Living in Sydney for the last 4 years it’s safe to say my hair hasn’t been a priority. With no afro hair salons in my immediate vicinity, few places to buy afro hair products and few afro hair ladies around to take inspiration from, I’ve just been relaxing my hair and getting the occasional hair cut but generally leaving it to do its own thing. Back in London and away from the beach-side lifestyle where chucking your hair up in a top knot and throwing on some cut off shorts and a tank is enough effort for pretty much the whole weekend, I’ve been inspired to upgrade my look.
I’ve been relaxing my hair since I was 10 or 11 when my Mum finally gave in and said I was old enough to have it done. Before that I remember sitting impatiently while my Mum painstakingly cornrowed my hair (my favourite hair style) or occasionally blow dried it straight for a special occasion, anything to tame my natural frizz which I hated. In my early 20s, sick of wrestling with hair straighteners (this was pre GHD days) I wore my hair in plaited extensions for a few months. It gave my hair a much needed break but I didn’t feel 100% myself. A few years later I went for a full head weave of long hair past my shoulders but I felt paranoid about how different I looked and just concluded weaves weren’t for me.
Several years later and things have changed so much in the world of black haircare, weaves look increasingly natural and #naturalhair has its own movement. After googling the shit out of terms like “lace frontal” and “versatile weave” and spending way too much time on urbanbushbabes I’ve decided the first step is to get my natural hair back to health after all those hot Aussie summers, so I’m committing to a few months of protective styles to get it on its way. Yes I am embracing the weave again.
L: Initial length and croydon facelift M: Initial length a few weeks on R: after the nail scisssors incident, feeling a bit more 'me' with a long bob (and a bit of a tan after the *cough* heatwave)
My first style was a full head sew-in with a lace closure. I bought the hair (Brazilian 12”) from a local shop near the hairdresser which I’ve since found out is a total no-no unless you really know what you’re looking for. The hair and cut was great to begin with (once I got over the first day or two of aching scalp) but the longer it stayed in the more difficult it became to maintain. The hair was easily tangled and shedding, which I’ve since learned is a sign of poor quality hair. I also got bored of the cut and ended up (look away hairdressers) giving myself a trim with nail scissors (!) after about 4 weeks.
Despite the ups and downs, when I took the weave out and washed and deep conditioned my own hair I couldn’t believe the difference. My hair had already grown over an inch in just under 8 weeks and the texture is so much smoother. I very nearly decided not to try another weave but figured if the results are this good after 8 weeks there is so much more to be gained.
L: Back in London after Sydney summer and backpacking around Vietnam with major breakage R: Post 8 week weave(apologies, when I took these pics they were never supposed to see the internet!)
This time I researched a better quality hair supplier and also looked for a hairdresser closer to home. I came across Pretty Crownsthrough my Sister and Hair by Ola through Shope Delano. This time I ordered Peruvian Loose Wave hair (12”) as I found with the straight hair it sometimes looked a little too perfect and I was spending a lot of time straightening it and then styling it into waves to get a more natural look. I also went for a much shorter cut more similar to the way I would normally wear my own hair and I am BEYOND pleased with the results. I have to say this is the first time I’ve had a weave where I still feel totally myself. In fact it looks so natural, I can’t believe I’m giving the game away by writing about it on the internet. Watch this space for more updates about my hair journey. I'd love to hear your hair stories and tips!
It's still mine because I paid for it.