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Monday, July 11, 2011

JJ Whips "Her" Hair

We are about to embark on some traveling, and I have been literally dreaming about a certain "holiday hair" style I wanted to try out. 

The inspiration is 100% from this rockin' style at Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care . When I first saw this I literally gasped in awe, and the style has been on my to-do list since then.

I've never done yarn extensions, so I thought they might be cool to try. Plus, I absolutely love the versatility of this style that can be worn up, down, and anywhere in between. Finally, it is crazy hot and humid in Toronto, and even the "down" hair didn't look too uncomfortable because of the cornrows going up and the back of the head.

SO - I started out by washing Friday night, banding all day Saturday, and parting Saturday night. I parted out four vertical parts for cornrows at the back, and three vertical parts for cornrows on each side (total - 10 cornrows).  I made twelve small boxes for box braids at the top. 
just-washed length
Stretched hair parted into 10 verticle sections at the sides and 12 boxes at the top.
In two-strand twists for sleeping.

I started with the cornrows up, and braided the ends partway to hold them together. 
I swear the parts look better in real life...!??!
first 3 cornrows going up

Once that was done I was ready to add the yarn.

Whoops - no yarn!?!?!? How had I forgotten that crucial step?

Long story short: it was hot, it was humid, I was tired, Grandma P was over, but on her way out, and just happened to have a bunch of extension hair in her car.  She encouraged me to try it out. She gave me a ponytail called Biba free & easy collection Chic Short Pony. The colour was called F/FL - a black with some red highlights. There was a price tag on the package - 99 cents.

I wasn't mentally prepared to use extension hair but at the time it seemed easier than heading out into the humidity. 

So I used the extension hair - it was already a good length so I didn't cut it, I just folded it on half and tried my best to add it in where the braids started to come away from JJ's head. For some I folded the hair over JJ's hair to make a three strand braid, and then incorporated more of the extension hair into JJ's strand as I went. This was okay, but not easy. I also tried literally tying a knot around JJ's hair and then dividing the extension hair and JJ's hair into three strands. This worked a bit better. I really didn't know what I was doing and it was so hot I didn't even want to take a break to check You Tube for advice. 

Eventually it was done - 10+12= 22 braids in total , so it didn't take too long.

I wasn't sure how JJ would react. She LOVES it. She was very eager to go out of the house so she could dance around and have people see her "long hair".

It does look pretty good. 

But here comes the love-hate part.

LOVE - or at least, like quite a bit:
  • I am pretty sure I won't need to touch her hair for 2-4 weeks (aside from changing up the style for variety).
  • JJ Loves it (note capital L).
  • I felt totally fine using elastic bands on the ends, and may consider some no-worry beads!
  • Love the way the parts work for a ponytail, pigtails, an faux-hawk-look, etc etc etc and the hair of off of JJ's neck
  • Still would really like to try this style with yarn, or when she has a little bit more length to do this style on only her hair
HATE - or at the very least, am concerned about:
  • She is getting a ton of attention already - lots of positive feedback, which she loves. BUT - Is this sending a message that her "natural" hair is not as lovely as her hair with these extensions???
  • That hair is NOT easy to work with - at least not for me - everywhere I look I find another stray strand around the house!
  • I had a hard time making the braids as "even" as I wanted to - I think I could calculate "real" hair versus extension hair better next time (if there ever is a next time, that is....)
  • Daddy D (aka Mr Natural) just shook his head, and said that this was okay as an experiment, but he does not want to see extensions on her again....
*******any thoughts?*********



  1. Awwww-JJ looks so happy! This is so cute on her!

  2. They look super cute!!

  3. -sigh- do you really want my honest opinion?

    i agree with dad. i really don't like it at all, but not just on her, on any kid i see with added hair like that. it just doesn't look real or cute to me. i think she would have been just as cute, if not cuter without the added hair. i guess i just think it makes them look way too grown up.

    but, with all that bein said, i am a sucker for natural hair textures and i LOVE her's =) so i guess my opinion is a lil biased lol

  4. Thanks everyone!

    And yes, Shay, I really did want your honest opinion ((I asked!!))

    I know what you mean about loving natural hair textures - I do too! This experiment has helped me figure that out. And Daddy D was super clear on his opinion!!!! I think part of JJ's love of this style is the novelty of having those long, swingy braids.... which she can grow, over time.

    It has been an interesting experience - not without controversy.

    We are heading soon to visit my parents. They know very little about the politics of black hair - it will be interesting to see how they react.

  5. I'm not a big fan of extensions on kids either. I occasional use a piece of red or blue that's the same length as the persons real hair, just for a splash of color, but I kind of agree with the dad on this one. still love the style.

  6. I know you put time and effort into the style and that's something that should be pointed out and smiled upon. I saw the style on CHVC and I loved it, then a few days later I braided red hair into my youngest sisters hair, purely to change things up and for cool red bangs.

    The responses that I got, the negative looks and stares is what makes me think that, no, extensions and kids aren't the best of combination. But like I said, the important part is that you're caring for your daughters hair, YAY!, and that always out ways what the style ends up looking like :)

  7. Thanks Dominique-Alexis for your insight. Note that I've tagged this post as "lessons learned" - I've had a few experiments gone... maybe not "bad", but let's just say that I continue to learn from my experiences!!!!

  8. This is mega cute!! I am not really up for extensions for kids but it is cute! Please continue to do the awesome work you do and learn from your experiences as you are already doing!


  9. Update - the braids and extensions came out today. They served their purpose very well, as we have been traveling and JJ has had incredibly low-maintenance hair!

    We are visiting family, and although everyone thought the long braids were cute, they were also eager to see JJ's natural hair. She had it "out" in an afro for part of the day, and now I've half-done a headful of two-strand twists (the usual go-to style).