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The Mini Braid Method: The natural girl’s guide to maintaining afro-textured hair in mini braids. Learn how to put them in, how to take them out, and everything in between.
I’ve come across several YouTube natural hair gurus who have recently damaged their long natural hair after years of growing it out (Naptural85, for example). Personally, I prefer my hair long and it’s very unlikely that I’d get a significant haircut. I think it’s a great idea to experiment with your hair while it’s short. If you damage, cut, color, etc your hair while it’s shorter, you have less to lose and you might not feel as much regret (if you end up regretting experimenting). There are so many options for hairstyles. Here are some things that are fun to do on short hair.
- Straighten it often. I don’t mean go crazy with heat, but the only way you’ll know how to best straighten your hair and avoid heat damage is by straightening it. Practice makes perfect. Find the right technique for your particular head of hair through trial and error. Chances are, you will get heat damage at some point or another during your natural hair journey (aka life) so get it over with while your hair is short so you can trim it and it won’t be a big deal.
- Color your hair. This is one thing that I did and I’m glad I did it. When my hair was around shoulder length, I colored it black and got blond peek-a-boo highlights. It was fun for some time, but I got over having two-toned hair. I knew that my relaxed hair and color didn’t mix, but I was surprised to find out that not even my natural hair could handle color. The health of my hair was significantly compromised. I had to cut the damage off over the course of a couple years. Had that happened later in my hair journey, I would’ve been upset.
- Get a fun haircut. Tapered cuts were very on trend last year. I wished I had tried a fun and interesting cut…instead of the plain TWA (teeny weeny afro) when I big chopped. I wouldn’t dare cut my hair that short now. If you’re afraid of scissors, like me, get an interesting cut while your hair is shoulder length. The change won’t be that drastic and it will grow back in no time if you get over it.
- Try alternative hair care. Try out all those methods you’ve read about and seen on YouTube. When you have short hair, use henna…see if it agrees with you. If it doesn’t work out there’s no big loss. Try overnight deep conditioning. Try different products, techniques, routines. This is the best time to work out what your hair likes. It’s key to having a healthy head of hair.
- Try out different protective styles. Experiment with different wigs, weaves, braids, etc. Find out with agrees with your hair. Find out how best to recover from a long term protective style. If wearing a weave mattes your hair, it’s best to find out at ear length than to try and detangle armpit length hair and losing hair in the process. Keep in mind, however, that you should not have your hair always hidden. The only way you will learn your hair is by taking care of it (see previous bullet). If your hair is always in a protective style, you’ll have no idea what methods work for you. And having your hair out will be a frustrating experience.
Very often the moment we big chop, the obsession with growing long hair begins. There are lots of fun things you can do while your hair is short. All stages of natural hair should be appreciated and embraced. My biggest regret is not trying different styled cuts when my hair was short. At 7 years natural, I’m not brave enough to get a funky short cut. I keep my hair shaped in the same sort of style and might get my bangs angled a little more than usual. Definitely take advantage of having shorter hair and do what you want and don’t look back. Experiment while your hair is short.
New video up on my wash and go. This isn’t literally a wash and “go.” I take my time and style my hair if I plan to wear my hair out for a week or more. I went hiking in the Peak District and this style was a great options. I wore my hair down, then wore it in a puff and low pony on subsequent days.
The Ebook is your one stop guide to growing your hair long using long-term protective styling like mini braids.
As my previous article stated, I’m still searching for a hairstyle that’s perfect for trips away. I think wash and goes work for weekend trips. I’ve yet to find something that’s good for 3+ days away. I want to avoid having to style or wash my hair for at least a week. I usually travel with just a backpack, so hair products or tools are not something I normally take with me. At best, I keep some sachets of shampoo and conditioner for emergency hair restyling.
I recently returned from the Maltese Islands, where I celebrated my birthday. I wanted a style that was easy to maintain but didn’t leave my hair flat. I love my massive hair so it feels a bit weird to have flat hair. Loose mini twists seemed like the answer to all my problems. I spent a day putting them in (with tons of long breaks. The style looked really nice. However, even with keeping my hair up in a bun or ponytail it tangled really badly. I don’t know if I’ll be trying this any time in the near future. I think it’s a good option for hair that’s not fine- easily tangled- and hair that’s kinkier- 4b/4c. Here’s my tutorial showing how I did it. Please like the video and subscribe to my YouTube Channel- Thrifty Natural.
The method I used for twisting is very similar to the one I use for mini braids. Watch the video to get an understanding of how I braid or twist my hair. The process is more thoroughly explained in my ebook- Mini Braid Method. Thanks for watching!
This is a big issue for me that I’ve yet to figure out. How should I wear my hair when I’m away from home and traveling? I feel like I’ve tried loads of different options. I’m a low maintenance girl, I stick with my typical styles. My main goal is to NOT have to do ANYTHING at all to my hair while away. I don’t typically pack hair products or even brushes. So when my hair looks a mess, I’m sorta stuck. Here are a few things I’ve tried and the issues with them:
- Wash and Go- I’ve had them flake, get white product buildup, dry out, generally look a mess and it require a heap of products and tons of drying time to redo.
- Braid Outs- Humidity or just everyday life gets to it. I end up having to redo it and look like Celie during the 24 hour + drying time.
- Twist Outs- My hair doesn’t behave as well in twist outs. Stray hairs tangle and cause issues. Doesn’t last as long as braid out and I really don’t care for the style on me.
- Flat Ironed- No matter where I go, no matter how many times I look up the humidity index for the week, my hair will poof up and look a mess. I have to braid/twist or otherwise put texture in my hair for it to work with the poofiness. Textured hairstyles barely last a day so I have to redo every night and my hair gets quite tangled in the meantime. If I’m too tired to flat twist or otherwise style my hair the night before, I’ll look a hot mess the next day.
