I went to an African Braiding Salon for the first time. A couple of my family members and a family friend have been to this particular shop in the past and while our experiences share some commonalites, they weren't really the same. Let me first start by saying I think my hair looked SO nice walking out of the shop. I'm very Poetic Justice slash Brandy in the 90s right now. As far as appearance is concerned, they did a phenomenal job. Unfortunately, that may have been one of the only things I was pleased with as far as this installation is concerned.
Because of the fact that I've gotten headaches previously just from someone else flat ironing my hair, I decided to take a few ibuprofen before they got started. That might be why I didn't realize exactly how tight they were braiding during the process. Much too tight. As soon as they were finished and began moving all the braids backward to dip them in hot water, OMG I wanted to cry. Seriously, it hurt so bad I did not even want anyone to touch me. Not only that, but they were soooo heavy I couldn't believe it. I communicated with the ladies that were doing my hair exactly what I wanted... so I thought: chunky or medium-sized box braids just slightly longer than my hair, to the middle of my back. I discussed this with them before they started and several times throughout the process, to the point of even stopping them to make sure they were not too small. I'm going to do a review of my experience in the salon itself, too. I really felt I was doing my due diligence and that we all had an understanding, only to stand up and find out how wrong I was. Le sigh. They were all the way to my butt!
I was so confused as to how the braids appeared to be the size I wanted, but there were SO many and they were SO heavy. Aaaahh! At first, I thought maybe it would loosen up over time and I could wait it out. Wrong! By the next day, I was ready to give up. I tried using steam, sprays and oils to loosen them, but could not get enough relief. I was irritable, my head was in a constant state of throbbing, my eyebrows were stationary (lol I can laugh now) and all I could think of was my edges snapping off. Consequently, I started taking my braids out ya'll. I was so mad at myself for the way this situation was playing out. Once I took the edges out I realized why I was having such a problem - there was way too much weave in my head!
|Left: my edges (stretched), Right: amount of weave taken off my edges|
|Left: center of my head, Right: amount of weave taken out of it|
With the combination of the extreme tension and the ridiculous amount of hair in my head, I think a set back would have been inevitable if I hadn't done something about it. I got over the facts that I had spent so much money and it looked really pretty for the sake of my own sanity and the health of my hair. I would have been so upset if my hair suffered a major set back just from this style. Especially after I've been diligent about caring for it and getting it to its current healthy state. Call me crazy if you want, I don't care. That's just not worth it to me. Do you see the amount of weave on those little sections of my hair?!?! That is never okay to me! And it shouldn't be for anybody else, honestly. There were 16 braids just on my edges and 12 braids on that very small center section.
Once I took my edges out, I taught myself how to box braid and turned those 16 braids into about 9 the next day. Relief! However, relieving my edges made the crown of my head very jealous. It was day 3 and I still could barely touch or move my hair. My scalp was so sore it would randomly send chills through my body and make me grimace. I've never even heard of that happening before! So, I started taking out that area, too, and by the end of the week I had taken out almost the whole top of my head. My scalp was so tender I couldn't even think of putting the braids back in for a couple of days, but I still had my hair! Ha! That was all I cared about at this point.
I actually did end up going back to that salon before I redid the middle section. Yep, hair half done and all. Just so they could witness how bad the situation was while I described the problems I had with the way my hair was handled. That, however, is another story for another post. Here's the difference between the amount of braids in the front of my hair before and after it was redone: