If there is any hairstyle that I’m known for amongst my friends, it’d have to be box braids (or singles as I call them), specifically my black braids with green streaks. But, for the millionth time, recently I decided to be venturous with braid colors again. Up until this past summer, I have had green, orange, dark blue, burgundy, and honey blonde braids. In every case, though, these colors were all complimentary colors. My braids were predominantly black (usually a 1B) with strands of color peeking through. But then I came across this website. I had never seen so many different colors of Kanekalon hair on one screen and I wanted to try them all. I revisited that website countless times, making various pairings of colors I could see for myself until one day I finally gave in and bought a few packs of hair.
I had decided on a color scheme one would associate with the ocean. I was calling the look “becoming a siren” (because “mermaid” was too mainstream). I went through all the shades of blue and green that were available at the time, trying to create the perfect color gradient from a light tint of blue to a darker shade of green. It took me at least a week before I figured out which colors seemed to create the nice transition I was looking for. I wanted enough blue to remind you of water and marine life, but enough green to capture the actual color seawater tends to reflect (which isn’t always a commercial blue, but more of a soft turquoise). Once I was satisfied, I ended up purchasing six packs of hair. Three were green, two were blue, and one was a mix of blue, green, and a hint of purple. I also added a 7th pack later when I discovered the website also sells glow-in-the-dark-hair. I just had to have it; all or nothing, right? The hair didn’t take long at all to arrive. I ordered the hair on a Sunday and by Wednesday I was opening my mail. I was more than excited to start my hair. Seeing the packs of hair in person, you notice how vibrant the colors are and how true the colors are to their advertised picture (which can be rare in the e-commerce realm). Conveniently, I had already pampered my hair the Friday before, so my hair was in plaits. So, the coming Thursday, I decided to start my hair (in case I don’t sound impatient enough). I had a ribbed chair in my room at the time that I draped the packs of hair over, so I could keep everything separated. Installing the braids was not the difficult part. Keeping the mess to a minimum, however, was absolutely trying. But beauty has its sacrifices, and this one was well worth it in my opinion.
Just as I did the last time I used Kanekalon hair, I made sure to pre-taper the ends of each bundle of hair. I pulled up my laptop, found a good few movies, a Korean Drama series to binge, had a snack beforehand, gathered my styling tools, and got to work. The most tedious part about this go-round with braiding my own hair was separating locks of hair from their respective bundle. Once I got into a rhythm, I decided parting several pieces at a time would be more efficient. But I was also more focused on improving my technique as well. I wanted these braids to look more polished than my black and green signature look. I wanted to look like a sophisticated entity emerging from the water, preparing to seduce you and lead you to your own demise. So, try I did. I started at the front of my head, which is significantly different than anytime I style my hair. But I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I was weary I wouldn’t have enough hair (which I did) and, secondly, I wanted to judge how big I wanted my parts and braids (which I eventually stopped caring for once I went to the back of my head). Once I had gotten a general idea for how I wanted my braids to look, I fell into the rhythm of braiding and let myself relax with the sounds of a main character falling in love with their unachievable love interest. The first two back rows of braids were one consistent color. Afterwards, I finally opened my glow hair and started adding strands at the ends. The glow hair was more “piecey” than the rest of the hair, probably due to the chemicals on it that allow it to glow (a reason why it was added farthest away from my actual hair). This made it much easier to separate. I ordered the glow hair in the 12″ length, just so I’d have a feel for the hair for future reference.
Around two days, a K-Drama, several movies, and multiple bathroom and snack breaks later, I finally finished my entire head. I probably would’ve finished sooner, but I decided to be good to my body somewhere on Friday morning and actually sleep in between the process. Once I finished, the first thing I did was to give myself a nice long break from doing anything overly strenuous with my hands. If you ever want to build the muscles in your hands and wrists, I definitely recommend a braiding marathon. I think I actually went to sleep afterwards, it’s the only thing that’d make sense at least; I don’t remember doing much else during the day. In the evening, I finally went to seal the ends of my braids after doing some cleanup. Surprisingly, cleanup was minimal; it was nothing more than dusting off my bed and clothes, storing away the leftover hair, and putting all my tools back in their places. I had an old sheet lain on the floor under the chair that held my hair, so I dusted everything onto that since it was going to be washed later. After cleaning, I went to boil some water to seal my ends, did so, and towel dried as usual. My braids were uncharacteristically straight (for me, that is), so I did one last thing before turning in for the night officially. I used all the perm rods, curlers, or rollers I had to give as many braids as possible at the front of my head a bit of flare. For the back sections, I put them into big buns.
Sleeping actually wasn’t as difficult; I made sure to do the buns up in a way where I can actually lie down. By morning, I felt a bit more energized than the past few days and was excited to wake up and see my new hair. I took down the various types of curlers first and, I will say they did their jobs well. Unfortunately, using a bunch of different rollers and expecting uniformity is a little unrealistic – but I did it anyway. To make up for it, I came up with a simple, yet classy and wearable style: a classy half bun, with two streaks to frame my face and expose some of the curly texture they held. I loved everything about my hair and I couldn’t wait to leave the house and show it off. It was a Sunday, so we had church; I feel bad for wanting to be showy more so than attend church. I couldn’t help it! I actually felt confident in how I looked for once and I think I deserve a little pride here and there.
I kept in the braids in for around two months. I had great timing in when I had installed them, as it was then when we later moved. Braids are always my ideal style for pool season anyway, but more so in any case where you can’t do your usual hair regimen. I kept my scalp cleansed and hydrated as normal, also being sure to care for the length of my hair. When time came, I finally took my hair down, and I never felt so heartbroken. Is it weird to develop an emotional attachment to synthetic hair? If so, know that I am your local weirdo. I was relieved to finally be able to give my hair a good cleaning and deep condition after so long. However, I continue to miss my siren locks to this very day. Somewhere in the future I may redo them for nostalgia. But let’s not forget the numerous other colors I first saw as well. Maybe I’ll do something different with another pairing…
Colors I Used