Stretched Braid-Out

I get a lot of questions about my braid-out technique when I’m out and about around town.  I’ve been referring people to our website, but I realize that I never really updated my braid-out technique here on the site.  Well, here’s an updated braid-out how to…

Step 1:  I moisten (unless it’s freshly shampooed), detangle and braid  my hair (using coconut oil) into between 10 – 15 braids (depending on if I want a tighter or loser texture).  I went for a tighter texture in this case.

Step 2:  After sleeping in a satin cap all night, I take down each braid.  This is what my hair looks like when I first take the braids out.  Please note, if I want the texture to set in even more, I keep my hair braided for a whole day (sometimes 2 or 3); covering it with a hat if I need to leave the house.

Step 3:  To show off a little more length, I usually “stretch” my hair right after removing the braids.  To stretch my hair I take large sections (usually three) and twist each section into large Bantu Knots (check Google for plenty of tutorials on how to do Bantu Knots).  I secure each knot with a Goody Band and leave the knots in over night.

Step 4:  The next morning I remove the knots and end up with a fluffy stretched braid out. Notice the difference in length from these pics and the braid-out pic above. Believe it or not, these are from the same braids.   Notice how shiny my hair is with only coconut oil as a styling product.  To maintain this style, I roll my hair back up into the knots each night.  Each day when I take the knots out, my hair is stretched out more and more.  This is a fairly new technique for me, but I am sure that a stretched braid out can be achieved on hair from around 6 inches long…but the hair would probably have to be knotted into smaller sections (this is just a guess).   I hope this helps to answer some questions!  By the way…my technique can be used with twist-outs as well!

Sometimes You Just Need to Leave it Alone

Hello, LV here! It’s been a while since my last post and I’m sure you may be asking what the heck I mean by the title of this post.   I get a lot of people asking me about hair growth and what I did to get my hair to grow.  This question usually results in me with a blank face without a lot of advice.  Why?  Because, with all of the natural hair care advice and websites available out there, I didn’t think people would believe me if I told them my routine.  Second, I never really knew how to explain my hair growth.   However, I think I’ve finally come up with an answer…sometimes the key to hair growth may be to just leave it alone.  Leave it alone?  Let me break down my hair routine…

  1. I wash my hair…wait for it…once a month.  Yes, you heard me…I wash my hair once a month.  Why?  Well I didn’t intend to vary my wash routine.  I’m a stay-at-home, home school mom of two children.  We participate in a lot of activities within our city.  Between soccer practice/ games, gymnastics, guitar practices/recitals, speech classes, drama classes, home school classes at various museums in town and field trips…my hair often takes a backseat.  Who has time to worry about hair?  Heck, I’m lucky to fit in a wash once a month, because even that’s pushing it.
  2. After washing my hair, I braid it using just Coconut Oil.  I have other hair products, but Coconut Oil has become my staple allowing me to leave most of my other products behind.  I usually braid my hair into about 15 braids.  I use sponge rollers (with satin) to curl up the ends.
  3. I allow these braids to stay in my hair for maybe a day or two, just to make sure the braided texture really sets in.  I then remove the braids for a braid-out.  My braid-outs last for about two weeks and I wear them for at least that long.
  4. When my braid-out starts looking bad and/or feeling dry, I re-moisten my hair and re braid it.  Removing these braids results in another two week braid-out.
  5. After the next two weeks of braid-outs, it’s time for a wash.  I use Apple Cidar Vinegar (mixed with water in a spray bottle) to give my scalp a pre-wash treatment.  I then wash my hair using a sulfate free shampoo.  I’m currently using Creme of Nature Professional Shampoo and Conditioner (orange bottle) , but I am not attached to any particular brand of shampoo.  While I am washing my hair, I detangle it using a cheap conditioner (usually Suave).  After my hair is shampooed and detangled…I braid it and the routine starts all over for me.

So, what can I conclude about my routine?  Well, I did a 2nd BC in 2009…three years later, my hair has grown longer than it has ever been in my life.  I contribute it to the lack of manipulation.  Washing my hair once a month means that I’m forced to detangle it less.  With the braid-outs, I’m also not combing my hair much.  I run a comb through my hair two times a month.  Ha!  Can you believe it?

Now, before anyone reading this decides to drastically change up their routine…I am not a hair care expert.  In fact, most hair care experts would probably frown at my routine and be amazed that I have any hair at all.  However, I had to do what fits my lifestyle.  Does my hair feel or smell dirty with a once a month wash…no, no more than it would if I wore it braided for a month. Would my routine work for others?  Maybe, maybe not, but I do believe that the less you manipulate your hair, the more chances you give it to grow.  But, I won’t say anything else…let me share some pictures showing my hair growth…

 My 2nd BC in August 2009

Here’s a stretched braid-out from a few days ago.  (I plan on sharing this stretching technique in a a video soon!)

