After wearing the same protective hairstyle for almost a month, it was time to say goodbye to that style and move into a new one. Normally our routine involves removing a hairstyle, washing, detangling, moisturizing, and restyling. However, when going from a very complicated protective hairstyle that will take a few hours just to remove, we go about things much differently. It not only cuts down on time, but it's also a lot less hair manipulation: A win-win in my book!
As you can see, Boo's first-day-of-kindergarten hairstyle lasted really well, especially considering that we got a good month out of it and only had this much in terms of fuzzies:
It stayed nicely protected and her ends were not dry at all. Her hairline looked in good shape, as well, so we were really pleased with the longevity we got from the style. In fact, we probably could have let it go for another week or so, but we have family photos coming up and we wanted to have a fresh style for them. Besides, I'm all about giving Boo's scalp a rest after wearing braided or twisted hairstyles like this, so that's what we did.
Washing With the Hairstyle InInstead of first removing the hairstyle and then washing the hair, we washed Boo's hair while she was still wearing the cornrows. This actually makes it very easy for us to make sure her scalp is cleaned, as the parts of her scalp most exposed to product and the elements is still the most exposed part to the shampoo and conditioner. I've outlined how to wash hair before removing the style in a separate post, so please see that if you need further instructions on how to do so.
Removing the Braids and CornrowsAfter the hair was both washed and conditioned, we set about the long task of removing the tiny braids. Again, I've already documented our tips and tricks for removing small braids with both written instructions found here, and video instructions found here. Please see those posts if you need more details on how we do it.
Finger Detangling Each SectionInstead of removing the whole hairstyle and then detangling (which it didn't really need much of, since keeping it in braids actually keeps the hair detangled), I finger detangled the sections as I went along, adding our moisturizing product into the hair while doing so.
Because the style was in for several weeks, I expected quite a few shed hairs so that wasn't a big deal. The whole point of the finger detangling was to make sure that these shed hairs were removed so that they wouldn't get tangled in the hair and eventually lock. Other than removing the shed hairs and working product through the hair, there really wasn't much to the whole detangling process.
Restyling One Section At a TimeAs mentioned above, we did not remove the whole hairstyle and detangle at one time. After each section (or a couple of sections, depending on where we were on her head) was removed, detangled, and moisturized, that area was immediately re-set into two-strand twists. The benefit in doing this is that the hair never had a chance to go from being detangled into getting tangled. It also didn't have a chance to dry out. Lastly, and the big bonus in my book, the hair required very little manipulation going from one style to the other, which minimizes breakage.
Banding To Lengthen the Twists While DryingAfter finishing a whole section of twists, I banded them together while they dried, just to preserve their length a bit. Boo has quite a bit of shrinkage and I wanted her twists to stay elongated while dry, just in case I needed to pull them up into a ponytail for school or something.
Finished Two-Strand TwistsThis whole process of going from the complicated cornrowed "french braids" into this simple style of two-strand twists took a half a day (with breaks) to complete (which is record time, in my humble opinion). The most complicated part was, as always, removing the tiny braids; I always take care not to rush through that part, as I don't want to accidentally break any of her hair during the process.
When all the boxes where set, I took the front boxes and lightly twisted them together into a headband, so that they would stay out of her face.
I just finished the twist on the other side and let it fall behind her ear:
We're very thankful that we got a month out of her previous hairstyle and are also grateful for the chance to give her scalp a rest, with a hairstyle that doesn't have any tension. Her hair is feeling healthy and moisturized, so I think we're doing well. After family photos next week (for which she'll probably be wearing a twist-out), we will likely go back into another protective style. The weather here is hot and dry (as it normally is this time of year) and I really want to keep her ends tucked away from the heat and the inevitable loss of moisture that this weather often brings.
Hopefully this post illustrated how you can cut down on time going from one hairstyle by eliminating unnecessary steps in the process. Knowing that you can eliminate the need to detangle a whole head of hair after washing is very helpful when faced with a time-crunch and/or the daunting task of removing a hairstyle that you know is going to take a long time.