With the capacity to shape-shift, braids of all structures, sizes and textures are magnificent and mesmerizing. From the meticulous styles that snake down our back to intertwined strands that form elaborate designs, plaits are intricately crafted yet deceptively low- maintenance. With the option to feed in extensions, we can mold our hair into majestic crowns that tell stories of our power and glory.
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It’s A Wrap
At least that’s what we call it. You may call it a doobie, depending on
where you’re from. Wraps, formed by combing hair in one direction around the circumference of your head, were made popular by Black and Dominican women seeking to preserve heat-treated hairstyles. The wrap is also useful for maintaining a silk press or a blowout. Some women even consider it a hairstyle itself, à la Rihanna.
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From fine to thick, our hair comes in varying textures and curl pat- terns, so we are able to create captivating coils that spiral like a French staircase or wondrous waves that unfold like a riptide. The perfect curl cock- tail? Moisture. Using the LOC (leave-in conditioner, oil, cream) method—a technique for hydrating and seal- ing hair—we can easily take our curls from frizzy to fabulous.
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Wet & Wild
Sometimes we might wish we could, but we can’t wave a magic wand to revamp our tresses. We add water. When wet, our strands become primed for creativity. Products help moisturize and define them to prevent our curl patterns from vanishing, while leave-in conditioners aid in keeping our hair hydrated and healthy. The wash-and-go can be a breezy alternative to heat styling.
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Shrinkage is real, but our hair, whether straight, wavy, kinky or curly, can reach great lengths. Silk press—a chemical-free technique that elongates hair with a flat iron and smooths out textures—is just one of the methods Black women use to produce bone-straight strands. Blowouts are also a tried-and-true way to stretch our tresses. When we want to go a little longer, we can exaggerate our strands with extensions.