- Mini Braids- Of course I love my mini braids. I don’t wear these often because I prefer big hair- especially if I’m going to be in lots of pictures. That’s really the only downside- flat hair.
- Mini Twists- These are a bit better than mini braids because my hair is a bit more voluminous. Huge downside is the take down is horrendous. I end up losing a lot of hair from knots.
- Loose Mini Twists- I tried these because they would solve the issue of flat hair and they are quick to put in. They looked ok. The main issue was that they tangled really badly. Because my hair is fine and it was twisted loosely, lots of strands escaped the twists and were loose or worse, joined other twists. By day three, I couldn’t even run my fingers between my twists without them getting caught on strands of hair.
The search for a holiday hairstyle continues. I only travel with a backpack so I prefer not to pack a lot (or any) hair products or tools. During my most recent trip away, I wore loose two strand twists. I filmed a tutorial and will post that next. If you have any recommendations for a hairstyle that works well while on holiday/vacation, please comment below.
I’m trying to roll out quite a few videos just to get my Youtube Channel started. Please support and subscribe! I like to keep it simple. I do this routine once or twice a week.
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Tricia from T Jewels Butters graciously sent me some samples of her butters all the way from the US to the UK. She sent a sample size of the Lavender Zen Hair and Body Butter and the Black Cherry Almond Bliss Hair and Body Butter.
At first sight, they look exactly like pure shea butter to me. The scent is quite strong for a butter. I like that because I’m not a fan of the natural scent of raw shea and have never been able to properly mask it with essential oils. T Jewels butters have a distinct scent. Personally, I’m not fond of lavender so I used that one up first. I do love cherry scents so I’m saving that for my upcoming holiday because I want my hair to smell nice.
As I mentioned, these butters looked like shea butter and I expected them to perform similarly. I was impressed that they melted down quite easily. It’s freezing here and it didn’t take much to emulsify it in my hands. It spread quite easily and disappeared/absorbed into my fine hair without much effort. My hair usually feels a bit wirey a few days after using raw shea butter (or my own shea butter mix) but it felt fine with this product.
Lovely scent options. Quite firm consistency but emulsifies with little effort.
I do think they are quite pricey, if you go for the smaller size. The 8 ounce sizes are more economical. But I’m willing to spend a little more to support black businesses.
I do really like the butters formulation. The cherry scent is nice and the Sweet Orange and Peppermint definitely interest me.
T Jewels Butters sells both hair/body butters and oils. You can check out the full shop here.
I uploaded my first proper YouTube video!!! I’m blogging and making YouTube videos under my other brand Thrifty Natural. I’m still transitioning the blog to natural hair (not just braids) and beauty. The look of the blog will continue to evolve as I upgrade the brand and find my style. Please take a look at my first beauty video. It’s a Get Ready With Me- makeup and hair video. Enjoy! And thanks for the support!
Click here to visit my website Thrifty Natural.
Click to visit my YouTube Channel Thrifty Natural.
PS: please subscribe for more natural hair and beauty videos (especially so I can reach custom thumbnail status! lol).
I feel like I put my hair through a lot this year with the big move across the pond and severely cutting down my stash. I’m going to invest in some more products to help keep my hair moist in this climate. I’m also thinking about starting 2016 with a fresh blunt cut. My favorites from this year are mostly things I brought with me from the US and things I missed dearly.
- Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk: this is my everyday leave in. I have about 3 or 4 bottles left in my stash. I had my mum buy it and bring a few bottles over. She’s a master couponer and was able to get a great deal at Ulta. She stacked BoGo, manufacturers coupons, and the $3.50 off $10 (I think) and got them super cheap. Shea Moisture is officially launched in the UK so hopefully Boots will have some sales and coupons.
- Giovanni Smooth As Silk: this is a great cowash for me. The large size and bottle are perfect for using in the shower. I buy liter bottles from Marshalls or other discount stores. I’ve read that they are available in Costco in the UK, but haven’t looked yet. The conditioner also works well in my hair and is silicone free.
- Giovanni Nutrafix: This is still one of my favorite conditioners. It’s thicker than the Smooth and Silk but spreads really well. The smell is nice and it makes my hair very soft. While it is advertised as a protein conditioner, it doesn’t do much for me in terms of strengthening.
- Le Kair Cholesterol: I’m still using old faithful. I like this as a DC although I don’t use it nearly as much as I used to. Mostly because I’m staying with family and don’t want to spend too much time washing my hair as I’m not paying the bills.
- Bentonite Clay: This goes on the “things I missed list.” I packed some but ended up taking out of my suitcase because it was overweight. I recently purchased some clay from Anita Grant- a UK hair product company- but that version is more finely milled and turned into a clumpy consistency like if you added flour to water instead of water to flour. I’ll have to figure out a recipe that works for this particular brand.
- Coconut Oil: My hair hated coconut oil. I’m still not sure it likes it. Butters and oils tend to make my hair feel hard and wirey. In this cold weather, I’ve been dealing with extremely dry skin, scalp, and hair. Using coconut oil on my scalp has helped keep it from flaking. I’ve used it on my skin sparingly as well. I’ve added it a favorite because my scalp is much better with it than without it.
- Shampoo: I’ve been a cowash/ Curly Girl for years now…basically since I went natural in 2009. I normally only shampoo after using silicones and I only use cones when straightening. Because my scalp has been super dry and I’ve used a lot of heavy butter and oils, I’ve had to shampoo. So far my favorite shampoo is from Maple Holistics. The Winter Blend Shampoo and Conditioner work wonders for my hair and scalp.
One staple I’m still in search of is a styler. I want a heavy cream to set braid outs and twists outs. In seven years, I have yet to find one I love that provides lasting moisture.
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