This February has been the strangest winter weather that I’ve seen in Los Angeles. It’s been hot and dry for months, and more like a Southern California summer than winter. Last winter I rocked a wig from December all the way to March because we had a nice wet, rainy, cold winter.
But since global warming has given CA an 80 degree February, wigs have not been an option for protective styling. It’s just too hot. But it’s also too dry to do nothing. So I’ve been practicing my braiding skills.
I suck at braiding
Needless to say, I’m not very good. The most I can manage at the moment is two flat twist going back, and pinning the braids up. And my twists aren’t even going in the same direction. One one side, the twist is going over, and on the other side, the twist is going under. I haven’t yet figured out how to make the twists go in the same direction. But I will.
It’s kind of comical that I’ve been natural for almost a decade and never learned how to properly braid my own hair. But up to now, I’ve always worn my hair out, either not caring what damage the weather might be causing (my early natural years), or rocking braids and eventually wigs as needed. It’s amazing the small ways that the change in weather is forcing us to adapt to new conditions.
But I have weapons in my arsenal
It makes me really happy that I’ve already spent the better part of two years formulating the Coco-Free Hair and Body Butter. I’m not trying to sell anyone on the product, but hear me out. My hair doesn’t always do well with coconut oil, and it has become incredibly difficult finding off-the-shelf products that don’t contain the ingredient. So, it has worked out very well for me to have a moisturizer at hand that I can use on my fine hair.
How do I use it for my braided protective styles?
When I get ready to braid my hair, I do one big part down the center, because I’m only doing two braids. Then I divide the two big parts into four. sections That’s just to make my hair easier to manage, and to give my arms a break. Because, man…braiding is an arm workout.
Before I start braiding, I coat my hair in the Coco-Free butter and comb it through. I also apply a bit of gel to my edges to get a smooth look. I comb it all through. I don’t recommend adding gel to the shaft of your hair: depending on what gel you use, it might harden and dry out your ends. You always want to protect your ends if your aim is length retention.
After the comb through, I take a little more butter and rub it between my fingertips. Then I start to braid. This step is key. Because this product is a moisturizer, and not a styler, to keep your braids from unraveling immediately after you’re done, add the butter as you braid. If your hair is low porosity like mine, you want to rub a bit if butter between your fingertips before you start braiding, and that’s it. You likely won’t need more, but you know your hair. Do what you need to do. If your hair is more porous, add a bit of butter every few twists. You’ll end up with fat, juicy braids that soak up all that moisture for the next few days.
On that note, how do you keep your hair and scalp moisturized in between wash days?
For me, it’s been using the Coco-Free butter on my exposed scalp. My scalp flakes unforgivingly if I neglect it. But moisturizing my exposed scalp doesn’t seem like enough. I’m thinking of formulating a scalp oil with a narrow nozzle that you can use to oil/moisturize your scalp no matter your style. What do you guys think? Comment!
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