One of the gifts–and I do mean gifts–of this journey has been my ability to pass on my love for my hair, and moreover, my love for me, to our girls. As crazy as it sounds now, I will admit that as recently as three years ago, I often couched straightening the hair, and eventually perming the hair, as a rite of passage, i.e., something that would definitely happen as they got older. I can remember the oldest taking great pride in getting her hair flat-ironed once she turned 13, and I, who fostered this love of straight hair, ran out and got the hottest flat-iron money could buy so that her hair would be bone straight. I realize now how flawed this thinking was, and I am so thankful for the grace that did not allow me to ruin her impressions of her natural hair while I adjusted my own. Yet, she does not share my same passion for hair care and hair styling. While I began combing and styling my own hair–well— as early as 5th grade, our oldest has happily let me take full care of her hair, and doesn’t touch it unless she thinks it has gotten too frizzy or dry, etc. But. with her leaving for college in a matter of months, those days are coming to an end, and our “hair time” together has been me backing off and teaching her how to take the proverbial wheel, so to speak. Having said all of that, you can imagine my surprise when she sent me a couple of hair vlogger’s videos and said, “Mom, what do you think about this??!!”
The fro-hawk just did not work for her–period. It was cute, but given the length of her hair, it simply looked like a half-up, half-down style. So we moved on–to the fishtail braid.
I had only seen this braid done on dry, stretched hair, and so I decided to thread her hair first in order to give it a day to dry, and to stretch it out for length’s sake.
Girls Love Your Curls is one of my absolute favorite You Tubers on natural hair. She does not have a wealth of videos, but she puts on a true production, complete with skits and a variety of characters, all performed by her, in a number of her videos. You won’t see that in this particular video, but she does explain the Ghanian (African) threading technique and how it gives the appearance of permed hair and really shows off the length, if you’re into that. I love the threading technique moreso for our younger daughter, but not for its stretching capacity; I am at peace with the idea that shrinkage is par for the course for natural black hair. Besides, the first thing most women do when they want to gauge the success of my transition is to pull my hair and see how long it actually is. That action speaks volumes about what we as a race of women truly value in hair, but okay. In the meantime, Girls Love Your Curls’ wisdom is on point. The technique really does stretch the hair and give it a blown-dry appearance without heat.
However, the look we were going for was the fishtail braid. You can find the braiding technique here, among other places. Honestly, I wish I possessed a mere ounce of this type of creativity.
My husband called her Pippy Longstocking, but I don’t remember Pippy’s braids being this fancy!! For a better picture of a fishtail braid on a different type of hair, see this post.
As often happens with children of the same womb, our youngest is 180 degrees different from the oldest; she is a born stylist.
This was a braid she did herself about a year ago (at 8 years old!!), and it’s darn near perfect. She might do as I did with my mom, and take the reigns early on.
In the meantime, I had fun learning for the oldest’s benefit, and she had fun with her new style–so much fun in fact, that now she’s found all-new styles for me to try! Pray for me, friends, pray hard 🙂 !!!!!