Recycle Your Old Extensions! (Straight to Kinky/Curly)

Hello my Naturalistas!

This one is just for you,

Today I’m going to show you how to recycle your old extensions or change the curl pattern of straight-wavy hair to better blend with your own curl pattern.

When I had relaxed hair I experimented with wearing wigs and weaves, now I’m natural I still like to wear various types of extension but I prefer to wear textures that are closer to my own natural hair, not just because it looks better but it means that I don’t need to risk heat damage by flat-ironing my hair to blend with straight extensions.

If you have ever tried to buy good-quality Human hair kinky/curly extensions then you know how expensive they can be, the hair I currently have my eye on is over £250.00 not including p&p! Right now there is no way I’m spending that amount of money on some hair. So I decided to save some money and invest some time in converting a straight and wavy homemade U-part wig into a kinky curly wig.

My lovely friend Georgia made a U-part wig out of straight HH (Human Hair) weave but ran out of straight hair so added some wavy hair to complete the wig, unfortunately Georgia couldn’t achieve the colour match she wanted so she kindly donated the wig to me.

There are many ways you can steam perm extensions but my way is cheap but effective and does not require the use of any dangerous or smelly chemicals. This process is very easy but takes a little bit of time.

You will need:

  • Extensions – tracks, a bundle or a wig,  you can do this method with Synthetic hair but my instructions are for HH only.
  • A Very Large Saucepan or Pot with a lid. Pot should be large enough to accommodate all of your hair.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or your hair oil of choice (not an expensive one!)
  • Conditioner
  • Perm Rods, Foil or both – I wanted a tight curl but in theory you could use rollers to create a looser curl
  • Water
  • Wide Toothed Comb
  • SONY DSC

First things first, put your hair on the perm rods or rollers, I refused to buy several packets of perm rods so I made “flexi rods” out of foil. I made my flexi rods by simply scrunching strips of foil into rod shapes , you can see one in the photo above on top of the box of foil.

Fill your large pot about 3/4 full with water and while you are rolling your hair you can set your water to boil.                                      Try to roll your hair using the same technique on each roller, because this was an experiment, I used different techniques to see which curl type I preferred.

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Once your hair is rolled and your water is boiling add a squeeze of conditioner -about 1 tablespoon & a few drops – 1 teaspoon of oil to your boiling water.

Next carefully submerge your hair in the pot reduce the heat to a simmer and put the lid on, your hair needs to gently boil for about 2 hours, make sure you check the pot regularly so that the hair is always covered with water, you should top your pot up –  if  necessary with boiling water from the kettle.

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After the time is up, very carefully remove your hair from the hot water I suggest using metal food tongs.                                     Do not let the water cool with the hair in it.

   Let the hot hair, air dry for at least 4 hours before removing your rollers.

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As you can see,  my curls did not come out evenly but I was expecting this.

Next you want to detangle and comb out your hair with a wide toothed comb. I slathered my hair with diluted conditioner, combed it out and then rinsed out the conditioner before leaving my hair to air dry over night.

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In order to blend this U-Part hair with my hair, I flat twisted my leave out and rolled the ends of my twist onto the same perm rods.

The next day, I put the wig on and then blended my hair with the wig.

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This technique is a home version of the industrial steam perming method which is often used to make Asian hair extensions mimic the texture of Kinky/Curly hair.  Please don’t be fooled by the term “Brazilian” hair this is still Asian hair that has been processed to alter the curl pattern, almost every brand of kinky/curly HH hair extensions you will purchase even the high end ones will be processed Asian hair.

The only time you are likely to see genuine virgin (unprocessed) kinky/curly extensions is on wigs that have been made from donated hair from charities such as Locks of Love. Reputable vendors will let you know the provenance of your extensions and if the hair has been chemically or steam processed.

If you have any questions about this technique, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

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A Beginner’s Guide to Going Natural…

Hello, everyone I hope you’re well?

Sorry it’s been a while since I uploaded a new post, I’ve been really busy settling into a new job and baking of course….

Anyway as the title suggests this is a post about “going natural” – for those of you who are not in the know, in this instance “going natural” is a term used by people (usually women) of African descent who have decided to stop chemically straightening their hair.

I’m not a hair expert, but since I have gone natural, I have done A LOT of research about natural hair and I have learned so much I wanted to share some of my knowledge with anyone who is interested, in addition some ladies at work  have been asking me questions and suggested that I wrote a post about going natural. This is not really aimed at women who are already natural so if you have been natural for a while, you probably know most of this already.

I’ve already written about why and how I went natural in a previous post, and I’m also going to write about my natural hair journey from TWA Feb 2012 to now.

