8 years ago by
We couldn’t talk about braiding without talking about our friend Chioma! Isn’t it different and beautiful?
We asked her a few questions, so she could tell us a little bit about it…
You just got braids for the first time, and they look beautiful! What motivated or inspired you to get them, and why now?
I’d always admired the look on a writer friend of mine Marjon Carlos. And so when I went on a family vacation to Nigeria it seemed like the right time to give it a go; my cousin is a skilled braider and offered to do my hair.
How much did culture play a role in your decision to get braids?
The first time I went to Nigeria to visit my family I was six years old, and one of the most vivid memories I have of the trip is sitting out in the garden having my hair braided by my cousins and my aunties. They’d do a different style on me almost every few days while I was there. This past April was the first time I’d been back to Nigeria since then, and in a way it felt like I was coming full circle by having my hair braided.
In the past, did you have a strong opinion on braids? How has having them yourself altered this opinion?
I’ve always loved the style of long box braids, but as someone who likes to change the look of my clothes often, and experiment with color and print, my hairstyle has mostly taken a backseat. I’ve worn my hair in the same three straightforward styles since I was a teenager, more or less. With braids this long, my hair is the focal point of my look—no matter what I’m wearing.
Do you view braids as a big commitment?
Well, they took nine hours to do, so yes there is that initial commitment! But overall it’s actually quite low-maintenance. My friend Marjon helped me figure out what products to use on a daily basis–for example tea tree oil is a great on the scalp as well as Shea butter; and an olive oil spray is good to keep the braids from looking dull. I sleep with a silk scarf at night too, which prevents them from getting frizzy at night.
Washing the braids is more of a process. I had to watch a few YouTube videos before I felt confident enough to try it myself. The key is to dilute your shampoo and conditioner and spray it on so the product doesn’t get caught in the braids. Aside from washing them, working out is the trickiest thing to figure out, since at this length they’re quite heavy. I practice yoga, so you can imagine certain balancing poses can be more challenging when there are a hundred tiny braids woven into your hair. I find that if I braid them into two, and loop them at either side of my head it generally I can work out as normal.
Do you feel different to the person you saw in the mirror before you had braids?
Yes I do. I’ve never done anything this dramatic to my hair and at first it took some getting used to. Some of my friends didn’t recognize me. I think I’d underestimated just how fun and playful a hair transformation can be, especially when it comes to fashion. Now I dress for the braids, and certain things in my closet—dresses in particular—take on a new look.
And what do you love most about them?
I love that I can just throw on a t-shirt and jeans and still be wearing a major look. As yes, it is really fun to flip them!
Do you see yourself keeping the braids for a long time to come?
I think I will likely take them out in the next couple of weeks put it’s definitely something I will do again. It’s a exciting to kick off the summer with a whole new look to play with.
For someone thinking about getting braids for the first time, what advice would you impart?
I would say go for it. Especially if you’re game for experimenting with all the braid hairstyle possibilities.
C’est joli, et alors sa juuuuupe est un bijou!!!!
Bisous from France,
I love this!! Thanks for featuring this and she is right, it is a big initial committment but it is so easy to just wake up and not have to think about what to do with your hair!
Je mets une semaine à faire les miennes. Je les aime très très fines et longues. La technique, puisque je dois aller au bureau tous les matins, c’est de commencer devant. Ainsi je couvre l’arrière avec les tresses si ce n’est pas fini. Ou alors je camoufle avec un turban. Les dernières sont très courtes. La coupe au bol. Il parait que ça me change. Je vais rester sur du court pendant quelques temps. Il ne m’a fallu que deux jours.
Pour le shampoing, c’est simple, comme tout le monde. Pas besoin de le diluer.
I’ve been wanting to get them for a few years now, but my scalp is very sensitive and anything on my head either gives me a headache or keeps me up at night so that’s why I’ve resisted. I also work at middle and high schools in Oakland, CA, and every student wears box braids so it doesn’t seem as new and interesting as it does when you see someone online rocking them (e.g., Zoe K., Jourdan D., etc).
so beautiful — love her hair
She is absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing :)
I love this braiding post ! I have superfine hair unfortunately I cant try this look out. But this looks really chic on her !
Je trouve qu’elle est beaucoup plus jolie avec les tresses qu’avec les cheveux lisse
Stunning! So beautiful. Can we please get an outfit ID? I want to steal her top. Thanks!
I think braids are great for some people. Chioma looks beautiful in them. Me, I wouldn’t feel good in them, but I like them at others.
Braids are cool! Box braids are cool! It seems to be a big trend. But there so much personality in this style
Ça lui va vraiment très bien… Cela dit je ne recommande pas les nattes à tout les types de cheveux. Perso, moi ça m’a valu une coupe courte de 2cm (pas à la tondeuse mais presque) au vu des dégâts provoqués par 1 mois de nattes…
Love wearing my braids as well !
Love that hair, and her outfit is so chic!
I don’t know about the braids… but I do love her clothes!
I never knew how much special care went into washing and maintaining braids! These are so dramatic–I love them!
adorn la femme
Quand j’étais petite ma sœur me tressait les cheveux pendant des heures et je les gardais plus d’une semaine.
C’est vrai que ça change complètement d’allure.
Ça m’a presque donné envie de renouveler l’expérience! À voir….
I can’t believe it!!! Chioma in Italian means Hair : )) nomen homen…
La fille est très joli, mais la coiffure fait un peu “calamar sur la tête”..
Personnellement, j préfère les jolies coupes afro (et pas affreux!) au naturel, avec des boucles bien dessinées. Mais je conçois que ce “naturel” doit être du boulot aussi…
She is absolutely beautiful – I love her family association to her braids.
Chic and timeless elegance. Love.
Super article, j’aime aussi beaucoup les tresses, et ça lui va très bien!
Je vous conseille le dernier livre de Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah, qui parle d’une Nigérienne qui vient étudier au Etats-Unis et qui finit par y vivre, et on voit son adaptation à la culture américaine à travers l’évolution de ses coiffures. Elle se les fait lisser une fois qu’elle a obtenu son boulot, pour se faire mieux accepter dans la culture américaine, puis finit pas se les faire tresser quand elle décide de rentrer au Nigeria. Le livre est passionnant! Cet article m’y a fait penser parce l’on découvre tout le procédé de transformation de ses cheveux.
It is a commitment that is worth every single second!!
I love having braids. You don’t have to actually do something to look like you`re ready to go.
It takes a lot of time to make braids look good while they’re in your hair.
Especially on black women it is my favorite hairstyle.
But if someone has the right type it might look extraordinary good on white women too.
I woke up like this…
The braids look great, and yes I bet washing them does take some getting use to. I barely have the patience to wash my semi shoulder length hair, but wow what a statement they make!
Allie of ALLIENYC
Such beautiful hair
Je te suis depuis que tu as commencé ton blog (il n’y avait quasiment que des illustrations à l’époque et on était peu de lecteurs à te lire comparé à aujourd’hui). J’ai toujours adoré ton travail. Quand tu fais des articles sur la beauté des femmes noires (ou que tu parles de mode avec une femme noire), cela m’émeut. Je porte régulièrement des box braids moi même et par ton article, tu réponds aux interrogations que les femmes caucasiennes ont sur cette coiffure africaine ancestrale. Tu montres également que la beauté est plurielle. MERCI ??
Nice color harmony, i love your smile.
I absolutely love her whole look. Braids are definitely easy to maintain