Protective Styling with Braids - a Review... :-)

Hey There Guys!

I just wanted to share some on my thoughts on braids for length retention this morning - pretty much a synopsis of why I started them in the first place, and why I still have them in.

As you know I've been in braids since November last year because of a Cassia incident gone wrong. I lost 4 handfuls of hair. It was a very emotional time for me because I had put in a whole years worth of work into my hair only to ruin it before the holidays! I was at the point where I was just going to cut all my below APL (Armpit Length) hair to EL (Ear length) hair and start again for 2014. In short  I BAWLED! Lol - A post on that experience is coming very soon. After 4-5 days of detangling - no joke - That I managed to still have even SOME semblance of hair on my head was a miracle! I had to cut out so many knots and matted areas it was ridiculous... So after that I immediately threw my surviving hair  into braids. My hair had had enough manipulation. I didn't want to comb it again for the rest of the year! I felt my strands had been through so much stress over that 5 day period.

Hence my long-term braids-for-protective styling began...2014 is a new year, the goal remains the same. its a Hair journey, and yes setbacks suck, but, you allow yourself a week or two to mourn, then you pick yourself up, EVALUATE WHAT EXACTLY CAUSED the setback in the first place. Remedy the mistakes, and move forward towards the Goal, armed with more knowledge than you had before.

Goal: Waistlength / WHIP(Waist-Hip) length hair this year by April (birthday month, woot woot!) would be nice :-)
What am I working with:

  • Weaknesses: 1. My hair strands are fine and so are verrry prone to breakage with what most people may consider a normal amount of manipulation, 2. In no time my hair can become dry if I miss out on moisturizing for even a day. Once dry my hair is again prone to breaking, 3. I am now 17 weeks post relaxer with quite a bit of new growth. Where my new growth meets my previously texlaxed hair is known as the "line of demarcation". This line is verry prone to breakage also! Sheesh, it's like I can't catch a break! Lol!
  • Strengths: DETERMINATION! Grrr! Lol, seriously though, Knowing what my weaknesses are and my determination to meet my goals (Waistlength to the world!) are my greatest strengths on this journey so far. My determination wavers from time to time, but I try to remain focused at least 95% of the time :-)

Plan: To reach my goal in the shortest time possible then means that I have to try to retain as much of the hair that grows in this time period as possible. It makes no sense to get 1 inch hair growth in a month only to have to cut 1 inch to get rid of dry split ends

I suspect that just throwing my hair into a long-term protective style and leaving it to do some kind of magic is wishful thinking. If your aim is to retain as much length as possible, you have to handle with care on putting in, during and take down!

I CHALLENGE MYSELF to the following tasks:
1. KEEP the ENDS well moisturized and out of site! - Ill do this by making sure to keep up with

  • My daily Moisturizing and Sealing
  • Baggying/GHE (Green House Effect) Method on alternate nights... a post on this is in progress, stay tuned! :-)
  • Tuck the ends away at least 90% of the time.

2. HANDLE my hair with care - manipulation of my braids is less likely to cause damage than when my hair is free, however its not fool-proof. The ends are still exposed and so are at risk for damage during manipulation. Also, snagging with nails or faulty hair pins is also possible in braids, causing unwanted breakage too. So I will watch out or these naughty little risk factors :-)

3. Continue to watch my hair carefully and note when it is I get breakage and stop the problem in its tracks at once.

I don't want to lose any progress I've made. Hoping for no setbacks guys!!!
I wish you guys all the best too with your length retention goals,
Have a Happy Sunday,

Rachie :-)

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