This is my hair growth between August 2009 and December 2012 (3 years).  My hair has grown much longer after my 2nd BC than it did after 4 years after my first BC.  The only thing that has changed is that I’ve gotten lazy with styling and don’t experiment as much ;-)

 

My Best Twist-Out So Far

I don’t do twist-out often because I could never get them to come out right so I usually turn to braid-outs. I finally figured out what my problem is, I’ve been doing rope twists instead of regular twist. This time I did the right type of twists and it resulted in my best twist-out so far.

Here are my twists in preparation for the twist-out

I let my hair dry on its on, since I twisted my hair in the morning I just put on my natural-ness knit (natural-ness knit hats are available here) hat while I ran my errands for the day.

Here are the final results.

Three Year Nappiversary: Length Check


September 19, 2012 marks my 3 year nappiversary. This time 3 years ago my hair was 2 inches long. Now, it is approximately 13 inches long.

 

Video: Braid-Out Mid Wear Re-Braid

This video shows my technique for a braid-out mid-wear re-braid. I sometimes wear my braid-outs for up to four weeks. However, there are times when I want to give my braid-outs a “fresh” look. That is when I do a re-braid.

Also, I have a big surprise at the end of the video…our new Natural-ness Knit Satin lined hats.

Cornrow Braid-out (one week later)

I wanted to post an update of the braid-out that I posted a few days ago (seen here).  Here are pictures of the same braid-out, a week later.  To maintain the style, I just spritzed my hair with a water and leave-in conditioner mist (when needed) and put on my satin cap.  In the morning I re-fluffed and went about my business.

I don’t have much to say about the style.  I do get asked how I manage to keep my braid-outs for so long.  In my case, I often keep my hair braided up for a few days in order to get the most definition.

I have also noticed that my braid-outs look better when done on hair that has not been freshly shampooed.  If I want a “banging” braid-out…I wear my hair in a braid-out for a few weeks, then I rebraid it without re-washing it (video on my Mid-Wear rebraid technique coming in my next post).

“Oh…but isn’t your hair…*gasp* dirty when you do that?”  My answer…not really.  I do not use a whole lot of product in my hair, so there’s no build-up on my hair or scalp.  “Does your scalp itch after a few weeks?”  My answer…not really.  Not any more than it did when I was shampooing my hair every day or every week.

I have to say that I love the fullness that a braid-out takes on after being worn for a while.  I get the most compliments on my two week braid-outs.

Last view of my cornrow braid-out.  I ended up wearing this braid-out for at least another week before shampooing my hair and restyling.

Video: Cornrow Braid-out

Below are pictures and an older video that I’m just now getting around to posting (forgive me :D ).  It’s a simple braid-out created using cornrows, which gives the hair a nice texture all the way to the roots (scroll down for video).

Before removing my braids for a braid-out, I also make sure to rub coconut oil on my braids.  This gives my braid-outs a nice shine.

I usually just do a regular braid when styling my hair for a braid-out.  In this case, I decided to try cornrows instead.

Using cornrows for a braid-out, creates texture all the way to the roots.  When I use regular braids, I notice that the roots of my hair is usually not textured.

In addition to the coconut oil, I also used products from Kinky Pride for this braid-out.

Below is a video of me removing the cornrows and styling my hair into this braid-out:

 

[Video] Flat Twist Swoop Front Twist Out

I just wanted to try something different with my twist out. I tried not to do the same braid out or twist out twice. Here is my latest twist out attempt. I really liked this style.

Products Used:
-Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel
was used on the edges of my flat twists.
-Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Smooth-n-Hold Pudding
was used on each individual twist.
-Scunci Silicone Rubber Bands
was used to secure my flat twists.

For step-by-step instructions for this hairstyle see the video below: 

[Video] Twist out with Pompadour

I have never liked the looks of my twist outs so I usually opt for braid outs because for some reason they come out so much better on me. Here is my first successful attempt at a twist out. I still don’t like it as much as my braid outs but pretty good results.

Products Used:
-Creme of Nature Shampoo, Detangling Conditioning, Sunflower & Coconut – To wash my hair.
-Creme of Nature Leave-In Creme Conditioner for Dehydrated Hair, Lemongrass & Rosemary – To condition my hair.
-Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Gel -I applied this to each section of hair before twisting
-Scunci Effortless Beauty Wide Stretch Basic Neutral Headwraps – As a hair accessory.
-Snap Hair Clip – To pin back hair.

