Black Girl, No Braids

So for a while there I had braids. The braids to end all braids. Big, chunky, long, box braids. And I loved them! At 28 I got braids with hair added for the first time ever. While I loved them, I must admit a lot of hair shed when I removed them and combed my hair out. I was surprised by this since they were so easy to take out. But then again, my hair sheds like crazy period, so going weeks without combing or brushing it meant there was a lot that needed to be shed. For this reason, they’re probably not something I’ll get done again.

But while they were in I did feel real “round the way.” As a kid, my cousins from DC and New York often had braids or cornrows. I stuck to flat twists, and didn’t get into those until high school. They were my style of choice because one, I like updos, and two, I did not want to add hair. Both of these remain true of me today. I still like updos and I still avoid adding hair.

There are a couple of reasons, the first and most important one being my mom. She didn’t know how to cornrow and why would she? She never wore her hair in braided styles and she had daughters what that “good” hair. Both my sister and I possessed soft, thick, long, curly, black hair. My mom hated washing it and she should have, it was a thankless job. But it was easily manipulated into pig tails and puffs tamed down by barrettes on the end and Pink Lotion. So no braids for us. We simply rocked plaits.



My niece however, who is four years younger than I, was a faithful cornrow wearer. Her hair was a totally different texture than ours and apparently warranted some braiding from an early age. She’s grown to love it and so have we. But I remember my mom and sister had no idea what to do with it in the beginning. The solution was to have a cousin cornrow it. It did help it grow throughout the years.

Another reason for no braids until a couple of months ago was that I’d always been told my hair was too soft and they would not stay put. I did have a couple just slide right out after wearing them for only a couple of weeks, but nothing major. Even now stylists question whether certain styles will stay in my hair for the two weeks most twists and braids are supposed to endure. With good care, they usually do, but my hair does get fuzzy very quickly. But that is mainly from humidity I believe.