was pregnant. I’d been so strict to remove all kinds of products that I was using that may harm my growing baby. And I really stopped straightening my hair (with my then best friend Toni and Guy afro straightener) and stayed as I was. I’ve used a straightener three times since then for job interviews. I also realised I didn’t know how to plait. I then practised on my own head doing twists and braids.
January 2013 my baby was born (I’d gone with 4 braid plaits to the hospital) and had my c section. I took it out when I could sit up. I didn’t realise I’d have no energy to even maintain my hair then. I was so tired and busy (single parent) and my beautiful daughter took most of my time and attention.
I had extremely bad habits with my hair, not even the cream crack type. I had neglected my hair! In plaits! Just plaiting over and over. Not detangling. When June came I tried to comb out my hair. My mane was nice and fluffy but I lost a lot of hair combing my hair out and trying to manage without my usual batch of products (which my cousins finished, and while being unemployed).
I’d eventually discovered youtube videos for naturals and all it’s wonder and learned of flat twist outs. Loved them a lot. And still do.
I’d braided waist long braids on my own trying to do the invisible method with kanekalon braid hair (Brandi hair, purchased at Pep) and they didn’t last long. Had to redo the perimeter by braiding then twisting. Then took them off. First fail. Wore them mostly in high bun (learned how to do them from the frequent braid wearer in the family, Nedina). [Comments while wearing this: “are you growing out dreads? Reason: twisted roots ]
Then again (while working at Milky Lane as short order cook) I attempted yarn braids. I went to Chamdor in Edenvale and purchased a meter of satin in gray and three bundles or acrylic yarn in black. I committed another sin and plaited straight after my twists extensions (hiding face). It was already sectioned and I only kept them in for 3 weeks (looking out). I then went into braiding my hair with the yarn, using Jamaican Mango and Lime twist and loc gel purchased from Clicks in Carlton, which was the first place I think it was available, to my knowledge, but the following week was at Dischem Greenstone where I worked (mxm). While in the look many people did look close and obviously found that my soft haired roots were very different and concluded extensions (what can I say, I come by the strangest of people who touch my hair. Strangers touching my hair!)
But my results 5 weeks later were the worst. I had twisted my hair into sections then braided the yarn over that and it matted up bad and locd (burying self deep in ground)
I’m no expert obviously but I’ve learned from my failed attempts to twist out, braid my own hair and others but I’m doing my best to research all the important information before going knee deep in the flood of information pouring out of the internet lately. I will learn more techniques from tutorials and would rather be patient and practice before committing.
I have learned the invisible twist method and did some kinky twists on myself and have braided Juliet’s yarn braids (or rather assisted and taught her how to). I’m also doing better at getting my daughter’s hair done as a toddler.
Now here in 2015 I will be a more natural, virgin haired mommy growing both mine and my daughter’s hair long and healthy.
For anyone who reads remember to always learn from your mistakes. Healthy hair is something desired and achieved with good hair practices.
Thanks for reading
So I would like to share how I wash my dreads. I heard about the apple cider rinse when I still had an afro. I suffered from extremely itchy hair when I used to braid or plait my hair. Obviously it was because of pulling but I used to get small bumps on my scalp too. When I started using the apple cider rinse my hair hardly itched and the bumps only came around once in a while.
So now instead of rinsing my hair with apple cider afterwards, I scrub my hair before. Since I have dreads I really want to make sure it stays clean, especially since I style my hair a lot. I’m bad with measurements so I would have to put it this way: for example I was using a full cup of water to rinse my hair, I would fill the cup with ¼ apple cider and ¾ of water. Usually lukewarm.
I would use cotton to scrub my scalp to ensure the oils and dirty surface. It does not take too long to do this process. I just rub my hair with enough pressure to clean it.
I then pour the rest of the rinse over my hair to flush out the dirty. (if you want to rinse after washing then rinse with water afterwards to get rid of the smell)
I then use Marula shampoo to thoroughly wash my dreads. I shampoo my hair twice. The first time I massage my scalps and scratch with my nails to remove all the dirty from the rinse. The second time is really just to ensure its clean.
I then t-shirt dry my hair then squeeze it in section with my t-shirt to wring the water out. I let it air dry because I don’t want heat damage from a dryer.
You know those times you see a head full of gorgeous curls and she’s been on her natural journey for like 3 years and has the largest hair ever don’t you just feel the green monster in you of envy.
I do. I have tons of crushes but extremely hate my hair for not growing to a long enough length, to not bounce into amazing coils of ease around my head. We are so bad for blaming ourselves or our hair.
I’m turning a new leaf to love my hair the way it is, to treat it with constant care that I haven’t been giving it. I need to accept my hair as it is and to help improve it rather than my on and off as I’ve been doing recently.
In 2015 I’ll especially try to set hair goals. Not of length exactly but to follow a healthy hair care routine that suits my hair and my lifestyle. I haven’t been much for trimming and protective styles which I’ll be doing more of this coming year.
I will have a set of different hairstyles that catch my eye because they aren’t too costly and suitable for my personality (I’m a cheapie, so need to be careful especially with hair products and salons).
As a soon to be 25-year-old woman living in Johannesburg, one real busy city, it is actually so weird had I’ve never worn a weave in my adult stage of life. It’s such a norm, even the white girls in my sister’s primary wore extensions, it’s maybe just cause I’ve never been into that. I have all of a sudden gotten super obsessed with weaves as I’m planning my protective styles for the year.
Everywhere I go there is someone wearing a weave, usually a popular style, so a lot of people looking like bad weave clones. No weave hate just that cheap weaves look so tacky and I never wanted one because of this reason and the major itching. But after some research I’ve learned a lot of care for both synthetic and virgin hair.
I’m not one to spend a lot of money on hair things. The most expensive splurge was on my Toni and Guy Afro straightener which I’m no longer using but will if I make a straight wig. I spend a lot on my natural / sulphate / paraben free products now for such a small quantity but I’m not doing the overuse of products and will not share them except with my daughter who owns me, lol.
When I first saw the December catalog for Jumbo Cash and Carry I was stunned at all the brands and looks. I hardly ever see extensions advertised except for clicks and they mostly feature Frika! Collection and X-pressions which are still very limited and boring.
There are all kinds of products at Jumbo, as Edna told us, brands we wouldn’t find just anywhere. I’m so hoping I can go soon because I know I won’t be leaving empty handed because I can still always get food stuff.
I’ve got food allergies and as a result it’s necessary for me to avoid certain types of foods internally and externally. So all these nut oils naturalista loving, I have to avoid. I don’t have a full set of things that I’m allergic to as some are environmental.
I need to be careful of also learning if something reacts to my hair I need to eliminate all products (homemade and store bought) that I’ve just introduced to my hair, and bring one at a time back to seek the culprit.
But after some time I avoided whole new products. Just the occasional new thing or ‘replacement’ products is allowed when I run out of the good things.
So I lack option in a large number of easily resourced store bought items and just have to learn to find the best staples for mine and TT’s hair.
We both like:
extra virgin olive oil
extra virgin coconut oil
I really like to keep these in our basic hair regimen, it’s necessary our hair doesn’t get dry or tangle easily. During wash day especially each of these products are used to maintain our curls.
It took me the whole day to install yarn braids, mostly because I’ve never done it before.
So here’s how I did it:
I cut a piece of thread double the length I wanted it to be. This piece was wrapped around my dread at the very top twice over. It was then braided down to hold onto the dread.
I cut a two pieces the exact size I wanted the braid to be. I took these pieces and started winding them around my dreads from the point I stopped braiding all the way down to the end of the dread. (Note: If you want thicker yarn braids use more strands for this step)
I then tied the end of the braid and burned the end.
If you don’t wind the thread tightly, it will cause them to come loose.
At the end my hair looked like dreads. I did this style to lock my dreads rather than to pretend I have longer dreads than I have. Since my hair is very soft it has taken a while to get them all to lock.