WE Exchange

WE intend to be an interactive learning community for naturals.

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Share Your Journey.

She's Ready

Obviously, I’m way overdue for a blog post…it’s been a minute. Balancing motherhood and work is no joke! Since the school year has ended, I have a moment to breathe and dive into some things that I’ve wanted to do for a while, but feared for various reasons. I recently just decided to “do it afraid,” as the saying goes because if I don’t try, I could end up living in a perpetual state of regret and y’all…I know it’s in me so, that’s not an option! It’s time to bet on myself and step out on faith.

 

With that being said, I’ll share with you guys what it is. I have been braiding hair since I was in middle school for extra change all the way into adulthood. I have mostly done box braids and some natural dos for those closest to me. I haven’t had the time recently to do anything that takes longer than a couple of hours so when I saw the opportunity to take a class from two of the most skilled braiders I’ve seen, I had to jump on it in hopes of expanding my skill set.  I took a class two weekends ago on braiding and loc techniques put on by Rare Essence Academy out of Arizona and I am beyond inspired! So much so, that I’ve even enrolled in their online courses. I learned so much from these two ladies…

 


Now, I need to put what I’ve learned to practice. Any takers...? Lol

 

In all seriousness though, I am offering natural hair services (braids, twists, locs) at introductory rates for letting me practice! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and photos. I look forward to perfecting my craft and doing something I’ve always loved!

 

Simply sharing,

Shae

I Did It!

Sisterlocked - Day 1

Sisterlocked - Day 1

I did it!!!  The last time I sat down to blog, I shared with you all that I was entertaining getting sisterlocks, and shared why I was considering making the decision to lock.  On Saturday, September 19th, I joined the sisterlock sisterhood and I want to tell you all about it!

 

First let me start by stating that while this is only my second blog on the subject, this has truly been a journey… and to think it has only just begun!  As I mentioned to you ladies in my last blog, I’ve entertained the idea for years and just starting doing some real research over the past year.  The biggest struggle in my decision making process was not IF I wanted to lock, but rather WHO I should have do them?

 

The WHO is what drove my research over the past year.  In order to make an informed decision about who I was going to have birth my locks, I needed to know and understand what sisterlocks were, the do’s & the don’ts of maintaining sisterlocks, and as much  as possible about the preparation for, and process of installing sisterlocks.  I know someone may be thinking, isn’t that the purpose of a sisterlock consultation (initial meeting with a sisterlock consultant)?  Indeed it is the responsibility of the sisterlock consultant to educate their client on sisterlocks, and help them determine if sisterlocks are best for them and their lifestyle; however, as I met with various consultants, I realized there were discrepancies in the information I was receiving, and therefore needed to do the homework for myself so that I could find someone whose knowledge lined up with what I sought out and whose work ethic/professionalism fell within my comfort zone.

 

To make a long story short, I found “the one” after several consultations, dead ends and red flags.  I plan to eventually share the pearls (of wisdom) that I learned about sisterlocks as I realized early on that there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of information out there besides general information that one could get from the official Sisterlock website.  There is so much more to learn and gain about the process than I feel was available online that I plan to share over time, but for now I just want to celebrate finally finding my happy place with my hair.

 

THIS IS TRULY A CELEBRATION!!!  For as long as I can remember I never felt like I found the “happy place” I mentioned with my hair.  I was always told how thick my hair was, and even as a relaxed beauty, professionals often had to “thin my hair out” for styling purposes.  I always felt like my hair was high maintenance and needed to be tamed by a professional, (or someone with the natural hair touch like my mom and Shae).  Even when I went natural; I loved the freedom that came with redefining beautiful for myself through my old school afro; however, I still hadn’t found happy with my hair. 

