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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bad (as in Unhappy) Hair Day

Yesterday we had a bad hair day. Mostly this stems from my love-hate relationship with small braids (= not quite small enough to be called mini braids, but as small as I ever do them...).

JJ has had small braids for about 3-4 weeks now.

She already had small braids in the back, from week 4 of the BBB protective style challenge. Once I took down the cornrows that had been in the front for that style, I made small braids in the front, for a total of about 90 small braids.

I didn't mean for these to stay in so long, but JJ absolutely loved swinging those little braids around, and I loved that her hair was so low maintenance (because I am **still** crazy busy at work). In fact, I have been so busy that I didn't even take a photo of the small braids until they were coming down.

Here they are at the end of 3 weeks (front) and 4 weeks (back). The back actually looks better (= less fuzzy) than the front even though those braids are older. There's been lots of sun hats off and on, sleeping caps falling off in the night, and general roughhousing.


Holy cow, these took a long time to take out! Too long - thus the Unhappy Hair Day. JJ was grumpy and complained that it was taking too long (she was right!) and I was frustrated that it was such a slow process.

I tried a million different methods to try to speed things up, but I don't think small braid take-down is something that can be rushed.

In the end, what worked best was:
1) spritz lightly with water
2) apply leave-in conditioner
3) use end tooth of soft plastic comb to gently pull out 1-3 "stitches" at a time
4) lots of TV shows, snacks, and movement breaks

I must have said to Daddy D about a hundred times that I would never do small braids again. And at the time I really meant it.

Now that a day has passed, I think "never" is too harsh. We both loved these braids while they were in. They were so versatile, looked great, and really protected her hair. However, I will remember that small braids take a while to come down and I will PACE myself. A few rows or sections at a time, maybe even per day.

Here is what went in today - TWISTS. Easy in, easy out.

Most of the way there - I felt like I'd run a marathon!
Went with a side part so the twists will hang the way JJ likes them to. 
Thank goodness that's over with!
Time for a nap!!! For both of us!!!!!
(this is the toy box BTW)


  1. I hate taking down box braids, I will NEVER put in tiny ones, its just tooo much work. btw I love the twists simple and adorable!

  2. Thanks Kandy!!

    For me, most of the pain in the braid take-down is that it's not very rewarding (compared to putting the braids in). I'm a pretty fast braider, but it takes longer - maybe twice as long - for me to take box braids out. Cornrow take-down is much better. And twists are a sure winner in my book.

    We are at a party last night... this was part of my motivation to get the old braids out and something new in. JJ got lots of compliments on her twists, which we pulled back in a half-up-half-down style.

  3. i take down multiple stitches like that too. it's probably a "no-no" when it comes to styling hair, but we haven't had any issues with it. i wet the braid really good and put a lot of conditioner on it and then i'll pull one whole strand from the top kind of like you pulled a few stitches, we always have fewer knots when i do it that way. i hope that wasn't too confusing! lol but her twist look really great!

  4. I just took out the sixty small braids I put in Baby O's hair tonight. Her hair is considerably shorter than JJ's, but what I did was almost the same as you. I filled the tub, washed the braids, put in a good amount of conditioner and got in the bath with her (she's 2 years old) and gently combed each braid out. That way all the shed hair stayed in the tub and I could add more conditioner if needed to the braids and it only took us about 40 minutes.

    I adore JJ's twists! I wish Baby O's hair would stay in twists. I love the side part, too!

  5. Shay - yeah, I get what you mean, lol. I also find it works well to pull out a whole strand and then let then let the other two strands of the braid unravel - sometimes I get too ambitious and pull the stand too high up the braid (too many stitches), which doesn't work as well. The other thing I can sometimes get away with is "reverse braiding" to take them out, but that seems to depend on how long they've been in?

    Nikki!! 40 minutes!!!!? I'm jealous. I didn't keep good track of time for JJ's Unhappy Hair Day but I know it was HOURS. I guess the length makes a difference, and JJ's hair is pretty tightly coiled (4B, so people tell me).

    But you're right, a great thing about those tight coils is that they hold twists really well. I don't need to put anything in at the ends, although sometimes I do, to retain length/stretch or to help the ends curl (vs frizz).

    I put some barrettes in the ends tonight b/c we have a special occasion coming up (more on that later....)