All Twisted Up!

top and side view

I decided to go for a twisted updo for the week. I've tried a couple of them on myself before and am finding myself getting better at them. There's lots of inspiration on YouTube, in case you're looking for some yourself. I just kinda made it up as I went along. It took a little less than 2 hours, probably because I turned the tv off and just focused. 

Perhaps, one day, I will learn how to record and edit videos well enough for tutorials. For now though, I am going to do my best to explain how I went about this. I took a few pics of the process, in hopes of helping you to visualize the process. I was told it looked complicated by a few people, but it really wasn't. Half of my head is in flat twists, while the other half is in two-strand twists. 

I started with freshly washed, deep conditioned and air dried hair. After applying my usual leave-ins, I parted my hair a little off-center to divide it into two sections. I divided each section in half by parting my hair from ear to ear. Since I parted it a little off-center, the two sections on the left were a tad smaller than the two sections on the right. I decided the smaller two sections would be the ones I put in two strand twists so I clipped those up. 

I started with the front right section, flat twisting it up and to the left. While flat twisting, I applied Shea Moisture's Curling Souffle and Curl Enhancing Smoothie from their Coconut & Hibiscus line (pink label) to each twist. They're great for naturals, and now, I'd say relaxed ladies too! I loved the way my hair felt, looked and even smelled once I was done. My mom, a natural haired lady, uses these along with the shampoo and loves them. I just borrowed for the night. As I finished each flat twist, I pinned it down with a metal clip to ensure it wouldn't unravel. Moving on to the back right section, I flat twisted straight across to the left side. 

Once I was done flat twisting the right side, I started two-strand twisting the left back section, followed by the front. I didn't have a precise way for going about sectioning each twist. I would say they were medium sized, about the same as the ends of the flat twists. That's it! I tied it all up with a scarf to set overnight. To style, I made three pin curls with the two-strand twists, securing with bobby pins. I moved the pin curls around throughout the week. It held up nicely. I'm planning to try 2-3 more of these types of style for the next few weeks. Not having to style my hair daily was great!

1st DIY: 3/4 Part Wig

So, I made my first 3/4 (or u-part) wig. I have never attempted to do anything like this before and previously, I probably would have just laughed at the suggestion of wearing a wig. However, the more I have witnessed these part wigs in action, the more my interest has been piqued. They can look so natural and seemed pretty easy to make. So, after watching only God knows how many tutorials/tips and tricks about u-part wig videos, I went for it!

I went to one of my few choice beauty supply stores to get everything I needed. This particular store always has their hair buy one get one free. The selection is huge and a bit overwhelming if, like me, you are not a weave connoisseur. Luckily for me, there was a really nice sales girl that walked around the store with me for awhile, listening to what I wanted and making awesome suggestions. I ended up going with the Silhouette brand of Wet n' Wavy human hair. Right out the pack it looked just like my texture of hair. I figured even if I didn't go for the wavy look it has after you wet it, it would match my hair anyway. I got a 10" pack in #1 (black) and a 12" pack in #2 (brown) in an attempt to match the highlights in my hair. 

I also needed a weaving cap, hair thread, a weaving needle, wig clips, and a styrofoam head. I thought that was it, but once I started sewing the hair onto the cap, I quickly figured out I needed some straight pins to secure the cap to the head and the tracks in place as I sewed them on. I bought the weaving cap with the adjustable straps. It was nice, but for how I was styling my hair, I don't think I will get that one the next time I make one. I felt like I kept having to tuck and hide pieces of it that would creep out on the sides. Of course, it could've just been the way I made the wig and have nothing to do with the cap.

At first, I thought it would be better to sew the longer hair on the bottom and the shorter on the top, but I did not like the way that looked. So I weaved them in together, alternating layers of each, about an inch apart. It took a little more work to do it this way though since my goal was not to cut the wefts (tracks of hair). But I inevitably ended up having to cut them because each pack of hair was one weft and I only used half of each. Once I got as close to the top of the cap (a little of that black line in the bottom left pic above) as I wanted, I cut a u-shaped section of the cap off and sewed wigs clips onto each side. 

I left about a handful of hair out on the top and some on each side in the front. I put the rest of my hair in 4-5 braids and pinned them together. I LOVED the way this hair looked with mine. My own hair blended perfectly with it, colors and all! People couldn't tell if or when I had it in, including my own mother. Score!!

I didn't actually wear the hair all out at all. I kept telling myself to do it, but not going through with it. Probably because it's new for me and all I could think when it was all out was: Melanie, you know you do not have this much hair! lol! So, I protective styled my protective style! It made styles I normally do look so full and thick! Can you tell how much I enjoy wearing this thing?! Eventually, I think I'll get over the whole I-know-I-have-on-hair-I-didn't-grow-so-I-think-everyone-else-knows-too issue I was having and wear it out. 

