My love affair with braids began when I found out my aunt could do French braids. As soon as she would arrive at our house, she had either me or my sister in her lap, one braid please! My mom could only do ponytails, pft. If my aunt wasn’t around, we’d make our hair stylist do a braid and wear the same one the whole week to school. Braids were a rare treat and something to be cherished.

Once my aunt taught me how to do braids, the world was my oyster. I would spend hours upon hours braiding the neighbor’s horse’s tail and mane. I did regular braids all down the mane. I did a modified, one-sided French braid down the mane. I did a French braid on his tail, even up by the poop-hole. I was a fearless goddess of horse braids. That horse was one sexy beast. I always say, anything you’d like to be good at, you must practice and horse hair was pretty perfect. He stayed still, he didn’t mind the brushing and combing and you could make it nice and tight, unlike Barbies that flopped around too much unless you held them down with your feet. I won’t even mention little sisters who screamed, wiggled and criticized your braiding technique, like she could do better.

I could even do my own hair. It’s a really easy way to deter boredom. If you prop your book open and up, you can French braid very easily, or you can practice while watching television, the possibilities are endless. At first my braids were basic and lumpy. I used to only feel comfortable wearing them to bed because they weren’t ready for public viewing but I got a I-don’t-care-what-you-think vaccine at around 21 and I’ve never looked back.

The recent resurgence of braids in pop (popular) culture has greatly pleased me. I can remember that one horrible movie with the guy they burned at the end where the all ladies society wore pretty braids in their hair and I immediately went home and copied them. They were in the very front and they were tiny. GOD, WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER THAT MOVIE!? Anywho, braids have re-cooled as of late and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve done a Katniss braid (from the movie, please-to-note that in the book she wears it in a plait down her back) and several Game of Throne inspired styles.

What really re-lit my fire was YouTube. I started looking for videos with up-dos because I only wash my hair about once a week if that, which makes it perfect for holding braids and twists and shit. You don’t need all that texturizing stuff if you have your own head goo! I wear my hair down or mostly down right after I wash my hair and then I start wearing it up towards the end, about halfsie-halfsies. I love doing little braids in my bangs to hold the hair back when it’s all down. I usually did about half and half previously, so now it’s just segregated within the week, according to washings. If you search YouTube for up-dos, etc you will get as many hairstyles as you could ever want. I do practice styles while watching television every once in a while and then I add the new style to the rotation. It’s super happy fun times.

With swimming weather upon us, I learned a new thing Memorial Day weekend; wet pool hair looks a lot cuter when it’s braided! That right there is what you call a swimming pro-tip*, folks. You can also put some conditioner/oil in your hair to protect it from the chemicals before you braid it. I’ve been worried how my hair will deal with swimming and so far, so good with braids and protection (my scalp hasn’t decided what it’s going to do yet, but the hair is going swimmingly). Protection is very important, guys.

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