Frequently Asked Questions: Kinky, Marley, Havana Twists

Hello lovelies!

I hope you’re doing great.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know I love my kinky twists. (We both do) The chunkier the better, but Kinky, Marley, Havana, really anything with Kinky extensions is right up my alley. Because I’m asked about my twists a whole lot, more than I can count, I thought I’d just share what I always share, put it in the public domain. 🙂

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  1. Where can I get kinky twists done?

If you’re in the NYC area, holler at our girl MeeMee. She has a good heart and won’t charge you like the braiding places. You can book her on StyleSeat.com/thekinkandi *shameless plug*

As long as you’re in Nigeria, honestly, I think anywhere. Walk down your street for a salon, or if you live in a very residential area, go out to a busier neighbourhood. If all else fails, just go to the market. Yes, I said the market. No AC, probably no fan but you’ll get your twists, and if you price right, for cheap too 🙂

P.S. All the salons on our list of Natural Hair Friendly Salons can hook you up!

  1. Where do YOU get your twists done?

When I got kinky twists in Calabar, I went to Watt Market. Back to base now, in Lagos, I go to Sara’s. This has been my mom’s salon for years now. Sometimes the AC is on, and of course you can watch AfricaMagic lol. The stylists are really great with braiding, and very fast. My last Marley twists took 30 minutes. 5 people on my head because I was early, and I tell you it did not hurt. The most I’ve paid is 3k. Sara’s is on Bola Street in Anthony Village. It’s on the first floor of the building beside King Solomon Hospital, walking distance from the GTBank.

  1. What hair can I use?

There are several brands, I’ve tried just three- Supreme, Noble, and Sublime. Is there any major difference between them? In terms of texture, not quite, but they are at different price points. Supreme Royal Silk Afro-Twist Braid goes from 1300-1700, depending on where you buy. Sublime is 650,700 but you aren’t saving, it is half the size of the Supreme. Noble Afro Twist Braid is also half the price of Supreme, but it’s about the same size. Almost.

  1. Where can I buy the hair?

Your local weave-on place, the market, your salon (check first), and you can also order online from Sizzelle, Olori, The Kinky Apothecary, Tunmise Naturals, and so on. See the Where to Find Directory for their info 🙂

  1. How can I care for my hair in twists or braids?

I shared my regimen for braids here, in this post. Your hair will be happy if you follow it, but to be honest, since I started washing my hair in braids, I’ve become lazy about spritzing. I do it like once a week now, or when I feel my roots and they are dry, but the washing & deep conditioning takes care of most of my moisture needs. And I’ve found that because my hair is locked away, I don’t actually NEED to mix water with leave-in conditioner to spray 3 times a week. Spraying 3 times a week with a water and oil mix, or water and then sealing, works okay. For best results though, follow the original braid care regimen. 😀

With scalp care, I’ve found that prevention is better than cure. Keeping my scalp happy from day 1 is better than letting it flake and then trying to remedy. Once my scalp starts flaking, I start itching to take the hair off. I oil my scalp once a week, and I spritz plain water on the scalp sometimes before I oil. Also, right after my braids are done, or if it’s a weave, after the cornrows but before the sewing, I always oil my scalp with a natural oil or butter. Washing helps too.IMG_4650-0p

  1. To use yarn or kinky braiding hair?

It’s down to personal preference. The only yarn thing I personally object to is yarn wraps/ faux locs in black or brown. Again, it’s personal. 🙂

  1. Salon finishing or nah?

I used to think that immersing kinky twists in hot water took away a little of the Rasta beauty. This I have learnt is not the case. Now I let them dip, so my hair isn’t so stiff. However, what I do not let them do is trim along the length of my twists. You can trim below the point where I don’t think my hair has reached, but before this, no. If you have a good braider, this won’t be necessary. And, kinky hair is perfectly imperfect, so I just roll with it. The rougher it gets, the more I love it.

  1. How can I stretch my hair or prepare it for twists or braids?

Wash well, deep condition and detangle well, moisturise and seal. It’s easier and saves time, to go to the salon with stretched hair. You can stretch it heatlessly by threading, twisting, banding, whatever your method. You can blow dry if you want, but you really do not have to. With sealing, try not to over-do it. Handling greasy hair is not fun for your stylist. And if your hair is still a little damp, don’t worry. Go on and braid. It will not smell.

  1. Now, nobody has asked me this but it’s still good to know 🙂

Hair is not supposed to hurt. This kind of beauty is NOT pain. Accept this as an absolute,unwavering principle. I had 5 people twist my hair the last time and I did not leave with a headache. Don’t let anyone pull your hair too tight, and remember that these beautiful extensions are actually heavy on our hair. When you’re in the styling chair, be assertive, speak up. I handle my hair myself most of the time, so I mentally prepare myself for battle whenever I’m braiding outside my regular salon, Sara’s. Is it an introvert thing, I don’t know… but if I’m not ready to fight, I don’t usually go to the salon.

