SO, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you already know that I spent last weekend Curaçao! If you’re wondering where Curaçao is exactly, don’t worry because I’ve got you! I’ll be posting a trip guide real soon! In the meantime, for quick reference, it’s a part of the A-B-C island chain; Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao 🇨🇼.
Prior to the trip, I was wracking my brain for months about what to do with my hair. We traveled down for my cousin’s bachelorette party, and Lord knows I didn’t want to be the girl with crusty hair ruining all the group photos of what should be one of the most memorable getaways of her life. About two weeks before the trip, I started scrolling through pictures of myself from last summer when I had box braids. I really wish my hair grew out of my scalp in braids because I love them so much!
With two weeks to go, my options were few in terms of protective styles for my curls. I so desperately wanted to take the three hour drive to SC to have my friend who usually braids my hair hook me up. I’m extremely tender headed, and she is the only person who doesn’t hurt me. However, I didn’t have the time to squeeze it into my schedule. After vetoing that idea, I did what every person who’s at a loss does; I took to Pinterest! After perusing through dozens of pictures of other women flourishing in all their braided glory, I decided that I could do this myself! After all, I’ve managed to cornrow my hair with added hair so box braids shouldn’t be much different, right? Haha! Not completely right, but I did come out of the other side with braids.
For my first try, I’d like to think that I was pretty successful! I mean, they’re not the neatest or the prettiest, but they got the job done. So, for all my other DIY mama’s out there, I’m sharing exactly how I achieved half way decent box braids on my own.
To start, I rounded up all the accoutrements I needed to complete this look. I dropped into my local beauty supply store and picked up:
- a rat tail comb (for more precise parting)
- small, black rubberbands (for my ponytails)
- Honey Baby Naturals Hold it Honey Styling Gel
- eco styler gel
- hair jewelry consisting of cuffs, rings, and cord
I also picked up the braiding hair from my local beauty supply store. I used Que Shake-N-Go braiding hair in color 2. This particular hair came in a jumbo option, which worked well for me. However, most any kanekalon braiding hair should do the job. I purchased three pack of the jumbo braiding hair which came with three bundles in each pack. I used two full packs, and a bundle and a half from the final pack to complete my look. I opted for a larger sized braid for the sake of time, both for installing the braids and the anticipatory removal of the braids in a few weeks. It took me 5.5 hours to install the braids. This didn’t include the time to complete my usual wash routine.
To cornrow my hair with added braiding hair, I use a ponytail method. This works well for me because my hair is extremely thick and tangles easily. It’s nearly impossible to braid my hair in it’s natural state without pain and/or damage. The pontytail method allows me to gather each individual ponytail as if it is a single strand of hair in the braid. This gives me more control and is much more efficient.
I hypothesized that this method would also work for box braids; I was right. I toyed with the ideal of blowing my hair out first to make sure that my natural hair would blend with the braid hair seamlessly. However, I soon decided against this option because that would have taken more time that I was willing to pour into this endeavor. Plus, if this had gone left, I would have been mad at myself for wasting blowout. Instead, I found that saturating my hair with a spray bottle, and smoothing it with a mixture of Honey Baby Natural’s Hold It Honey styling gel and Eco Styler gel (I’m not in the camp of folks who have cancelled it!) made my hair blend nicely. Again, I braided my hair right after washing it, so it was still pretty wet. However, I feel like spraying it again to soak it was more effective then just applying gel to my damp hair. I part my hair into one-inch squares, and smoothed each section into a ponytail before proceeding to add the braiding hair to the ponytail. I essentially made three large sections that I then separated into the inch sized ponytails (two sections in the front and one large section in the back).
Now everything I’ve discussed so far is all well and good, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have help! Lord knows this video saved me a lot of time and heartache. I’m sure there are hundreds of DIY braiding video’s on YouTube, but this video on HowToBlackHair’s channel was perfect! The video demonstrates two different braiding strategies, but I went with the first. That method was easier for me to understand, and worked better with the ponytail method since I needed to keep my own hair in one chunk while braiding.
After this experience, I must admit that I’m excited to try my next braided protective style. I never thought I’d be amongst those who are able to braid their own hair. Thank the Lord for Pinterest and YouTube, otherwise I doubt I would have had a clue where to start!
Would you ever attempt braiding your own hair? Are you a pro at installing your own braids? I’d love to hear about your experience attempting to (failures make for good lessons) or actually braiding your hair!
As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, talk to me! If you like what you see, subscribe!