Thursday, December 20, 2012

French Braids and More

I get asked all the time if it takes forever to fix my hair.  I have hair that is literally probably close to 3 foot long at the longest strand.  I am, after all, 5'7 and it is down to my waist.  However, people are usually really suprised to discover that I rarely condition my hair, don't own a curling iron or a straightener, and rarely blow dry it.

I do use T-Gel still because as a baby I always had scalp issues, and I still use it every couple of showers to keep my scalp in good shape.  Other than that, I stick to clear shampoos to avoid the gunk of the others.  I will use conditioner if I have used a lot of freeze it hairspray on my hair because otherwise the tangles nearly bring me to tears haha!  I have found that most people who use conditioner every time they shower tend to have hair that is more flat.  I have also found that people with poor diets have poor hair quality.  Call me crazy, but your body will tell you if it is not happy with what you are doing.

But, back to me fixing my hair.  As I have said I don't own the typical tools nor do I blowdry often, so that tends to lead people to question how I fix my hair.  Nine times out of ten I let it air dry a while after a shower, and then sleep with my hair in a bun that I put up when it is partially damp.  In the morning I take it down, it has crimped itself, and I put a bit of mousse on it and go.  I consider that multitasking.  I also braid my hair A LOT, and taught myself long ago to french braid my own hair.  So, here is my attempt to explain how to do it! (Plus a few more fix tips).  We are going to stick with the caption descriptions for this one.

Brush all of your hair back and take a small section from the front of your head.  If you don't want your braid to start this far forward, you can always pull bigger ones.  Once you get the motions down and the tightness adjusted, you can really do anything you want.  Divide this section into three smaller sections, and cross them over like a regular braid a couple of times.
I usually cross both sides twice in regular braid fashion before I start pulling because it gets me focused on the motions.  Once you are ready, pull a small section of hair from one side and add it to the section of the braid on that side. In the picture you can see that the piece I am pulling from the front will be added to the section of braid on that side.  After you get really good at braiding you can cross under and add it to the opposite side for a pop up braid.
Continue doing this on each side.  As you get further back along your head you will want to pull sections that are narrow but deep.  This will pull the hair from the front of your head up to your crown where the braid is happening, which I hope the picture explains better than I can.  If you are wondering, no I do not highlight my hair, this is just what my hair does naturally.  I get a lone blonde streak in the front most summers.  Regardless, keep doing this until you have all of your hair braided in and then finish it like a regular braid. 
The few times I get my hair cut each year (like twice, three if I am feeling crazy) it is always hard to braid it for the next month or so until it grows out a bit.  This throws a wrench in my love of side braids, but is easy to work around.  Flip your hair all to one side.  I find most people have a side they are more comfortable with.
Pull up the top section of your hair, getting in all of the short layers if you can.  Make sure you get what is in the back too.  Divide it in to 3 sections and cross a few times in a normal braid pattern.  Then, start pulling from the front side and back side of the remaining hair.
It should come out looking like this.  Clearly I was doing all of this right after a shower, but this is a great way to put your hair back after scrunching too, the wavy messy braid always looks cute.
This is completely not a braid at all, but I would argue I have some very easy five minute fixes when it comes to my hair.  With your hair flipped at least mostly to one side (you can play around with the amount that is flipped over) grab a section from the front and twist it back towards your head. Twist it at least an inch or two before you start adding in hair.

Start adding in hair while continuing to twist and work your way back around your head.

Finish it off with a quick bun.  I do mine by pulling my hair almost all the way through a pony tail to make a loop of hair.  I then take the loop through the pony tail again, not pulling it all the way through again (to loop the loop, if you will).  I finish it off by pulling it through once more, again not all the way.
 Keep in mind that it is going to take a while to get used to braiding your own hair and getting it tight enough.  Keep a brush handy so that you can work tangles out as you go, because if your hair is anything like mine it will tangle during all of this.  I sleep in my braids often to get a variation of crimped hair for the next day, so don't discount what a bad braid can turn into by morning.  If you find it difficult to learn how to do this using a mirror, don't.  Just sit somewhere where you can think and picture what you need to do in your head.  That really helped me when I was learning.  I found myself moving in the opposite direction that I needed to when using a mirror when I was starting off.

Good luck!

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