Also, it helps to show your braider how to handle your kinky hair. I always show them how to finger detangle, and use a wide-toothed comb from ends to roots. I don’t let anyone use a rat tail comb on my kinks.

10. P.S. Your Extensions Could Be Hurting You

Some people break out when they wear synthetic extensions. It’s not an Ajebutter thing. We don’t know much about how these things are made, but the chemicals left on them can sometimes irritate the skin and scalp. Before I got used to braiding a lot, my ears would heat up in protest every time I left my hair down. So, if you’re sensitive, prepare your hair in advance. Put a little Apple Cider Vinegar in warm water, and soak your hair for like 30 minutes. A second rinse is optional. Spread it to dry, kinky braiding hair dries fast.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about kinky twists, just holler in the comments and I will reply.

Love,

AB,

xx

Currently: Twists

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Twists done by me. ^_^ Continue reading

Hair Blues- Matting.

The 3LRChallenge is still on. Please tell me you still remember what this is. A 3-month long challenge towards a healthier body and healthier hair (more specifically, length retention) with a focus on 3 areas- nutrition, hair and exercise. The month of August is gone now, so if you haven’t been keeping up at all, don’t be discouraged, we’ve got September and October to be good! 😀

How have I been doing?

I haven’t been dedicated this far, I admit- my excuse remains the intensity of school work and exams. (yawn) It was all good in the beginning but after the first week or two, I slacked. Slacked? I let go. Life had to get in the way but now that all has been said and done, I’m ready to get back on. I will keep you posted on my efforts and progress from now on because as I said before, accountability is important in these challenges.

Protective styling is an important part of this challenge. The rules say Protective styles should be kept in for not less than 2 weeks and not more than 4. Are you wondering why? If you are, let me explain.

The whole point of Protective styling is to prevent you from manipulating your hair. This is particularly necessary for length retention because if your hair is in a low-manipulation style, there is little tension and little exposure and this translates to little breakage. If you’re going to see any improvement in the Length retention department, it only makes sense that your Protective style should be around long enough to matter.

How long is too long?
Three weeks seems ideal. A month looks just about right.

Putting your hair to rest does not mean that you should neglect it or totally forget it exists. When you have a Protective style in for a long time (esp when you’ve got extensions), from my experience, it is easier to get lazy and forget it.

Moisturising is actually more tedious for me when I have extensions in. Here’s my routine for moisturising with extensions in. I did moisturise at least 2 times a week sha. That much, I did.

MATTING IS REAL.
Here’s a photo of my hair one time, taken after a wash. I’d just taken out my kinky twists.

I don’t know if you can notice from this picture, but most of my hair did look like locs just ready to happen. Strands all clumped and meshed together, I had to do some MAJOR detangling. I’d only had the twists in for 2 weeks!

I took this photo in March or so, I made this observation, yet in my infinite wisdom, I decided to go for the long haul. I had kinky twists in for 7 weeks.

Technically, the twists were in for 4 weeks of the Challenge, so I wasn’t breaking any rules. I lawyered myself into matting and breakage.

Yeesh. From week 2, my hair started matting real bad. And breaking. I had to take out almost all the braids along my hairline to ensure that I still had a hairline. And a few at the back too. After I took the extensions out (Still talking about hairline area), I noticed that my hair was strongly meshed together.

Even with the help of some leave-in conditioner and careful finger detangling, I still lost a significant amount of hair. The twisting technique sef, was so teeeek. So tight that it got real tricky for a twist or two and I actually had to just cut them off, along with my hair.

Why didn’t I just take the damn thing off, you say?
1. No time. Really, I felt like 24 hours in a day was not enough.
2. I only returned to school with my spray bottle and bottle of JBCO. I had no conditioner, no leave-in, no comb, nothing.

Lessons learnt:
1. I will not again leave my protective style in for too long.
2. My hair matts easily in kinky twists.
3. I will not travel for a long period without the basics.

I go home tomorrow morning and I’m definitely taking the kinky twists out as soon as I’m home. I hope all the detangling doesn’t make me cry. 😥

Have you had a similar experience with your hair? Or anything else you knew not to do but you did anyway?

Till next time,

Love,

AB

x

PROTECTIVE STYLING: KINKY TWISTS.

Protective styling is simply giving your hair a break from the daily or regular manipulation. All that combing and handling of your hair is tension, and your hair does need a break from this from time to time. Putting your hair in a protective style does not mean “Bye, see you later.” Ignoring your hair while it’s under a weave or in braids or twists or whatever, defeats the very purpose of protective styling. You aren’t touching your hair but as much as possible, you should try to make sure that it is moisturised.