TWA stands for Teeny Weenie Afro, it’s a term used to describe length more than texture, It’s when you’re not bald but don’t have enough hair to style, roughly one quarter of an inch to two inches long. Once you have enough hair to comfortably twist or braid it’s not really considered a TWA any more.

Solange with her TWA

I will be using quite a lot of USA hair “jargon” but I will try to explain each term as I go along.

First Things First

If you want to go natural stop relaxing your hair. Yes it’s as simple as that, you may be due for a touch up anyway so just don’t do it…

The same goes for all other chemical treatments used to alter the natural texture of your hair such as Curly Perms, and Texurising/Texlaxing etc

There are several ways you can go natural, some are more drastic than others it all depends on you, there is no right or wrong way to do it. As long as you are no longer using chemicals designed to alter your natural curl pattern, you are on your way.

The quickest and easiest way to become fully natural is to do a “big chop” that is when you cut off all your relaxed hair in one go, it can be too much of a change for someone who is used to long hair/weave or even short relaxed hair as you are probably not used to your real hair texture being fully on show. Big chops are not for everyone and if you don’t want to do it, that’s fine, you need to be comfortable with how you are rocking your hair or you may be tempted to go back on that “creamy crack” (another name for Relaxer, so called as some people are addicted to it.)

After a big chop you may feel like you suddenly have a lot of face, I bought lots of big earrings and hair accessories to help jazz up my look when I first big chopped, some women experiment with brighter, bolder make up it’s pretty much up to you. I always made sure my eyebrows were neat and shaped it makes a huge difference to your whole eye area and you don’t have to do it every day.

Having a big chop really makes your natural beauty stand out and highlights your skin, cheekbones, eyes, lips and everything on your face, so now might be a good time to do more exercise drink more water and get more sleep and  so your skin can really look it’s best.living_waters2

 

If you don’t want to big chop you can Transition, that is when you slowly trim off your relaxed ends as your natural hair grows out. You can trim your ends yourself or get a professional to do it, if you trim your ends yourself I recommend doing this while your hair is wet as it is easier to see the difference between the two textures.

Transitioning can be done with or without protective styling, protective styling usually refers to wearing wigs, weaves, braids or twists, all of them (if installed, maintained and removed correctly) can help to protect your hair from daily manipulation and the harsh elements.

Me and my lace wig

Me and my lace wig

The main thing you need to do if you choose to Transition is to make sure you look after your hair so that the relaxed hair does not break off before you are ready to get rid of it. The point at which your relaxed hair meets your natural hair is called the Demarcation point or line. Your new growth is much stronger than your relaxed hair so your hair can easily break at this point. Even though your natural hair is stronger than the relaxed portion you must treat all of your hair very gently and avoid using fine toothed combs. If you must comb your hair try using a wide toothed comb or your fingers and water or a leave-in conditioner really helps with tangles.

If you decide not to do protective styling you may want to do styles that help disguise the difference in your two hair textures, until all your relaxed ends have been cut off. ideally you should try to get your relaxed hair to blend with your natural hair  instead of using heat (blow-dryers, flat irons and hot combs) to make your natural hair straight.

I could go on and on but I didn’t want to go into too much detail as this is supposed to help newly naturals not scare them off.

The bottom line is, however you chose to become natural, make sure you are comfortable and happy with your decision or you will not stick to it. If you do fall off the wagon and relax your hair again it’s not the end of the world just stop relaxing again and you will be back on your journey.

There are so many women on T’internet who have helped me on my journey I will list a few of their details on here.

I haven’t included styling tutorials in this post because  it’s much easier to learn a style from a video and I don’t do videos…. yet

Please check out:

Bespoke Hair Styles,  they specialise in working with natural African hair, both loose afro and locks.

All of their contact and social media details can be found here:  http://bespokehairstyles.com/

I also read a lot of other blogs and I recommend that you read other blogs too, I’d like to take the time to thank Sieta Majok who writes a very good blog and even though I haven’t met her in person she encouraged me to start this blog and her words of support meant more to me than than she will ever know.

Sieta Majok http://modernemeid.blogspot.co.uk/

Annette Clark Headley, has a fun, personal &  touching blog with a lot of practical and helpful advice  http://www.lovelifelocs.com/

Sharron Richards has another great blog and makes natural hair and body products too. http://fortheloveofkinks.wordpress.com/

On YouTube check out:  Crystal Afro, That Healthy Feeling, Africanexport, Naptural85,  LondonCurl, MissCinnamoncake, and Nyla Helene.

I’m actually subscribed to about 60 natural hair channels on YT but I can’t list all of them, just type whatever you want to learn more about  in the YT search box and discover a world of natural hair, be warned one video can lead to another and you can end up spending the day on there!

African Export, Advice to Newly Naturals: