Thursday, July 14, 2011

See Ya Later!

Syd and I are heading off on a new adventure. We'll be in Guatemala and our days will be spent on construction projects, medical clinics, and loving on all the people down there.

Any emails you send in the next 2 weeks won't receive an immediate response, but I'll be sure to get back with everyone just as soon as possible.

I can't wait to come back and tell you all about our experiences!


Return of the Box Braids

Syd's box braids are back! Tomorrow morning we will be leaving on a 9 day missions trip to Guatemala and we needed a style that will hold up while we're gone. I thought about doing mini twists, but Syd offered some input. She said that twists are a lot hotter on her head than braids because they don't keep the part lines as exposed as braids do. She said she can feel the breeze on her scalp when she wears braids so her head doesn't feel as hot. Since we'll be without air conditioning in an area where the temps will be in the upper 90's every day, I figured I had better do what I can to keep her as cool and comfy as possible. Enter box braids.

I aplogize for the poor quality of some of these photos. My camera is already packed so I just used my phone.

The other night, Syd washed her hair. I added some Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk, thoroughly detangled, and banded her hair overnight. The next morning, we started with her hair looking like this.

I started in the back, using crescent shaped parts. I wasn't at all concerned with making the parts looked perfect because I figure her hair will probably be up for most of the time we're gone and her part lines will rarely be visible. I added just a bit of my shea butter-coconut oil-jojoba oil-vitamin E oil mixture to each section and then braided it until I was an inch or so from the end. Here's what the first dozen looked like.

After I finished around 30 braids, we had to go run a few errands, so I had to find a way to make her hair look decent. We went from this:
to this:

Unless you look closely, you'd never be able to tell there are over 30 braids hiding in the middle of these banded pigtails. The look is a little juvenile for an 11 year old, but it did hide the half-done hair and Syd really isn't too concerned with what others might think.

We did another 20 or so braids that evening. I spent about 3 total hours the first day and ended up with 58 braids. We re-banded the hair that was still out and she went to bed.

I finished her braids the next day. When I got to the top I made a small side part, but again I wasn't too worried about what the parts looked like. The sections aren't all shaped alike, but the braids are about the same size. Here's what the top looks like:

Since the hair was dry when it was braided and the ends were left free, the braids were fluffy at the end. I dipped the ends in some water and added just a little Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. This made the ends curl up and give the style a more finished look. In all, I spent just under 7 hours braiding and we have 128 braids.

As a fun little bonus, check out this picture of Syd and her cousins. This was what she did while I took a short break from braiding. Her french braids are really starting to look good!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Doing It Herself

After Syd's last style came down, I decided to let her try doing a style on her own from beginning to end. I was right there with her for every step of the way, of course. We took down each section of the old style one at a time, and she braided each section about halfway down before moving on to the next section. By the time she finished, there were 8 sections of hair that were partially braided.

She washed her hair while it was in these braids. I made sure to stress the importance of extra rinsing to get all the shampoo out of the braids. She did a great job...there was no shampoo hiding in any of the braids.

Then we unbraided one section at a time, added some Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk, and detangled.

Each section was then divided into 4 smaller sections, and each of those smaller sections was put into basic 2 strand twists.

I did help with the sectioning of the hair so that the twists would be approximately the same size. I also did a lot of the twisting in the back where Syd couldn't see what she was doing. But Syd did the twisting everywhere else. She did a great job taking her time and making sure the twists were done tightly.

The roots were fuzzier than when I do her hair, and the twists became fuzzy all over after only a couple of days, but she will improve with time. Overall, she did a wonderful job for her first attempt at styling solo. Well....almost solo. :)

One important lesson I stressed through this process was the art of keeping hair as tangle-free as possible when moving from one style to another. It just makes for a faster and much easier styling session.

Syd has also been learning to cornrow on my head. One of these days I'll post a picture of my own hair after a practice session. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fun Pairs of Pictures

The very back of Syd's hair experienced some pretty significant breakage a few years ago when it was pulled into a tight ponytail with a not-so-ouchless band. It seemed that it was taking FOREVER to grow back out.
Then I stretched out one of those curls and realized that maybe it has grown more than I thought. It's still not as long as the rest of her hair, but it isn't near as short as the shrinkage would have me believe. The back of her hair shrinks way more than the rest.