For two weeks, I wore my hair in kinky twists, just long enough to rest on my shoulders. For them I used three packs of Supreme Royal Silk Afro Twist hair- two in colour 1B and one pack in colour 33. I got mine in Lagos for N1, 400 (One thousand, four hundred naira) a pack. Please beware, there are fakes!

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I’d love to be one of those skilled naturalistas on tumblr who do their extensions themselves (one day, one day!) but I had mine done at a salon. Two pairs of quick hands and three hours later, I was done.

Preparation: in this post I talked about trying to get my moisture right before I went to do my hair. I had my hair blow dried with medium heat because braids are best done with stretched hair. Halfway through I did notice that the yet untouched part of my hair had already shrunk a little.

Kinky Twists and Me

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I’m a huuuuge fan of this style for a few reasons:

  1. Very light weight, especially at this length.
  2. Easy access to my scalp. (this reason applies to other forms of braided/twisted styles with extensions)
  3. Light weight extensions + easy access to scalp = great in the heat.
  4. Rasta vibes- I think they’re similar to dreadlocks
  5. It’s so easy to style. (Bend some here, bend some there- maybe secure with a bobby pin or two, and/or a rubber band. Feeling fancy? Grab a scarf.)
  6. The extensions are so similar to my kinky hair so I’m not freaking out at the sight or feel of my own hair poking out of the twists at different points.
  7. Unlike other styles, kinky twists look even better with time.

BE CAREFUL how you style/pull your twists because of the pressure on your very delicate edges. Having them in for too long (or braiding and sewing-in weave tracks in that area too tight) can destroy your hairline. Also, kinky twists are comfortable but if you leave them in for too long, your hair could start loc’ing itself. Yeesh.

I wore kinky twists for a good deal of my transitioning period; it’s a great protective style.  However during my transitioning period, other than the times I massaged my scalp and sometimes the twists with shea butter, I really did not do much. Very bad behaviour, I know- but I’m a changed girl now!  ^_^

CARE

I used Bellajoya’s method to moisturise. Three times a week- Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

WHAT I USED

  1. Spray bottle
  2. Water
  3. Leave-in ( Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Creamy Hair Lotion)
  4. Coconut oil
  5. Castor oil.

WHAT I DID

  • I mixed water and a little of my leave-in in my spray bottle.
  • I held my twists altogether with a rubber band. Little by little, I took out small sections of twists.
  • For each section I spritzed the water + leave-in mix on my scalp and along the braids. Only for as long as I felt my own hair went.
  • Then I sealed by rubbing coconut oil on the twists (again, only as long as I felt my own hair went) and massaged a little onto the scalp in and around the section.
  • After doing this moisturise and seal routine for a section, I divided the section into two and did one big twist before moving on to the next section.
  • Having gone over about eight sections, all my hair was in eight big twists.
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big twists

  • I then applied some castor oil to my edges.

I did this because I’ve read that castor oil is great for hair growth around the temples. Some say it’s ridiculous but the before and after pictures I’ve seen say the opposite. Rather than get front hair back after the damage, it makes sense to fight the tension as it is happening, no?

  • Yes and I made sure to go to bed with my satin bonnet on, for the benefit of the small bits of my hair that weren’t 100% covered.

It’s really not a long thing. If you need some motivation, settle down to watch one episode of that new show you’ve been meaning to start, and watch it as you handle your hair. Last Wednesday, I finally watched started the Hunger Games!

THE TAKE-DOWN.

I know the twists were in for just two weeks but comparing the state of my hair right now to other times I’ve done braids or a weave- especially considering the last weave I had for three weeks, my hair has never been better post-protective style.

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My hair wasn’t scary dry. It was fairly moisturised and the hair at the back felt especially good. One thing I noted though, is that my ends were dry. This isn’t really a big surprise because they were kind of exposed, poking out of my twists so next time, I’ll find a way to give the ends a little more TLC. I don’t think it’s possible to not lose a single strand of hair in a day, so the breakage wasn’t bad at all (and this is quite an understatement) . I mean, look at it. And yes, my ends. I lost a little hair but this is barely obvious. I’m not sold on the castor oil yet though.

I put some castor oil on my ends to condition them a bit for wash day tomorrow.

You’re probably wondering why I took my twists out so soon since I love them so much. I had to. Nobody has explained to me yet why this is but here at Law School, you can only attend the mandatory Law dinners with your natural hair. No weaves, no braids, nothing. The dinner is in two days so… yeah, the beloved twists had to go.

What’s your favourite protective style? How do you care for your hair while it’s hidden away?

X

*Photos by Iby.