For step-by-step instructions check out the video below:

My Current Routine and Product Rotation

I can tell when the home schooling period comes around, because I have a lot less time for my hair.  This year is the first year that my daughter has daily lessons scheduled, so now I am home schooling two children instead of just one.  With added responsibilities, the last thing I feel like doing is spending a lot of time on hair. So what do I do when I have less time to spare on hair?  I keep it simple.

I am not currently doing any type of pre wash treatment, other than sometimes applying a bit of Coconut Oil if my hair is feeling very dry.  My chosen method of washing my hair is the shower, just because it is easier and I can knock out hair care and bathing at once.  Before I step foot in the shower, I divide my hair into 4 to 6 sections; securing them with clips.

This braid-out is the result of last wash/product experiment.

Shampooing & Conditioning: I’ve been using Kinky Curly Come Clean as my shampoo of choice for the past month.  I always use a shampoo when I cleanse my hair.  I really like this shampoo.  Could this be a new “must have” product for me?  Time will tell.

Anyway, to shampoo my hair, I remove one clip at a time and shampoo each section, making sure to concentrate on cleansing my scalp.  I then rinse the shampoo out using warm water, reapply the shampoo concentrating on my hair and rinse again using warm water.  I then apply a handful of condition and re-clip it.  Then I move on to the next section of hair, until I have shampooed and applied conditioner to all 4 – 6 sections of hair.

Detangling: Detangling is the next step in my hair care routine.  I detangle while I’m in the shower.  This is now a “must” in my routine.  If only I had known how effective detangling in the shower with a head full of conditioner is earlier in my hair journey, I may not have done a second BC.  Lately I’ve been detangling with Tresemme Pro-Vitamin B5 & Aloe Remoisturize Conditioner. It works great for detangling, but I am not attached to it.  In fact I just purchased a bottle of VO5 conditioner (from the dollar tree) that smells good enough to eat.  I cannot wait to give that a try.

After I have shampooed the sections and added the conditioner, I go back and remove one clip at a time.  With the conditioner still in my hair, I gently detangle each section with a wide tooth comb.  I then rinse the conditioner out using warm water and loosely twist the section before reclipping it and moving on to the next section.

Deep Conditioning: I am the first to admit that early on in my journey, I have not always been faithful to the deep conditioning process.  I have now made this a regular part of my routine.  For the past month or so, I had been using the Shea Moisture Hair Masque, applying it to my hair and leaving it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it out.  However, I have not been pleased with its results as a deep conditioner.  Right before my last shampoo session, I picked up a jar of BioInfusion Olive Oil Deep Conditioning Treatment, available only at Walgreens.  I applied this to my hair after rinsing the Tresemme conditioner out of my hair.  I added a plastic cap and sat under my table top hair dryer for 15 minutes.  I returned to the shower and rinsed out the conditioner, using cool water. So far I like it.  I will write a review after using it a few more times.

Styling: After my hair has been shampooed, conditioned, detangled, deep conditioned and rinsed, I dry it using a white t-shirt.  The last time I shampooed my hair, I un-clipped my hair before sitting under the dryer.  This was a mistake, because my hair ended up having a few tangles by the time I was ready to style it.  Next time I will leave the clips in.

For styling, I like to use Coconut Oil, but I ran out, so I skipped that step.  Since I had a few tangles, I used Kinky Curly Knot Today and combed through my hair a few times.  I proceeded to braid my hair into twelve medium sized braids. I usually use snap clips to hold the braids and pin them down, but I found that bobby pins work a lot better.  Snap clips tend to pull your hair.

Creating the braid-out: I left the braids in my hair for a few days (probably more like a week since I was so busy with home schooling), hiding the braids under a hat.  This actually served a dual purpose.  The weather here in the south was crazy hot for the past few weeks.  Keeping up hair braided up under a hat, served as a protective style and it kept my hair safe from the scorching sun (it’s finally cooling down – yay). Also, the longer you keep braids or twists in for a braid or twist-out, the better defined your braid or twist-out will be. Just keep in mind, that if you plan on leaving your braids in for a while, make sure you spritz it every so often to keep it from drying out!

After leaving my hair braided for a while, I finally un-braided my hair and separated it for the braid-out that you see in the pictures above.  If I had Coconut Oil on hand, I would rub some of it on my hair before removing the braids.  I did not, so I skipped that step. 

It has been almost a week and I am still wearing my braid-out; making sure to keep it from drying out by spraying it with a water and leave-in conditioner mix.  My routine may not sound simple, but I get two weeks of “hands out of my hair” styling for about 2 -3 hours work on shampoo day.  It works for me and I will probably be sticking to this routine for a while, with a few protective styles here and there in between.  I hope this helps some of you in coming up with your own routine; adjusting it as needed to make it work for you!

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