I first went natural my sophomore year of college. One night I went into the dorm bathroom with a scissors and came out with a chopped up head of uneven hair. I didn’t know how to maintain my hair and I was insecure about the length so I wore half wigs to cover it up. I eventually put a light relaxer on it, not knowing at the time that when a product says “texture softener” it really means relaxer. The second (and final) time I went natural, I transitioned by letting my natural roots grow in before cutting off the processed ends.

My last relaxer was in March of 2009. I cut off my relaxed ends in August of that year. This time around I used the internet as a resource. I searched hair care forums and looked up endless amounts of information on styles and hair care maintenance routines. I saw a lot of naturals wearing their hair in small twists but I didn’t particularly like how twists looked when I tried that style in my hair.

I spent much of my youth (natural and even as a relaxed teen) in braids. I thought why not try out braids on my newly natural hair. I put in a set of mini braids and absolutely fell in love with the style. When I washed in braids the ends of my hair formed cute little spiral curls that I didn’t have with my loose natural hair. My porous hair finally felt soft and the strands cooperated with each other. I didn’t have knots or tangles and I seldom experienced damage (single strand knots or splits) on my ends.

I’ve worn mini braids for at least a few months each year since growing out my natural hair. Here are a few pics showing the progression over the past two and a half years. The first picture is from October 2009 and my braids were around ear length. I wore a lot of headbands to jazz up the style. I washed frequently so the braids unraveled and left me with cute curls. The image to the right is from August 2010. I experimented with some highlights. My hair was around neck length in braids.

The next two pictures are from February and November of 2011. Around this time, I made my mini braids the smallest they’d been. My hair was shoulder length in braids.

Here’s a cell phone image of the length of my mini braids today. I went from having braids that were barely ear length in August 2009 to collar bone length in May 2012. When stretched, my braids reach to my armpits.
Update: By the end of 2012, my mini braids fell to armpit length without being stretched. Here’s a picture of my braids in December 2012.
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Another quick update…here are my mini braids as of August 2013.
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12 Responses to My Mini Braids- A History

  1. KNOTTY-NESS says:

    Oh my Gosh!!!! I was so excited to see your post on LHCF! I have been talking to my 10 year old daughter about braiding her hair in mini braids for about a year. She was somewhat hesitant. When I showed her your picture tonight she was all for it. I braided the back of her hair in mini braids and the front is cornrowed to the back. I will finish the front tomorrow. It took about 2 hours. She looks so cute!!!! Thanks so much. I can’t wait to finish and then try it on my own hair!!!!

  2. Jay says:

    That’s great to hear! Let me know how your braids go as well! Thanks for the feedback. :D

  3. Ginene says:

    I love your hair! I planning on posting pics of my daughters hair and mine. I’ve been natural a second time since Feb 2011 and kept cutting my hair. Now I keep two strand twists and about to start my braids. I’m loving my hair and just love learning new styles. I found your blog from google which lead me to the long hair care forum. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Jay says:

    Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found some new styling options and Long Hair Care Forum is great. I’ve learned so much from the wonderful ladies there. Have a happy and healthy hair journey!! :D

  5. Anonymous says:

    Been doing these kinds of braids for years now. After my hair got too long for human hair extensions….
    Thanks for your site!

    • Jay says:

      You’re welcome! I’m glad I can share with others, what you and I have done for years. Be sure to come back and add some tips and tricks that can help other mini-braiders. :)

  6. zoraida says:

    I love reading your blog and enjoy your mini braid stories. I’ve subscribed. :) I live in the UK. I have been wearing mini /small twists for quite a while , now and they are about bra strap length. I’m in love with your braids! :) They are so well done, and a lot of the advice you give is practical and sound. I have been toying with trying out some mini braids, and I know it would take me a while to do. It takes me 5- 5 and a half hours to do my twists, and I have fine hair. I think it’s useful to know the advantages of both mini braids and twists, and they work for different people. Those mini braids suit you so well. Like you, I’ve had to experiment, (with trial and error!!!) to work out what works for my mini twists, and I know they re not for every one. The twists make my fine hair look fuller, and I can leave them in for four or five weeks, without any locking or tangling. I used to wash my twists , then re-twist the next day, then i decided to, years later, wash them, then re-twist them while damp. Now, I re-twist on dry hair and then, wash them, the next day. I have to say, I like this last methods! It stretches the hair out, and when washed, it only shrinks slightly, as opposed to more noticeable shrinkage , when twisted damp! So I love to see how others work their mini braids and twists, and protect their hair at the same time. Whatever works for your, mini braids and mini twists, when done well, are so versatile and pretty. I love your various hair styles too. You are very creative. Keep updating us with your ideas I didn’t check, but do you have a youtube channel. I enjoyed reading your interview LHCF. You sound so refreshing and upbeat! Anyway, going to sign off but thanks so much for your blog and keep on going!!! :)

    • Jay says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. It really made my day. And thank you for sharing your experience with mini twists and mini braids. A lot of people wonder why they should choose one over the other. I don’t have a YouTube channel due to issues with google…so I’ll probably never have one…I hope to add more pictorials on here. :D

  7. emandra says:

    i have mini braidsn now goin on my second week. i feel in love wit ur story and was wondering how long to keep the braids in.

    • Jay says:

      Aww, that’s really sweet. The longest I’ve kept them in is about 8 weeks. As long as my hair is still neat and my ends are not knotting, I feel comfortable leaving my mini braids in. I think a goal of 4 weeks is a good place to start, then decide if they look neat enough to leave in longer. I hope that helps!

  8. Sherrilynn Cook says:

    Your hair looks great. I have actually been wearing my natural hair for a few years now. I always wash, blow dry and flat press. I hate having to use heat on my hair all the time and it is a temporary fix. I have been thinking about getting braids for a long time but my mom talks me out of it. I have seen some girls who wear braids and twist all the time and as a result they have a pushed back hair line. But you hair is not like that at all. What is your secret? And do you buy hair to add to the braid or is this just your natural hair? This will be my first time ever having braids but I would really like to continue getting them due to how is it is to manage your hair. So I would love to have any helpful tips that you may have and thanks for your post.

    • Jay says:

      Thank you! I only ever wear braids or twists with my own hair. I think added extensions lead to thinning edges moreso than natural braids or twists. I have an article here about protecting edges- http://minibraidmethod.com/2012/12/how-to-protecting-edges-while-wearing-braids/ There’s no big secret, I’m just very careful with my hair and I wear a silk scarf to bed. I don’t like the heaviness of extension hair so these days when I want braids it’s my mini braids without extensions. My ebook (link is on the right side bar) explains m process of putting them in, caring for them, and taking them out. I hope that helps! Good luck and have a happy & healthy hair journey. :)

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