Braids Gone Bye-bye

After just three weeks, I took a head full of micros down. Yeah I know but here’s the whole story…

As the weather turns so does my hair — against me that is. Well maybe I shouldn’t say that or feel that way but I do. So there it is. Me and my hair don’t seem to get along so well in the wintertime. In the three years that I’ve been wearing my hair loose and natural (as opposed to kooked up under pounds of synthetic hair fashioned into microbraids), I came to the conclusion last year that my hair just doesn’t do as well in cooler drier weather — that means fall, winter and most of the spring. Damn, here in the midwest that’s nearly 9 months out of the year. Instead, my hair simply thrives in hot humid weather, and it’s when I love my hair best. In the summer, glycerin, the best humectant in the world as far as I’m concerned, combined with water just makes my hair so soft and pliable and ever so cooperative. During this time of year, my hair will stay moisturized for days on end with just a single application of moisturizer. Yes it shrinks to high heaven, but since I keep it in twists all the time, and my hair is fairly long, I still get shoulder-length twists. In short, as long as I give it what it wants, me and my strands are in total synch.

Then in the fall, as the weather cools down and the stiff winds start to blow and the air turns arid, me and my hair are no longer one with nature. Hmmm, on second thought, maybe we are cause as soon as it turns cold, my hair becomes as dry as a sponge that hasn’t seen water in a million years. So with that in mind as fall approached this year, I decided I’d just survive the winter by wearing microbraids till spring. My plan was to get it braided, wear it for three months, take it down in early January, get it redone and leave it up until April. By then, I reasoned I’d be ready for my hair, and I’d have three new inches taboot.

Happy Birthday to Me! See how the hair is hanging, it's excrutiating cause it's itching so badly. I couldn't wait to try and get this stuff up off my neck and my back. Uggghhh!

Yeah…was definitely the golden ticket! So I rounded up about $30 for some synthetic hair, called up my braider and made an appointment. Got my braids done Oct. 18th…sat for nine hours and aftwards, I was soooo glad they were finally done. Yipee! I shoulda been happy — right?

Hmmm…and I thought I was. Dispite the fact that my poor scalp was aching beyond belief and the hair felt unusually and unbelievably heavier than a ton of bricks on my head, I just figured my scalp would recover, and I adjust and happiness with my new do was just a matter of time. By Tuesday or so, I’d be my old self again and I’d be enjoying my new micros just like old times.

But that never happened. Although my scalp stopped aching after a couple of days (well sorta), I never got used to the weight of all that hair. It just weighed and pulled at my scalp like someone was constantly tugging at it. I could never find a comfortable way to wear it. My trusty ponytail, like you see in this picture never alleviated the stress or the weight. To top it all off, the brand of synthetic hair that I chose was scratchy and horribly itchy both on my scalp and against my skin. Especially when it was hanging down, like what you see in the picture, the ends would penetrate my close and prick me and make me itch. The back of my neck was being rubbed raw and was irritated. And what’s more, I could even see where one of my braids was actually pulling my hair out by the root at the hairline leaving a slick bald spot. Uh oh…not good, not good not good.

Now I’ve always used synthetic hair and honestly, I’ve never had a particular loyalty to any particular brand AND I’ve never experienced anything like this before. When I first transitioned, I opted to do so with micros. I loved them so much that I just kept my hair braided for three straight years with no break. I’d get it braided, wear it for three months, take it down on a Friday, wash it on Saturday, get it braided on Sunday and be good to go on Monday. But moving back to my hometown threw a wrench in this schedule because the unreliabilty of my braider made it impossible to keep my hair done. So out of necessity, I had to learn to wear my hair sans braids, and I’ve been doing so, quite successfully and happily for over three years.

That’s why I figured this would be a great option and opportunity to give myself a break from my hair for a while. Guess I was wrong cause three weeks later, I was totally miserable and there were times that I simply wanted to snatch my braids out of/offa my head!

So very reluctantly, I knew they had to go, but trying to psych myself up to taking them down was another matter. But one day after a particularly bad day of wrestling and trying to wrangle my hair into some sort of style, I had had it. On an impromptu whim, Wednesday before election day, I got a wild hair (yes the pun was intended), and spent six hours, from 6 to midnight, taking the middle down. I put my loose hair into a big plait and pulled the remaining braids into a ponytail around that plait and took myself to work. Even with two handfulls of braids gone, this stuff was still heavy on my head. Nevertheless, I figured I’d wait and take the rest down over the weekend.

Ha! Not to be. On election day, I got off work at noon, voted, worked the polls and went home to settle in and watch the returns starting about 4 p.m. That’s when it occured to me that this would be a great time to take down more of my hair. But dummy me, I really don’t know what I was thinking, I started taking some hair down in the front and the next thing I knew I was committed to having to take ALL the remaining braids AND style it to wear to work the next day.

Boy this was going to be a long night…especially since on more than one occasion, my efforts were interrupted for one reason or another. And when Barrack became the projected winner I totally forgot about taking my hair down. Since I live in the midwest, it was a little after 10 when I stopped to celebrate Barrack’s win, (screaming and crying and calling folks and whatnot…y’all know how it was so don’t play me LOL!), and I didn’t remember to get going again until close to midnight so I was up til about 2 or maybe even 3 a.m. when I finally pulled the very last micro out of my hair.

Whew! Man that felt good.  I did a quickie moisturizing job, put on a silk bonnet and got a few hours of sleep. In the morning, my only option was a puff. It was soooo cute, and I was soooo happy to have my loose hair back and feel my own texture again. I wore it like that for the rest of the week. I washed it that Saturday and got back into the grove of styling my hair again.

Needless to say, well I guess that’s not quite true cause I do feel the need to say it, I ain’t NEVAH gonna do that again. I don’t know why this was such a horrible experience but it was. And to top it off, I have discovered a few more spots along my hairline where the shear weight of these braids literally ripped my hair out. These areas not very big or very noticeable but these dang things did do a little bit of damage. Had I kept them in as long as I had intended, Lord knows I’d probably have had even more damage to contend with.

So what did I learn from all this, I’d rather deal with my own hair and all of the challenges than go through all of this ever again. It so wasn’t worth the time, the money, the aggravation or the risk of the health of my scalp just to “take a break” from my beautiful hair ever again.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I just remembered that I’m out of moisturizer. ***Sigh*** Guess I’ll pick up some tomorrow after I get off work.

Ok…that was a happy sigh! Welcome back hair!

2 Responses to “Braids Gone Bye-bye”
  1. Tiffanie M. Jones says:

    I have micros currently and I should be taking them out in a few weeks (after Thanksgiving). Im a college student and of course we look for quick, easy ways to wear our hair. Im also natural and I wanted to give my hair a break from the winter. Anyway, the right side of my hair is thinning as a result of the microbraids. DO you know how I should fix this problem (Im taking out the braids, and never getting them again). What products and care do you recommend for me?

  2. nappyme says:

    Hi Tiffanie,
    Aside from taking them down and never getting them again, you can try products (or mix up your own) that contain essential oils that may stimulate growth. Some to consider are pepermint, rosemary (DON’T USE IF YOU’RE PREGNANT!!!), ylang-ylang and basil.

    You may search the net for more information on mixing your own stuff up… I’m personally too lazy to do this. But this should get you started.

    Good luck!

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