Sunday, 27 July 2014

It's a Fro-liday!!

The fro and I are on holiday!! For the first time since I went natural, I've decided to give myself and my hair a break and braid it up. 

After visiting a few braiders, the incredulous looks I was given when I asked if they could use no blowdryer AND no comb persuaded me to do my own hair. Something I swore years ago I would never do again. And now I remember why

With the decision made and before I could change my mind, I stopped at a supermarket on my way home and picked up an old faithful: Abuja short, No. 4. I wanted to try the marley braids and do large twists but I changed my mind because I intend this to be a fitness vacay. Full of running and swimming and yoga and whatnot. Passing out on the beach because of my cute chunky top knot is not a good look. So I settled for something lighter. And cheaper. Quite frankly, I didn't want to invest money in braids that I only intended to keep on for two weeks so I decided to save the Marleys for another time. 

I prepped my hair a couple of days prior by prepooing overnight with coconut oil, washing with Terresentials mud wash, using a protein leave-in (Giovanni) and sealing with Qhemet Amla and coconut oil. I don't normally apply oil over my hair but I wanted it extra sealed since I didn't do a moisture DC or an oil rinse. I then sectioned my hair and put in Bantu knots to stretch it out.

Confession time!! I didn't treat the braids before using them. Naughty me. I know I'm supposed to soak them in ACV or summink like that but honestly who has that much time? Or planning capabilities? I'm a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment kind of person so with only 48 hours to go before my trip, I just wacked them on straight out of the packet and crossed my fingers. 

I started braiding my hair at 6pm but had a massive panic attack after I completed braiding the first Bantu knot section. 'What the hell am I doing??!' 'Will I ever finish?!' 'Will my hairline break?!' 'Why didn't I use no. 2??!' I don't know why I freaked out but it all worked out in the end. With some help from my wonderful friend (who complained about how oily my hair was and having to use her fingernails to cut straight lines), this was the completed look.

Plane selfies: possibly the most embarrassing pictures in the world to take

I made them super loose because I have a tender head and my hairline is still so fragile so they looked a week old when I was done!! but I was able to sleep the first night with no post-braiding migraine, no temporary face-lift and I could even tie them up and practice with different styles. If you've ever had salon braids done in Kenya, you will know this is pretty much an impossible feat for at least the first three days. 

I had doubts about the whole braiding thing but so far they're proving to be the best thing ever!

Firstly, they halved my holiday product haul! I went from this...

To this...

undiluted ACV in the spray bottle in case I get an itchy scalp

I've been gifted a Loc Soc (large black cloth item, bottom left of the picture) which I received the day I was traveling so will be reviewing later. 

And that's it! Leaving me more room for my first ever capsule wardrobe! I suffer from Classic Overpackers Syndrome. 

My Harvest of Sunshine body butter gets a worthy mention:  I had pre-mixed it with coconut oil because my skin is the Mojave but, mixed with conditioner, it doubled as a great DC when my daughter had a hair emergency. More on that later. 

Secondly, braids have given me much more swimming freedom. This is actually a bad thing disguised as a good thing because it means I'm neglecting my hair but I didn't want a repeat of my last holiday. Then, I spent so much time prepping, rinsing, cowashing and stretching my hair that I gave up on getting my hair wet and eventually, swimming altogether. Yup. I was that girl. 

I won't entirely neglect my hair. I've been rinsing and leaving in conditioner at the end of the day, but that's it. Any big jobs will be left for when I get back home. I love braids. The person who realised we could put plastic on our hair and look good doing it (well, sometimes at least) needs a Nobel prize. 

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