Yinka’s Braids – A Review

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

This post is a review on hair styling services by Yinka of Yinka’s braids.

Selfishly I almost didn’t write this post because I don’t want Yinka to get so busy that she can’t do my hair anymore. However that’s not really supporting a sista now is it?  I met Yinka at NHW 2014 in London, we had a lovely chat and we exchanged business cards. I liked her work illustrated on her card so a few months later I gave her a call.

I wanted my hair to be canerowed and two-strand twisted without extensions, Yinka explained that as she currently does not have a salon she is unable to offer “wet services” that was fine with me, so we made an appointment and around a week later I detangled, cleansed and conditioned my hair,  hopped on my bike and made my way to Yinka.

  Yinka’s place is welcoming, clean and comfortable. Before getting started on the actual styling Yinka assessed the health of my hair and gave me a mini consultation. Yinka is natural herself and has fine hair – like me so she understands the struggles of not making the hair look “gappy” once the style is finished, in addition Yinka is sooo gentle. I’m used to my natural hair being handled roughly by braiders because they are not used to – or don’t like dealing with natural hair. A lot of braiders are only concerned about the finished look of the style and are not concerned about the health of your hair or damage from manipulation. Yinka did not insist on working on dry stretched hair, she was happy to work on my hair while damp and only used a comb for parting, any tangles we came across along the way Yinka gently finger detangled them just like I would.

PicMonkey Collage (4)

These small fine canerows did not hurt a bit and I loved the style so much, it was a lovely protective style, as you can see I also wore my twists in a bun to protect my ends even more. Since my first appointment I have seen Yinka regularly for twisted and braided styles. Prices start from £20.00 but are individual and based on the length of your hair or extensions and the complexity of the style, I can confirm that Yinka’s prices are very reasonable and very good value for money.

Yinka also braids with extensions and installs kinky twists, Men and children are also welcomed for hair styling services.       I know many of you twist/braid your own hair but I do not have the skill to style my hair as neatly or quickly as Yinka can – even if I could I wouldn’t do it because I don’t believe we are designed to do styles on our hair that take more than an hour maximum. If we were supposed to style our own hair for hours and hours we would have been born with an extra set of eyes to enable us to see the back of our heads clearly ( I don’t know where these eyes would be placed)  and we would have a different type of shoulder joint so our arms didn’t ache so much.

Jokes aside I honestly believe that hair dressing and styling especially of natural African/Afro/Black/highly textured hair should be a special bonding experience. Hair is very personal and has spiritual meaning for a lot of people. In some cultures including my own there are many beliefs related to hair and you are warned not to let just anybody handle your precious tresses.

Ms Yinka Herself.  photo credit Yinkas Braids

Ms Yinka Herself.
photo credit Yinkas Braids

I am very happy to continue to have my hair styled by Yinka and she is extremely talented at what she does, Yinka is happy to chat while she works if you want to talk but she can also sense when I’m too tired to talk or I’m engrossed in my book, there’s no pressure to keep talking the whole time.

To see more photos of Yinka’s work and to like her facebook page – click here

Yinka is based in London and can be contacted on 07869554529.

@yinkas_braids on Instagram

Thanks for Reading




Update on My Protective Styling Challenge

Hello my Cakers, Bakers & Beauties!

So I haven’t written about my hair for a while, this is not because something drastic happened I just don’t want to bore you!

Natural Looking Twists

Natural Looking Twists

After I removed the natural looking twists, I did a real protein treatment and then assessed the state of my hair, it was in good condition and still strong and supple with no traces of  traces of traction alopecia, so I went for the pick and drop style braids I mentioned before.

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The layers were a bit off, so I cut the bottom layer in the end.

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These took around 6 hours to put in and my Sister-in-Law – Deborah installed them for me, we used 5 packs of the same Aftress Fingeroll Hair that I wore in the summer on my trip to the Dominican Republic . Before installing the braids I  cleansed and air dried the hair before the install. You can read about how to cleanse your hair extensions here. Each pack of hair is only £2.99 so it’s an economical option for extensions.

I asked Deborah to braid my hair while it was damp as my hair is easier to work with while it’s damp and is more supple therefore less prone to breakage from manipulation. I wore the braids for about 5 weeks I washed my hair once per week I was working out on a regular basis 2-4 hours per week and I was paranoid about my hair smelling if I didn’t wash it .