The only complaint I have about this experience was with the hair. Keeping up with the wet n' wavy look the way it's suggested to do was too much for me. As in, continuing to re-wet it daily. But if you start and then don't keep it up, it gets matted looking! Gross! I did find that if I wet it and braided it up like I would my hair for a braid out, I wouldn't have that problem. So, it wasn't the biggest deal to me. It was very convenient and I'm sure I'll be making more in the future.  

L4L Protective Styling Update!

So, it's time for the first check-in for the protective styling challenge I'm participating in! I think this past month has flown by, which is a good thing, in my opinion. The challenge is going very well for me, so far. I'm actually enjoying it! With the nasty winter weather, I don't think it could've came at a more perfect time. 

my 3/4 part wig
 For the most part, my hair has been covered by my new 3/4 part wig I made! *pats self on back* I've never been one to wear any kind of extensions, but after hearing more and more about it then watching a ton of YouTube videos, I decided to go for it. Glad I did too, because it's made things pretty easy. Other than that, I've spent about a week in buns and a week all twisted up.  

I'm still washing, deep conditioning and air drying my hair weekly. That's going well. I'm about 9 weeks post, but my hair's not acting like it. I think my biggest struggle has been keeping my hair moisturized (of course!), sealed and soft. I put my hair in several braids that I pinned together under my wig. The idea was they would be easy to moisturize, yet those were what I had the biggest struggle keeping moisturized. Haven't figured the reason for that issue. This past week with my hair twisted up, it was easy to keep soft and full of moisture. I'm planning on doing it that way for a few more weeks so hopefully I'll continue to have that result.

twisted up style I did this week

a couple accessorized buns

I'm loving Ebony's tutorials! I've tried one of them, but failed to take pics. Loved it though so I'm sure I'll be doing it again. I'm just now getting in to instagram, but I'm planning on joining in on the fun there too!

Update: you can check out more about my 3/4 part wig here and my all twisted up style here!

Consistency & Faithfulness

My oh my ... my last post was almost a month ago! After I had every intention of starting to post regularly. So, what happened you ask?? Short answer: my church went on consecration for 21 days. For anyone that's not familiar with this term, consecration is a time of fasting, praying and devotion to God. It's a time to eliminate distractions and grow develop a closer relationship with the Lord. It was an awesome experience and a great way to start the new year off!

I don't think I would have the same outlook on this experience if it weren't for the fact that I stuck with it and forced myself to follow through day after day after day. Even when I didn't feel like it. That in itself was a lesson learned. If I am consistent and faithful in working to achieve goals, I will reap the benefits of it. Simple right? Consistency and faithfulness are such common words.  Yet, they can be really hard to apply to our everyday lives. Everyone wants to either eat healthier, start exercising, have healthier skin and hair, or even pray and read their bible more, but for some reason we fail to turn the actions it takes to reach those goals into daily habits. 

Consistent: steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.; unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time
Faithful: strict or thorough in the performance of duty; steady in allegiance or affection; loyal, constant

I don't think we give enough credit to the small things. Making small changes in our behavior can have big effects in the long run. For example, I moved about six months ago and my face hated me for it. Never had so much trouble with breakouts in my life. I've also never had a skincare routine. I have tried a few different things, but I haven't kept up with them. About a month ago, I bought an all natural facial cleanser and committed to use it twice a day. It didn't take very long for my face to clear up and my skin looks SO much better now! Twice a day for less than 5 minutes and I'm on my way to healthy skin! Lol I totally sound like a lame infomercial! Now I kinda freak out at myself if I don't wash my face correctly. 

Sometimes doing what it takes to form life changing habits seems like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be that way. People feel they don't have time to start a whole healthy hair regimen or diet or exercise daily. Ok, then don't. Start moisturizing your hair while you watch your favorite show. Take the stairs a few more times than you usually do. Stop eating a cinnamon roll for breakfast every morning and eat some yogurt (Melanie!). There are small changes we can make one at a time to reach our goals. Once one thing becomes a habit, add another. It works! I know when I get such simple advice it makes me want to roll my eyes. Like when you hear the key to growing long, healthy hair is patience(ha!), but it's the truth nonetheless.

For this month, I have to figure out ways to: 
  1. Post AT LEAST a few times a week
  2. Exercise 2-3 times a week
  3. Eat healthier during the week 
I think I'll start there for now. I've already got lots to update on here so reaching number one should be the easiest of the three. Let's go!

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