You know how a person can be oblivious to something until they have a personal interest in that topic or area? Like how normal drivers rarely actually SEE bikers or cyclists until the day that they themselves have been on a bike or bicycle in the middle of normal traffic. Well, to a certain degree the same thing has been happening to me regarding hair, hair care and what I see on the heads of the many ladies around me in this beautiful city of ours. And because I now know that taking care of one's tresses need not be an extremely time or money consuming exercise, I cringe
on a daily basis several times a day as I see girls with either sad, dry, badly broken hair OR wearing the most raggedy, nasty, hot mess weaves imaginable. Which leads me to wonder - with all the info available, why in the world are pretty girls practically uglying themselves up with these crows nests that they're walking around with?
Okay, let's rewind a little bit. I have NOTHING against weaving it up, wigging it up, nor braiding it up. I've done all of the aforementioned myself and I enjoyed the choice range it provided me with. Done right, it's intense protective styling and your hair will thank you. Done right, you look good and your self esteem will thank you. I don't even have an issue with the arguments of others that weaving it up is playing to "racial insecurities" because I believe that those arguments are often exaggerated and it depends on perspective on any event. What I have an issue with is when a weave is done WRONG. When the hair used for the sew in is the cheapest, most plastic, synthetic kind on the market. When the person who installed it did not focus on the fact that it needs to look natural for it to look good. When puffs of natural new growth peak out around the edges of the sew in looking raggedy and thirsty and damaged. When a girl with a very dark skin tone decides to install hair that is simply too light to look natural, or vice versa. When a weave is worn WAY past the "sell by" date. When good quality human hair is actually used but the wearer is neglecting that hair, as well as her hair beneath it, so that even the HUMAN HAIR weave starts looking like a clumpy, split ended, dry, raggedy mess. ALL of THAT I have a HUGE problem with considering that very often some of these same women ridicule those of us who put concerted effort into their own hair.
Another aspect of all of the above that struck me is that whenever I walk past such an unfortunate young woman, all I want to do is grab her to the side, buy her a cup of coffee and then start preaching! (Which is ironic, since I've only been on my own journey for a little over 8 months now) But unsolicited advice, especially like THAT (I lack tact sometimes) is NEVER appreciated, soooooooo, since I'm blogging about this, maybe, just maybe, one or two of these women will read this and realise that they can do better. Like Maya Angelou said - when you know better, you DO better.
Okay, so here's some tips for these ladies, most of which I've learned from trial and error upon my own head:
- Since you're paying money for the hair that you'l be covering your own hair with, take some time and choose carefully. Compare colour, texture, human vs synthetic. Price is only relevant in your determination of "value for money". BUYING cheap leads to LOOKING cheap. If your budget is constrained, rather wait and save up for decent hair, or make peace with the fact that you'll be buying new packs of cheap hair every month.
- Speaking of decent hair, quality 100% human hair can be re-used, unlike synthetic brands. It may cost you more initially, but THIS is where VALUE for money comes in. Of course, you need to actually TAKE CARE of it to get true bang for your buck.
- When having the weave installed, make sure that person installing it actually KNOWS what they're doing, and not the chick around the corner who does it for a nickle and a dime, because then you'll end up looking like a Medusa instead of an Athena. Look for a reputable stylist, get references from ladies that you've seen wearing some enviable weaves, and once again, be willing to pay a little more, as it's worth it in the end.
- Whilst having your weave installed, SPEAK to your stylist, especially if you experience any pain or discomfort from the minute that the stylist or her assistant starts with your tracks. Even though a weave is a protective style, the hair underneath needs to be taken care as well, from the second the process starts, otherwise you'll be LOSING hair when the weave is removed. So, don't forget to USE YOUR VOICE.
- Now we move on to the weave being installed and the after care that YOU, the wearer need to do. It makes no sense to pay the money for the hair and the install and then not take care of it as well as your own hair. Lack of after care definitely leads to the existence of a crow's nest.
- First of all, just because you're weaved up does NOT mean that you shouldn't WASH your hair. Use a gentle or diluted shampoo, get an applicator bottle so to get the shampoo in between the tracks so as to clean your own hair. Gently wash the weave itself as well, with either the same shampoo if you've installed 100% human hair, or if you've installed synthetic, a shampoo meant for synthetic hair. BE GENTLE.
- Secondly, CONDITION. Use the same methodology as above. If 100% human hair has been installed, nothing prevents you from even deep conditioning THAT hair AS IF it was your own.
- Thirdly, RINSE thoroughly. You DO NOT want any build up of product. ALWAYS BE GENTLE. Rough handling will damage your own hair as well as the weave, causing tangles and shedding.
- Fourthly, nourish your scalp and own hair by gently massaging a nourishing product such as olive, castor or coconut oil into the tracks. USE A LIGHT HAND THOUGH.
- Regarding your install, avoid heavy products. Perhaps use a light serum to detangle and then let air dry. If wearing a very curly weave, one can use a little more product than with a straight weave, but once again, avoid a heavy hand. AVOID products containing petrolatum and mineral oil. It'll just make that weave look nasty.
- Lastly, but definitely not least, DO NOT wear a weave for too long. Even the best quality of hair, if worn for too long, will start looking raggedy, and your own hair beneath will also suffer. In my opinion 4-6 weeks is long enough for a weave install. When removing it, I would recommend that it be done by the same stylist who installed it. In addition you MUST let you hair REST for at least 2 weeks after removal, taking care of it gently before either installing another weave or relaxing.
I believe that the pointers I put out above represent BASICS for those who prefer to wear weaves on a regular basis. And therefore it makes my heart sore to see SOOOO many sad raggedy weaves around when it is so simple. The information is all around us. Ignorance cannot be an excuse, and it most definitely is not bliss. So ladies, PLEASE, do YOURSELVES the favour and treat your hair and your weave like the crown it's meant to be.