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FEATURES Jan 5 2013 4:55PM

How I Maintain Weaves Through Transitioning and Beyond

by Danielle Gray, www.thestyleandbeautydoctor.com

There’s so many options out there when it comes to transitioning. I myself had decided back in late 2010 that I wanted a long transition.  I did okay for the first three months but then tackling the mix of straight ends and natural roots was a bit taxing for me. Then while scrolling through my Twitter timeline, I came across hairstylist Gabrielle Corney who was tweeting pictures of her flawless weave work.

I wasn’t really a weave girl before that. I would go to a local salon where I live in Queens and get a few tracks added for length, but I would get tired of it and take it out after about two weeks…lol. But Gabrielle’s work looked soooo good! She had women leaving her chair looking like divas in a magazine so I it wasn’t long before I booked an appointment with her to get the first weave of my transition.

I wanted something that looked natural and that I could easily maintain at home so I decided on Indique Relaxed Straight hair (which looked SO much like actual relaxed Black hair that many of my friends accused me of lying about transitioning…lol) and had it styled in a long bob. Maintenance was really easy because the hair could be wrapped just like my own and flat ironed easily.

When I grew bored with that style, I reused the hair but this time had Gabrielle cut it into a short sleek bob. No one could tell it was a weave which in my opinion is really the point in wearing hair extensions—it shouldn’t look like you’re wearing weave.

Then instead of continuing on with my long transition as I intended, one time in between appointments I got bored and took the short bob out myself and did a big chop. I wore the ‘fro for a good 4-5 months before I found myself bored again and in another weave…lol. This time I did something less textured and much longer than what I was used to. Gabrielle left a horse shoe shaped amount of hair out in the front and my edges (which is called the leave-out) like she typically does with my straight weaves. This is where you have to be particularly careful because you’ll be heat styling the hair to get it to blend with your extensions. Making sure you use a good heat protectant like Macadamia Heat Protection Serum is important. I also like to use the Chocolat Smoothing Blow Dry Cream to help get my smother and stay that way longer (not to mention it smells SO good). Going to the salon every two weeks is also key. Once your stylist does a good job of blending, you can maintain at home by wrapping your hair at night on a satin scarf without having to whip out the flat iron on your leave-out.

Then when I wanted a little bit of change, I started to use curly textured hair like Indique Coil Curl. I’m so happy that there are more textured options available out there in the hair extension world because it allows us to have more fun with our look while protecting our natural hair underneath. Plus since textured hair can be worn as a full-head weave, you don’t have to worry about blending  it with your own. But regardles of the texture you choose, here are some of my weave-care tips:

·       Don’t have your hair braided too tight. This can cause tension on the fragile hair strands causing them to be more susceptible to breakage. Not to mention too-tight braids really, REALLY hurt.

·       Get a texture you feel comfortable with styling. Getting a weave is not only just the initial investment on the hair and the installation, but also in the maintenance. Having to spend extra time and money either at-home or in the salon getting it styled may not be worth it.

·       Deep condtion, deep condition, deep conditon. It’s important to keep your hair conditioned under your extensions. Sometimes it’s hard to get to the scalp depending on the braid pattern which is also where something like the Scalp Soother, a long, wide-toothed tool that is curved to follow the shape of the head and allows you to scratch the scalp and remove buildup prior to and during washing, can come into play.

·       Don’t keep your extensions in longer than two months. Not only do you want to be able to give your hair a break in between weaves, but you also don’t want your own hair to start the natural dredding process which makes it very difficult to remove a weave without damaging your hair.

·       Be mindful of heat styling when you have some of your own hair left out. I would get a little overzealous with the flat iron which resulted in me having some straight pieces in the front giving me a bit of a Kramer from Seinfeld look when I wear my hair curly…lol.

·       Weaves are fun and nice for a new look, but don’t get to the point where you have to rely on them or no longer wish to wear your own hair.

Do you wear weaves, too? What are some of your hair care routines when you wear them? Share in the comments!


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