I can’t quite remember the time frame, but it was somewhere near the middle of my first semester in college. Perhaps it was Tumblr photos or YouTube suggestions that sparked the idea, but I wanted to give faux locs another try. But this time all my own. I had wandered into a beauty store and saw this really pretty pack of lavender Kanekalon hair that I thought would do well for this particular style. I didn’t buy it right then but I kept a mental note of it. I also knew that my own hair isn’t long enough to achieve the length I wanted so I had to… well, extend it. But instead of buying a bunch of Kanekalon hair, I looked into yarn braids. This venture became two hair experiments at once. Once I finally decided to buy everything I felt I’d need, I ended up with four packs of pretty lavender hair, two packs of black hair, a large bundle of black yarn, and two lighters.
Before actually styling, I wanted to make sure I touched all bases, one of which involved preparing the yarn. I was reluctant with putting the yarn straight out of the packaging into my hair, but I wasn’t sure how I would go about washing it, since it behaves more like clothing than hair. After going through many videos on how people had prepped their yarn before installation, I decided to go my own route. I took a large tub I had in my room which was holding all of my reading books at the time, emptied it, and used it for a yarn bath. I filled it up about a third of the way with water, pouring in two or three cap-fulls of apple cider vinegar and adding drops of Tea Tree oil. I would let the yarn soak for about 30mins, checking on it every so often and moving the yarn around so as not to create layers. During this step, I was actually glad I made this decision; the water from the bath had changed from a clear, slightly yellow tint, to an increasingly more opaque black. I had figured there would be factory set dye on the yarn but I suppose I hadn’t anticipated how much. Once I felt the yarn was clean enough, I filled the tub once more with clean water, adding a few more drops of Tea Tree oil to fight away any lingering bacteria, as well as mask the vinegar scent as much as possible.
Luckily, I had decided to do this at the beginning of the week because it took just about every day after for the yarn to dry. I had draped the yarn over a hanger and let them drip onto a plastic bag. By the end of the week, they were dry enough for me to feel comfortable enough to begin braiding. Once the school day ended on Friday and I made my way home, I didn’t bother to do too much school work (at least, none that I remember). I set my bed up for braiding my hair, put on a good show (which I believe was a Korean drama), and got to it. Because I knew the wrapping part of faux locs would take long, I decided to do more of a bob length for my braids. I finished braiding rather quickly, in comparison to how long it typically takes to finish braids or singles any other time. I almost regret going through the next step because I really enjoyed my yarn braids. Not only did they frame my face nicely, I’d say they were very flexible in terms of style and aesthetics.
I started wrapping the braids from the back, as always. This was quite the task because I was having difficulty securing the hair from the root — additionally, this was the back of my head. This problem persisted through the extensive styling process. And by extensive, I don’t mean longer than a day or two. I mean, there were many times I went to school with my hair half styled between yarn braids and faux locs until my entire head was done. It was a trying process, but eventually, a week, three lighters, a sore thumb, and a K-drama later, I finished my entire head. I was, for the most part, satisfied with the look initially. I was happy that I was finished, happy that my thumb could rest, and happy that I wouldn’t have to come home and worry about another yarn braid to wrap and re-wrap. I had ran out of lavender by the time I reach the front so I did use some of my black hair. Nevertheless, the look still was pretty… initially.
Remember that I was having a problem securing the Kanekalon hair to the root? I also had this problem down the braid as well. I found myself having to readjust the Kanekalon so that the black yarn braid was not peeking through underneath. I also had the problem that the ends of the loc, where I had burned, would occasionally become unraveled. By the end of one week’s worth of wear, the entire style had begun to fall apart. As much as I love the weight and color of the style, this look had gotten out of control. Tearfully, I spent the next week removing the style — periodically hating myself, constantly criticizing myself, and regretting investing so much in a style that I had planned to wear for at least a month.
I actually think about that hairstyle a lot. I enjoyed it, though it was short lived. I’m not sure what it is but one of the reasons I love protective styles that involve extensions is to feel the weight of the hair. Those locs definitely had their fair amount of weight to them and sometimes I miss it. But I don’t see myself going through that process again. At least not any time soon. However, there is still some fun things I had the chance to do later along my timeline. I’ve always loved colorful extensions and the more I wore them, the more I wanted colorful hair. There was a time where my wish was granted…