This month I have mostly been... (and braid maintenance)

BRIEF INTRO: I keep getting told off for not posting enough pictures. Well, for not posting enough full stop. But people seem to want to see pictures mostly. So I've decided to do a series at the end of each month called "This month I have mostly been...", summing up how I've worn my hair for the past month. I really don't do enough interesting things to my hair to warrant more frequent posts than that on the subject (as I am extremely challenged when it comes to experimenting with styles) but I'll try and make up for that by posting lots of pictures. Happy?

So, this month I have mostly been, well, in braids as you all know. Which I guess has been a good thing, as I started the year off in this:

Snow, although beautiful, is NOT a kink's best friend!

But I can tell you, it has been a real challenge. I never start to miss my hair more than when I have put it in a protective style. Then I start coming across all these new products I want to try and all these interesting hairdos I think I will somehow be able to manage (not sure who I am kidding), and getting extremely jealous when I see other people's 'fros. Also, braids really don't make for a very exciting picture post.

However there is no point in having a protective style if you put your hair through the manipulation of getting it done, but don't leave it in long enough to reap the benefits. So I am going to try and keep them in for another 2 or 3 weeks. Yikes.

I have been maintaining by spraying daily with a mixture of bottled water and vegetable glycerin before I get in the shower (sometimes I add leave-in conditioner to the mix), and every couple of days, I seal with a mixture of Shea Butter and Castor and Grapeseed Oils (I melt the Shea, whip some Castor and Grapeseed Oils in, and then leave it to harden again. I have started using this as a regular sealant when my hair is loose. Shea and Castor because they are nice and heavy, and Grapeseed because it promotes shine. But I'll talk more about my updated regimen when I finally take these darned braids out).

I’ve washed every week. On week one I cowashed with Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner, applied some leave-in conditioner, and then sealed with the Shea/Castor/Grapeseed mix. I do this for the entire length of the braid to where my hair ends (my braids are done one inch past the ends of my hair and then knotted). On week two, I used a mixture of Dr Bronners Peppermint (only because it was the one I had open at the time. I don't have a preference for this over the other flavours), jojoba oil, water (I always dilute the Dr Bronners soaps as they can be quite stripping) plus some lemon juice to bring down the pH level as castille soaps have an alkaline pH. (I will talk more about hair and pH in the Kinky Hair 101 series, but the short version is hair- and skin- are acidic in nature, so using products with a lower pH can affect their condition, and appearance, and help prevent unnecessary damage). I don't really measure the amounts, but thinking back the ratio of castile soap to water is about 1:7. That stuff really lathers up and you don't need much of it. I pour in a few drops of oil and then squeeze the juice of about half to one lemon. I shake vigorously (in my spray bottle) and then I am good to go.

Roughly the amount of soap mixture I use every wash

I spray the mixture directly on to my scalp, concentrating on getting that clean, and then I allow the run-off of the soap mixture to cleanse my braids as I rinse. (As an aside, I know this goes without saying but if you have just one spray bottle and want to use it for both your shampoo mixture and your leave-in mixture, please make sure you wash it out properly so you are not spraying shampoo on to your hair on a daily basis when trying to moisturise). I then follow up by cowashing my braids, again with Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner, and then using a leave-in conditioner, and sealing as before.

I've alternated between cowashing, and this shampoo method every time I've washed my braids.

I then give myself a scalp massage using whatever oil blend I feel like at the time (always incorporating Jojoba as a base, and usually adding Castor and a few drops of Rosemary Essential Oil). This is a part of my regular routine on wash days, and maybe one or two more times during the week.

As I always use synthetic hair (I have used human hair about twice in the course of my life, and from what I remember it itched like crazy and I wasn’t too fond of the smell when it got wet. Also as I've had time to think about it over the years, the thought of having someone else’s hair on my head freaks me out a little bit), so by the 3rd week, the ends had started to get a little bit ratty. I just trimmed them slightly to try and get them looking more polished. 

And that's about it.

So now its time for the pictures. I have tried to be versatile with styling my braids, as I didn't want to just pull them up into a ponytail every day, as I usually do. However, like I mentioned, I am challenged and thought it was best to just start slow. So this has mainly consisted of a variety of knots (particularly useful for keeping the hair off my neck in this heat since I got back to Lagos), or some form of accessory or another. 

Just pulled into a simple bun...
...and accessorised with a bow...
...or scarf
Trying to mix it up with a side bun

Same Bun Different View
Tried to vary it even when wearing them down
For work
Keeping them off my face...
...but trying to be slightly more imaginative about it
And the top knot for hitting the town.

So that's all, folks! I'll try and be a little more adventurous next month.



    You are SO PRETTY!

    Thanks for the tips and the pics! I especially liked your side bun and now I know to ph balance my hair, even when it's in braids.... (and it's in braids ALOT) xxx Faye G.

  2. Very good Nibi, I always have issues with frizz. From your pictures, your braids don't look like they are frizzing up.
    How do you stop/avoid this?

    1. Hey ChiChi,

      Actually my braids do frizz up a lot, and are quite messy compared to when they were first done. That's one of the reasons I wear them up most of the time. I do think sealing does help to control frizzing a little, however I don't think there is any real cure, as natural hair will revert when water is introduced.

  3. Thanks for sharing tips for maintaining braids :)