That is one of the determining factors before getting my hair braided based on a recommendation the other one is by observation; observing the braided do on the recommenders head. I have heard this phrase all my life and use it all the time, it is very usual among my friends and family to see someone with a nice braided do and ask where they got it done and the next question asked is “Does she have good hands” we rarely ask if the braider in question has bad hands the person with the do will be the one to let you know. The only time the bad hands question is referenced is if someone comes back from a braiding session with a throbbing headache, has a sleepless night and develops tension bumps from braids done too tightly. Then you say “Oh she has bad hands” referring to the braider, which is usually more of a statement than a question anyway. In one of the few languages I speak literally translated the question is asked “Does she have soft hands?” or “Are her hands painful?” My advice to anyone getting the hair braided by a new person is tell them exactly what to do i.e. “don’t grip the hair too tightly, don’t braid the baby hair” and also say something if they are handling your hair and scalp roughly, things like that will determine whether or not you will be needing painkillers for that throbbing headache when you get home. I have had my hair braided by people so gentle (two people imagine that!) I almost fell asleep and some so rough that I had to ask for someone else to take over midway. If you happen to get braids a little too tight one way to get relief is to dip a clean face towel or any small size towel into some warm water and use that to pat down the areas that feel tight.
As a general rule I rarely get my hair braided by someone whose work I have never seen of course there are exceptions to this and I sometimes out of desperation take chances hope and pray for the best. But this is very rare I haven’t been in that kind of situation in years and when I did the outcome hasn’t been too bad save for one occasion where this lady bragged about how she was the best braider around etc and went ahead to create a hot mess on my head needless to say her work was out of my head in less than a week! I love braided dos be they cornrows, twists, individual braids etc I love them all. They are my go to style when I need a break from my hair, need a change of style or trying to restore the health and length of my hair after breakage or damage which led to thin ends, lost inches or uneven length. I was brought up with the knowledge that other than being good styles for when your hair needed a break braids were the best way to grow hair. Of course everyone grows hair (barring a medical condition) otherwise they would be no need for retouch’s/touch ups neither would barbershops be in existence but for some reason people thought and some still think that braids make their hair grow faster. Since being on my official HHJ I know that this is due to the fact that your hair is not being manipulated as much and has a stronger chance of retaining length and also because hair is covered up for a long period the length is more noticeable once the braids are out. Problem is all the people including myself who ran to braids to regain lost length almost never retained the length because once our hair was back to normal we simply went back to the very same hair practices that led to breakage and the need to braid up in the first place. A never ending cycle which for me, has come to an end with the onset of my HHJ. Because of this knowledge I was never really bothered with damaged hair because I knew it would bounce right back after a few months of nothing but braided dos. It was always a case of “me: my hair is breaking/damaged!” and the reply would always be “friend/relation: just braid it up it will be back to normal in no time” and it worked. I was just trying to imagine how much length I would have retained if I knew then what I know now…
I love weaves too even though I haven’t worn one in almost a year and a half this was a personal challenge for myself I was becoming too dependent on weaves and my hair was suffering seeing as I don’t do full head weaves. I always have leave out hair which is the one that is left behind while the rest of the hair on my head is thriving. I don’t like full head weaves simply because for every beautiful closure I see there are three tacky bumpy looking closures staring at me, and I don’t want to be walking around looking like I have a mop on my head! Depending on what style and weave I wore most people couldn’t tell if the hair was all mine or bought thanks to the leave out hair. I wish I was more receptive to wigs (any wigs other than lace fronts) maybe I could have used them instead of having to leave out hair each time I got a weave installed. I am trying to love wigs and been planning on getting one for emergency incase of really bad hair days for a while now but I haven’t gotten round to doing it. My phobia is that the wig will fall off my head or someone will yank it off my head silly I know but the fear has been enough to make me not wear wigs or even half wigs I have never worn either in my life ever and look forward to the day I will be able to rock one confidently. That same fear is the one that has me sticking close to ten bobby pins in my clip in drawstring pony when I am wearing one! Hair extensions of all kinds be they in the form of braids, weaves or wigs when done well and properly cared for are amazing in terms of style versatility and not only black women do extensions thank you very much other races do too especially wigs, they are just worn more by us. So whatever you choose, rock your extensions with style:)
HHJ: Health Hair Journey