You'd think I wouldn't be fooled by shrinkage after 11 years of looking at this head of hair. Think again. LOL!

The following picture of Syd has always reminded me of something. I felt like I must have another shot of her doing the same pose, but I couldn't find another picture like it.

Then it hit me....

Ok, so I know they're not identical, but this is why the picture of Syd seemed so familiar. I used to LOVE Whitney!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Y-Shaped Cornrows into a Ponytail of Twists

This style was done really quickly because it was prepped the night before. Here's how it went:

Syd washed her hair one evening after swimming. When she got out of the shower, I parted her hair into sections, added Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk, and detangled each section. The time saver was parting her hair into the sections it would need to be in for the styling session the next morning. Once each section was detangled, I banded it and moved on to the next.

The following morning, I sat down to begin styling. And that's when I remembered to take a picture. LOL!

I was able to remove the ouchless bands, add a little more Curl and Style Milk, and immediately begin braiding one section at a time.

The back four sections were braided straight toward the center of her head, where all the parts intersect.

After these four cornrows were finished, I still had four sections in the front. I wanted to do something to add a bit of interest to the style, so I decided to make Y-shaped cornrows for these front sections. I began by splitting the triangle shaped section into 3 parts like this:

I cornrowed each of the two thinner sections, then combined them and used the third section to complete the Y shape.

I repeated that process on the three remaining sections.

Once the cornrows were finished, I pulled them all into a ponytail. You can see in the picture above that there was just a bit of each braid at the base of the ponytail. I unraveled each braid one at a time and used the three sections of the braid to make three 2 strand twists. Less than an hour of styling and we were done.

A few days later, Syd's twists became a twist out. Her love for big hair is just unstoppable. Unfortunately, she played in the water again and that was the end of the twist out. I didn't get a picture of the twist out, but I did re-twist the ponytail to save the style. Knowing Syd, I'm sure there will be another twist out in the days to come.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Down and Out with Kinky Curly Products

After Syd had her hair in box braids for 2 1/2 weeks, she was ready for a few days of big hair. I'm a huge fan of her huge hair, so I was more than happy to oblige.

After the box braids were removed, Syd washed her hair. I wish I could tell you what kind of shampoo was used, but there is more than one open bottle of shampoo in the shower right now and I didn't think to ask her which one she had used.

While her hair was still soaking wet, we applied a pretty generous amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today and detangled her hair. This didn't take long at all because her hair had just come out of the box braids and it hadn't had much time to tangle up.

After this, I took a small-ish section of her hair and applied Kinky Curly Curling Custard to that section. I then defined each curl by smoothing it from root to tip using the tightly curly method. When I had finished that section, I grabbed another section and repeated the process, continuing until all of her hair was done. When using Kinky Curly products with Syd's hair type, the hair should be soaking wet. So if a section of hair was starting to dry before I got to it, I just wet it again with a spray bottle of plain water.

This is what her curls looked like just after we finished.

Here's what it looked like after drying for a few hours.

And a few hours after that, it was time for bed. Unfortunately, Syd's hair is so thick that it STILL wasn't dry all the way through. I didn't want to cover up her curls with a scarf or bonnet before they were dry, and I certainly didn't want her to sleep with free hair that was still damp. So my solution was to split her hair in half and put it in low, loose pigtails. I gently banded each side with only a few ouchless bands. This kept her hair from tangling and exposed the middle of her hair so it could finish drying.

She slept on a satin pillowcase that night and when she woke up, her hair was dry. We removed the bands and very gently fluffed her hair to make sure the center part disappeared. 

We ended up banding her hair like that for 3 nights in a row because it was a pretty effective way to protect her curls while she slept. The hair probably would have looked good for a couple more days, but Syd played in the water, which meant the end of the style. :)

Oh...and here's a shot of her with her homemade hair accessory. She makes these with duct tape and plain headbands. I'll make a post about these in the next week. Super easy, creative, and fun!


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