I went to my hairdresser to get my oil + steam treatment, shampoo, etc. and hair re-braided. In preparation for the visit I decided to take my cornrows out myself so that I could do a little detangling and release the shed hairs since my hair has been braided for 4 weeks.
I wanted to take my braids out myself as an experiment to see if it would reduce the amount of tangling that I have when I get my hair braided at the salon (I don't have a lot of tangling, but I don't want any!). The long and short of the story is, when I go to the salon, my stylist does not comb my hair, at all. Which is a good thing for the most part, but by not combing my hair and depending on the shampoo and finger combing to get the shed hairs out, I wonder if she's getting them all? Any shed hair left in my head hangs onto the "good" hair and creates knots. So that's why I'm trying to experiment on what the best approach is - me detangling at home first, or going to the salon and following her process.
I'm glad I decided to do my hair myself because I learned a few lessons:
- My hair is DRY! Don't ask my how/ why because this was baffling to me. I did not M&S before taking out my hair, but I would think the fact that I do heavy M&Sing on a daily basis would mean something? Not so much. The only part of my hair that wasn't dry were the end of my braids and back of my hair where the oil collects (gravity at work), and the part closest to the root because I oil my scalp daily. I mentioned in an earlier post that I didn't love the moisturizer that I was using and this just confirmed that I need to find a new one because it's not moisturizing anything!
- Aloe Vera Juice (AVJ) did not save the day for me. I have heard so many great things about AVJ so I was really excited to use it during this process. I have been mixing AVJ with African Braid Spray and using this as my daily moisturizer. When I started using this mix, I assumed it was the African Braid Spray that was throwing the moisture off, but after using AVJ by itself yesterday to try to detangle, I noticed that this is what's making my hair feel weird and dry after I use the moisturizer. I will give the AVJ another try just to make sure that I'm correct, but I think I may have to write this off once I finish using what I have.
- My hair NEEDS to be damp when detangling. I NEVER detangle my hair when it's dry, so why did I think it was a good idea this time? Instead of a light bulb going off in my head to empty the spray bottle of AVJ and add water instead to help detangle my hair, I decided to try the AVJ for two braids, slap on some Amla & Olive Heavy Cream, spray some grapeseed oil and hope that somewhere along the way my hair would soften up enough to successfully comb out - EPIC FAIL! By the time I got to the last two braids, I sprayed my hair with water to dampen it and the comb just glided through.
- I think I may have caused some breakage by combing my hair while dry. Initially I was only seeing shed hair which is to be expected. But by the last few braids, I started seeing breakage, but I think that's because my hair was bone dry and I was trying to comb it out. After I dampened my hair, there were no more small pieces. I hope I don't pay for this mishap by having to get a deeper trim in April when I relax again.
- When I actually got my hair done, the proof was in the pudding...my stylist has such a hard time braiding my hair because it was so tangled! She had to work A LOT harder than usual to braid my hair.
So the key takeaways are that I MUST find a better moisturizer to use with my braids and I will not be "detangling" my hair again at home before getting it done. The most I will do is unbraid my hair, but no combing. I caused more harm than good in the end. I wouldn't have known the outcome had I not tried it, but lesson learned!