By Dana Nicole
For me to have begun my natural hair journey in 2011, you’d think I’d have tried lots of products and styles, right? No! In my transitioning days I was the Bantu Knot queen, but since I big chopped, it’s been a long journey of wash-n-go’s and twist outs with an occasional rod set, haha!
I liked my routine but knew I wanted to try more.
EDEN BodyWorks has been my go-to brand since 2011. I’ve watched other widely-known naturals set their hair with EDEN BodyWorks Natural Curl Defining Creme alone (without a gel styler) and for years I told myself, that would never work on my thick head of hair! I was convinced it was impossible, until I did it.
For this soft, voluminous braid out, I used the following products:
- Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash
- Coconut Shea Leave In Conditioner
- Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme
Starting with the CoWash, I take a generous amount to fully coat my strands and provide enough slip for easy finger-detangling. Since I am doing a braid out, I want to make sure my hair is as tangle-free and as smooth as possible, so I follow up with my wide-toothed comb and Denman brush for knot-free curl definition. After rinsing, I apply the Leave In conditioner. I absolutely LOVE this leave-in! It provides that buttery moisture feeling, while clumping my curls at the same time - it's like watching magic happen!
To make sure that all of my strands are coated, I apply the product to my ends first, then work my way up the shaft of my hair to finish. I use a generous amount since it is the first moisturizing product I am applying after rinsing. I want to make sure my hair is getting everything back into it that it needs.
Next, I seal with an oil mix to lock in all the moisture. I haven’t been able to get my hands on EDEN BodyWorks’ Natural Hair Oil yet, so I make do with a DIY mixture. You can combine a combination of your favorite moisturizing and sealing oils for the best results.
Now it's time to braid!
I start with my hair divided into 6 sections (3 on the left, and 3 on the right). Taking one section down, I separate it into smaller sections for the braids and apply a dime sized amount of Coconut Shea Natural Curling Cream to each small section. After applying the product, I go ahead and brush the section again with my Denman brush for even product distribution and then I start my braid. To avoid fluffy roots, I try to make sure my braids are as close to my scalp as possible, without making them too tight or painful. Half way down the small section, it’s likely for the hair to become tangled or strands not being as smooth anymore, so I just give the remaining portion of the section a quick stroke with my brush and then I continue braiding. I like my ends to be coily so once I see that there’s about ¾in of hair left to braid, I stop and coil the remainder of the section around my finger and move on to the next braid.
By the time I am done setting my hair, I have about 12-14 braids, and a pair of achy hands! My hair is super thick so one night’s worth of drying is not enough. It usually takes my hair one night and a whole day of air drying to fully dry. At night, I sleep on a satin pillowcase with my hair uncovered, or I will just wrap my silk scarf around my pillow and sleep with my hair uncovered. During the day, if I don’t have to work, I will just rock a baseball cap to let my braids breathe and continue air drying.
To make sure my braids are fully dry and avoid frizz when taking them down, I gently squeeze the braid to see if any loose moisture will be left on my fingers. If I’m all clear, I start taking them down. For this step, it’s super important that you use your fingertips and not your nails to avoid any snagging and pulling that could create more frizz and potentially ruin your style. Once all of my braids are taken down, I gently separate the strands for a more full look, and gently fluff my roots with my hair pick. I try to braid my hair with the parts that I intend on using for my final look to make styling much easier. Once I’ve achieved my desired look I just lay my edges and slay the day!
For my photos you can visit me on Instagram @thisisdananicole, or even subscribe to my Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/XIXXMCMXCIII ) for videos on how I set and style my hair with EDEN BodyWorks! Share your thoughts in the comments below!