Remy, Brazilian, Human, Parisian? No matter who, what, when, where, or how, the ongoing world hunger for exotic hair has now plagued our society more now than ever before. Although ancient Egyptians once wore weaves far before the 1800s, fake hair was often frowned down upon in other countries causing women to be very discrete when it came to their wig-wearing ways. However, this all changed when the late 1800’s rolled around and weaves made it’s declaration of independence, now being accepted by post modern day society. Women (and politicians, alike) celebrated and cheered “hip hop, hoor-wave“, while rocking innovative bundles of hair high to the sky while attending fancy balls in super tight corsets. Women felt more regal than ever before- not so much worrying about the length of the fake tresses but instead the weight and height of them.

However, by the time the 1920’s swung around, less became more and hair weaves essentially became faux pas. During this time, rocking what you actually had was well respected and admired and natural hair in the form of fros and permed bobs began roaming the city streets. Granted weaves didn’t completely die out, in fact, some women still wore hair weaves even throughout the late 1900’s, but there was still more focus on hair health.

It’s no wonder why the women of our time, from the 1970’s to the early 1990’s, either rocked fierce short cuts- curled, faded, and spritzed to perfection, or silky wraps with that part that hadn’t been realigned for weeks.

Fast forward to the 2000’s and you see a whole lot heads glazed in bundles of silky (and not so silky) 20″+ hair, in all the colors of the rainbow. And although I’m not bashing sew-ins, glue-ins, clip-ins, weaves, or wigs — I am sending this PSA (along with a prayer) to the hair that lies beneath it all. A tribute to the less respected and less acknowledged kinks and coils of joy dying of dehydration, heat, and suffocation below that cap. Along with a tribute to those strands in a choke hold by that $1 neverending beauty string.

About five or six years ago, I got a sew-in that made me feel like a million bucks. (Thank God, I’ve redefined the source of my worth). That was until I took that sew-in out and thought I had cut my hair. I literally spent three hours looking for my hair amongst the bags of old, oily, and tangled hair I had just removed. Where did my bra-strap length hair go and why was my hair stopping at my neck?! -inserts straight faced emoji-. Yes y’all, five inches of my hair had fallen out.

What I thought was a good looking weave was really one heck of a hot mess. Ignorance is bliss because I was blissful in my ignorance and in the end I was left so sad. And I can only laugh at it now because I now understand how simple it is to actually care for your hair even while rocking extensions. Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help you keep your real hair protected while you get your weave on.

NOT TOO TIGHT CHILD First and foremost, if you’re going to be getting braids of any sort, be sure to make sure that they’re not too tight. Yes, your braids being tight may make you feel more secure, however, the tension may also cause damage to your hair. Let’s take my hair for example, I have fine hair, meaning that it isn’t the thickest, therefore tight braids, although easy to do, actually causes more damage to my hair. I know some women who can have super tight braids and be okay, listen to your hair to know what works best for you. In my case, the first time I listened to my hair, I lost 5-6 inches of it. Where did I first go wrong? I allowed my stylist to braid my hair beyond tight. Surprisingly I didn’t lose any hair along my edges like exhibit a to the right, however I did lose my poor old ends.
STRENGTHEN THAT THANG Another thing I like to do before getting a sew in is a protein treatment. Protein strengthens the hair, so a simple protein treatment really works wonders. You can read this post I wrote about ORS Hair Mayonnaise and other hair desserts under $10. My hair loves it and its creamy goodness really makes my hair strong. I also love using Aphogee’s 2-Step Treatment.
PARCHED HAIR, BREAKS Moisture is going to be your best friend no matter how you’re weaving it up. Well, if you’re gluing your hair you can’t really do much without messing with the integrity of the glue– so moisturize at your own risk. Be sure that you’ll be able to moisturize your hair on a weekly basis. I love filling this bottle up with oils (mainly coconut oil because it penetrates the actual hair shaft), and squeezing it throughout my braids. The little nozzle is thin and long enough to really get in there. It can usually be found fo one dollar at your local beauty supply. That time I lost all of that hair, I never moisturized my hair — not once. So it was extremely dry causing my brittle ends to fly like dust in the wind.
GIVE IT A BATH I recommend washing your braids. Yes, I said washing your hair even with your weave/extensions in. There are many videos on YouTube that will walk you through the steps and processes necessary but I truly recommend that this rejuvenating wash be done with conditioner, shampoo, and/or apple cider vinegar to reopen your pores. Cleaning the hair is a great way to allow it to start fresh. I usually wash my hair once every one to two weeks when I’m rocking my extensions.
INVESTING GOES A LONG WAY | BAPTIZE YOUR EXTENSIONS Make the investment. Spending $200-$300 on extensions is well worth it. I recommend this because, my better quality hair has lasted me as long as a year. It’s washable and there are even some hair dressers who will gladly wash, hang dry / blow dry, and flat iron them for you (for a price of course). Again, get on YouTube and learn how to baptize your extensions. Make them new and whole.
LET IT GO BOO Don’t keep your extensions in too long. I say 6 weeks is the absolute max, but again this depends on you. Your hair needs time to breathe so give it some TLC and some O2.

Do you have any tips for Weaving Wisely & Responsibly?