After I took those braids out it was just before Christmas and I wanted to wear my own hair out during the Christmas Period so I did my hair in two strand twists for a few days. To protect my ends, I put my twists into a small high bun then I used Afro kinky extensions to create a faux bun by wrapping the extension hair around my own mini bun.

Faux Bun

Faux Bun

 On Christmas Day I wore a curly Fro.

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Hubby and I went on a Spa Break between Christmas and New Years, I had to pack light so I didn’t bring too many hair products plus I went swimming every day for 4 days. I washed the chlorine out of my hair every day and because I knew I’d be swimming again,I didn’t style I just put my hair in a high puff.

Hubby and Me - High Puff

Hubby and Me – High Puff

All in all I probably had my hair “unprotected” for about 4 days. After NYE I gave my hair a protein treatment and I’m glad to say that I haven’t experienced any breakage after all that swimming. I also put my hair into a high bun and slathered my hair with Vaseline before getting into the water, as you know Vaseline does not allow water to penetrate into the hair strand which is why we usually stay away from it, but it has it’s uses.

So far every day in January I’ve stuck to my self imposed Protective styling challenge, I actually cover my hair most days, even at work I wear a head wrap or beanie hat, I work in an office with a  lot of Muslim women who wear Hijab so no one blinks an eye at the fact that my hair is covered. Under my head scarf or beanie hat I always wear a satin bonnet to make sure that my hair is protected from friction, tangling and moisture being sucked out of my hair by various thirsty fabrics. Under my wraps and hats my hair is in 2 strand twists and I’m washing once per fortnight but since I’m still working out (yay!) I co wash with my twists in weekly.

Thanks for reading, Luv Sian x

Man Made Afro!

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

The other day I was in my local “hood salon” and I saw this man (below) getting his hair done.


The Afro before cutting and shaping.

I was literally fascinated and asked him if I could ask him a few questions and take a couple of photos, he agreed but as he was in  a rush he asked me if I could email him the questions instead of asking then and there. I dutifully emailed him later that day, but I am yet to receive a response  maybe I copied his email address incorrectly. Who knows?


Back View before cutting and shaping

What I did manage to find out is that this gentleman name is Marlon and he is originally from Trinidad but grew up in NYC.

The style took 1.5 hours and was achieved by using the “pick and drop method” using synthetic kinky hair

(just over 1 &  a half packs, Colour 27, Aftress Elysse Star £4.99 per pack ). Marlon already had blond natural hair a little bit longer than a TWA, the stylist did not braid the very centre of his hair with extensions because the density was already enough with just the edges done, as you can see from my photos, you cannot tell that the middle does not have any extensions.

If you would like this style, depending on your braider you should expect to pay between £35-50 pounds in London, personally I would negotiate around £40 and tip the braider if I like the service/salon.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the pick and drop method it is a way of installing hair extensions where the stylist begins by braiding a piece of hair into a small parted section of hair growing out of the person’s head, but stops braiding after roughly an inch and seals the hair with a knot or sometimes glue.

pick and drop 2

The loose end of the braid is usually styled to blend in with the person’s own hair. Unless your hair is very short or the extension is braided past the ends of your own hair, pick and drop is not really a protective style as the oldest and most fragile parts of your hair – the ends are exposed to the elements and are sometimes manipulated by the brushing and combing that is done to style and detangle the loose hair. You do have a lot of styling versatility with Pick and Drop Styles and in my experience it is a lot easier to clean, dry and moisturise your real hair in braids rather than a weave, but to each her own.

Below are some more examples of Pick & Drop styles

(none of these images belong to me, if the image belongs to you and you would like credit or for me to remove the image let me know.)

 pick-and-drop1 pick and drop 3pick and drop 4

As you can see Pick and Drop Styles can be achieved with practically any type of extension, your braider will be able to advise you further.


The Finished Look!

I really liked this style and I think that it is a great way to boost your ‘Fro. I will definitely be trying this style in the future, not in blond of course!


Oh and Sheryl Underwood if you are reading this, (not likely I know) here is proof that people want Afro-textured hair extensions !

Every day on the streets of London I see people with many types of kinky curly extensions wigs and weaves!

Thank you to Marlon for being such a great sport!

Thanks to you for reading my blog.