 

Before

Before

When I finally found “the one”, I experienced a sense of peace that for me, affirmed my decision to take this sisterlock route.  While it was a looooong, 26 hour process (yes, 26 straight hours), I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I got out of her chair feeling a beautiful that I had never experienced before.  My hair spoke, I listened.  The entire process, though long awaited, was worth every month, day, and minute.  I wouldn’t change any of it, as it in some way feels divine. I look forward to sharing more with you as my locks grow and mature.

After (26 hours later) 

After (26 hours later) 

As always, please share, comment or ask your questions…WE love to hear from you!

     

Simply Sharing,

Nai

Sisterlocks - Almost 2 months old

Sisterlocks - Almost 2 months old

Being a Natural, New Mommy...

WeExchangers! It’s been a long time, but if you know me in real life, then you know I have exciting news to share with you all. I am a new mommy of an 8 week old baby boy. He is everything that I prayed for and more. He has given new meaning to what it is to put someone else’s needs before my own and not think twice about it. I’d do anything for this little guy. He is my heart and he keeps me busy, which means I haven’t had much time for myself. Having said that, it should be no surprise to all you mommies out there that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my hair! This new mommy life calls for a major rethinking of my hair maintenance and quite frankly my hair has been the least of my concerns.

Throughout my pregnancy, I wore a host of protective styles inclusive of an occasional twist out. Protective styles are great options when you don’t have much time on your hands. However, since I'm now nursing, neither doing it myself nor going to the salon is an option. Just washing my hair is a tall task in the limited amount of free time I have and yes, I am that first time mommy who is not ready to leave her baby with a sitter for the amount of time it would take to go to a salon. Can we say, separation anxiety? So, what’s a girl to do?

Protective styles during pregnancy  

Protective styles during pregnancy  

My current go to style is two strand twists, which I dare not take down for a twist out. I have pulled the twists into a messy bun and also pinned them back. I’ve even washed my hair while twisted to save time, but this is getting very old to me, very quickly. I need something that will last longer and something that’s a little more stylish. Although, I’ve entertained the thought of big chopping again for the low maintenance, my hair has really grown and I’d like to maintain it somehow until I get more time on my hands to give it the attention it needs.

There are several other options to consider and please feel free to chime in if you have any ideas. I would like to re-visit my wash and go routine to see if I can accomplish it in a lesser amount of time. I could also have a stylist who does house calls to come in. Lastly, I could continue with my current situation. I’ve got to figure something out, but I will keep you guys updated and allow you a sneak peek into my new world balancing mommyhood and my hair. Smooches…

Simply sharing,

Shae

Why I'm Considering Sisterlocks

Hello Curlfriends!!!  I come before you all laying out a big decision I’ve been entertaining for quite some time now.  As I am in my second year, trekking toward my third year as a natural, I find myself still struggling with my hair in terms of day-to-day maintenance.  With that being said I’ve been giving sisterlocks HEAVY consideration and here is why… 

The first reason I’ve been considering sisterlocks is because sisterlocks are relatively low maintenance. I was totally off base in my thinking that going natural would not require as much as my relaxed hair…BIGGEST NATURAL HAIR MYTH EVER.  I thought that freedom and low maintenance came with natural hair, and while the freedom part is partly correct, the low maintenance part couldn’t be any further from the truth, as natural hair actually requires MORE maintenance, or at least that has been MY experience.  This is problematic for me as I, in general, am a low maintenance kind of chick!  Based on recent research I’ve learned that sisterlocks are pretty low maintenance.

 As of lately, I’ve been twisting my hair and wearing my twist pulled back into a ponytail.  Occasionally, I switch up this protective do by adding a twist out bang or a pompadour, but I have kept this twist thing going for about 2 or 3 months now.  On a rare occasion I take down my twists and sport a rockin’ twist out…but this is few and VERY far between as it takes a lot of time and product to get those twists back in.  I DREAD the idea of taking down my twists. The last time I twisted my hair, the testimony of a recording artist resonated with me when she stated that she locked her hair because she allowed her hair to do what it wanted to do naturally.  As I attempted to detangle my hair to prepare it for the twists, I was telling myself those same words… I should let my hair do what it wants to do naturally… Lock. 

Why sisterlocks?  I love locks in general.  I think they are beautiful, but ALL locks are not for me.  I like the fact that sisterlocks are done on a grid pattern that allows for maximum versatility with styling.  I also love the sizing options which, again, allows you to style the locks the same way you could relaxed and/or natural hair.  For these reasons I’m thinking that sisterlocks just may be for me.

Photo Cred: adzuaspa

At this point it seems like a great option for me…an option that I’ve entertained off and on since I’ve been natural.  I remember about a year into my natural hair journey I mentioned to my main curlfriend, (and WE co-founder) Shae that I was really thinking about getting sisterlocks and asked her if I seemed coo-coo for considering locks for myself.  After a lengthy convo I came to the decision that it was too early in my journey to make that type of decision with my hair.  I hadn’t worked with it enough, nor yet found the products that work for my hair.  Here it is a two and a half years later, and the thought still lingers.  This time I’ve been doing research and talking with people.  As I’ve wandered on my natural hair journey these last few years the more I research and talk to people… the more I think that I may have FINALLY found the path for which I should take with my hair, especially since relaxers are ALL THE WAY OUT (and I grow increasingly frustrated, bored, or weary with the daily maintenance of my hair).  As I continue to do my homework on sisterlocks, I will more than likely begin a sisterlock series on WE Exchange chronicling my findings, my journey… and eventually my decision.

Until next time ladies, please share your thoughts, questions, or feedback with us.  WE love to hear from you!

 Simply Sharing,

Nai

To Trim or Not To Trim

I have been natural for three years and within those three years, I have had my hair professionally trimmed four times.  My first trim was one year post big chop. I then got a trim nine months later and eight months after that, I got my third. My most recent trim was four months later and leaves me where I am presently: in need of a trim! There are so many theories out there on how frequently you should trim your hair that I feel the need to trim on a more frequent basis even though I’ve had pretty decent ends, given the span of time between trims.  I know it seems very sporadic and inconsistent, but I have had some real fears about the process of getting my hair trimmed. It’s not from getting the trim itself, but the process that precedes the trim and the variations based on the stylists’ preferences. A major part of my hesitation stems from not having a stylist that I can completely entrust my natural tresses to.

My first trim at 1 year post BC!

My first trim at 1 year post BC!

2nd Trim

2nd Trim

The very first time I got a trim was from the stylist who cared for my hair when it was relaxed. She flat ironed it, trimmed it and it was gorgeous. However, I received a small amount of heat damage as a result of the flat ironing. The second time, I went to a stylist whose clientele consisted of a majority of naturals. So, I felt reassured and again I was well pleased with the outcome. I was never fully comfortable with flat ironing a second time, for fear I would leave with more heat damage. I didn’t receive heat damage that particular time, but flat ironing was still not what I preferred. However, it was the stylist's belief that she needed to flat iron the hair so that she could do a precise cut. Subsequently, I continued to search and found a stylist who used minimal heat. This particular stylist did not use flat irons. Instead, she did a blowout prior to trimming. I was pleased with the outcome and even more so, the growth. Based on these stylists’ opinions, my hair was in good condition. Although, one recommended getting trims every 3 months or so, I had managed to grow my hair at what I considered a good rate in spite of not getting frequent trims. Although the last stylist is the one I would return to because she uses less heat, I am still left wondering if the trim was precise enough.

3rd Trim

3rd Trim

So, here I am now in need of a trim, but I am not yet completely comfortable with a stylist. I am a do it yourself type when it comes to styles and other forms of hair maintenance. However, trimming is the one thing that I would like to leave to the professionals.  Although I have managed to grow my hair out successfully thus far, I would like to be more consistent with my trimming habits.

I guess the moral of the story is…when it comes to the topic of trimming YOUR natural hair, do your research and what makes you comfortable. There are many theories out there, but I believe it depends on your hair and how you care for it. As you progress in your journey and learn more about your hair, you will probably be able to tell when it’s time for you to trim. For me, my hair tends to tangle more at the ends and I get a lot of single strand knots.  I just don’t believe that there is a cookie cutter answer in terms of how often you should trim.

I hope to find the answer to my quest soon. So, stay tuned for updates! Also, let us know if you have a stylist in the Houston area that you would recommend. Feel free to email us at weExchange@mail.com. WE naturals, sound off!!!

Simply sharing,

Shae

Preservation Mode

Hello Curlfriends!


It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to do this... with that, there is soooo much to share.  First, I am at a point in my journey where I am in preservation mode.  It has been almost 2 years since my big chop, and I struggle daily with the haunting question of “what am I going to do with my hair”... or at least I did.


Anyone who knows me knows that I am that girl that will switch my hair up in a blink, from cut to color.  This past year has been somewhat trying as I’m still trying to get to know my hair- from typing, to products that work for me...should I braid out or twist out.  First attempt at new dos typically are a failure for me so I find myself stuck in the land of “what to do with my hair”.  This creates an all too familiar feeling of boredom... a boredom that in the past typically resulted in a drastic hair switch up, and so I find myself consistently trying to resist falling back into what I know; resisting that itch to just chop it all off or WORST... relaxing it.


So what do you do when you have run into a dry spell in your journey and are about ready to throw in the towel???  The solution is simple...protective styling.  Protective dos protect your hair, provides the opportunity for it to grow all while figuring out what your hair goal is.  


So what is a protective do?  It’s pretty much self explanatory, it’s a hair do that you sport that doesn’t require a lot of manipulation of the hair thus protecting the hair resulting in growth.  Protective dos will require some maintenance, just not much.  Long term protective dos give you a break from the daily hassle of dealing with what some mistakenly consider low maintenance (natural) hair.  


Protective dos also gives you the chance to do some research.  It can be extremely beneficial to find people in the natural hair community whose hair looks  similar to yours, someone that you can follow and consider your inspiration (afterall, if they did it, so can you).  Doing this research and following these hair mentors (aka hairspirations), will help you to set goals for your hair in terms of length, color and style.  Having an idea of where you are going in this hair journey can help motivate you to keep moving at those times when you may feel clueless as to what to do or where to go next with your hair.


18 inch box braids

18 inch box braids

My first protective do was long Repunzel braids that literally ran down mid thigh.  While I absolutely LOOOVED my braids, they were no light weight.  I wore them about 3 months before I let them go. It was certainly hard to say goodbye to my 18 inch braids, but when I did say goodbye boy did I see growth!


THIS GROWTH BROUGHT ME LIFE!!!  This was a forgotten benefit of braids that came as a pleasant (and welcomed) kick in the pants renewing my commitment to my healthy NATURAL hair journey. I’ve been in protective mode ever since.  Which brings me to my new protective do kick...WIGS!  

Wig worn as a half wig

Wig worn as a half wig


I have never received so many compliments on “my hair” and how natural it looks (blog coming soon on how to rock that wig naturally).  I am a single parent of two as well as a first year teacher and have very little time for anything that doesn’t have to do with my kids or my students.  Wigs offer the get up and go convenience, versatility, and most importantly protection.


So ladies if you find yourself in a rut in your natural hair journey, before you find yourself entertaining the thought of going back to the creamy crack, try some protective styling first.  This will stop you from making such a drastic move, will allow you time to research a hair mentor and come up with your hair goals, and offer your hair protection and time to grow. Need help finding that perfect wig that offers you a natural look... looking for ideas on how to wear /style your wig so it looks natural and much like your own... then look out for my next blog;) Till then coils and curls...Be you, We true... 


Simply sharing, 

~Nai

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