What is it: Box braid hair extensions
Who Tried it: PEOPLE magazine Writer-Reporter Jackie Fields
Why she did it: About a year ago I decided to cut out chemical relaxers and go natural, but managing my curls often drives me crazy. Braids seemed like the solution I needed: Something that would allow my hair to grow without me ripping out knots all day!
How crazy is it on a scale from one to Kim Kardashian’s blood facial?: 7. It takes forever and isn’t the most comfortable process. I had a tension headache for two days after, so if you do this, have the Advil ready.
Well, I won’t be whipping my hair back and forth (I’m too old for that), but I do love my new look. I had been dreaming of getting braids for months — I can’t deny the 20th anniversary of Janet Jackson‘s Poetic Justice this year played a huge part in this decision — so, when I spotted a friend on Instagram rocking the look, I knew it was time to get on board. Her hairstylist: Susy Oludele of Hair by Susy. I called her up, made an appointment and before I knew it I was on my way to her house in Queens where she works from. And did I mention that she also braids Solange’s amazing mane? NBD.
Susy and her team transformed my look in five hours, flat. While two (and sometimes three!) girls tried not to twist my head in 1,000 different directions, I concentrated on court TV shows (which are amazing, but I digress). The process was pretty seamless: One girl would start each braid at my root, then she’d hand it off to another stylist to braid from about 4 inches from my root to the end of the hair. In the end, I had over 90 braids that are between 22 and 24 inches long (and some of the braids are more than two feet!). The price: $240, which is definitely on the high end, but did I mention she’s done Solange’s hair?!
The verdict: Since getting these braids, some simple daily routines have become a total nuisance, or comical, depending on your outlook. As I have yet to find a shower cap big enough for all my new hair (and getting it into a bun takes about 20 minutes and not the kind of thing I can do without caffeine in my system — I’ve mastered it once, see below) showering is like performing surgery, with me carefully holding them up and moving them around them so they don’t get wet. And a few times the ends have dipped into my breakfast.
But if there’s any drawback at all, it’s that this new do is super heavy. When I wear it side swept, I find my head leaning to side where my hair is resting. It’s something I haven’t gotten used to, and probably won’t. But they’re so cool that I plan to keep them in six to eight weeks depending on how quickly my hair grows out and/or they start to look gnarly.