Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Protective Styling In The Winter With Marley Twists...

Ok, so yeah, I've gotten bored with my hair now. I was thinking about doing something drastic like cutting it off or coloring it. Then I remembered about 9 years ago I used this what they now call Marley Braid Hair to do some two strand twists. I didn't install them for myself back then, I paid a friend of mine to do it, and she did do a fantastic job. I don't remember how many packs were used.

Circa 2005: Two Strand Twists using Marley Synthetic Braiding Hair. The chick in the pic with me is not the one who did my hair.
Back then, I can't remember what they called them, it was just the style then, especially if your wore your natural hair - and I wore my hair natural and brightly colored. Yes, it was the same color at that time as the hair I used in the pic, and almost the same length. I must add that I had all my coloring professionally done. I did a lot of what they now call ombré/gradient coloring.

Anyway, I thought that these would be easy enough to do myself since I can do these kinds of braided extensions. I bought 5 packs of the hair initially and installed them all. It took me about 5 hours, so roughly 1 hour per pack. ( I  redid them and ended up using 1¼ more packs. So in total, I used 6¼ packs.) It wasn't difficult to put them in either. I find this type of extension hair extremely easy to use because it comes already sectioned (like locs) and hardly sheds. I used two locs per twist, because I wanted it longgggggg! LOL! I wanted some subtle color, so I chose 1b/33 and 1b/27.

So far I am enjoying them, because they are easy to maintain. Yes, I do wash them every week. I am not playing around with that since I work out 3-4 times weekly! I know some people wear these for 4-6 weeks straight, exercise and NEVER wash their hair! To that I say... "Eeew, eeew, and oh hayle naw!" That's just grossssse!!

With all this length though, I have to learn how to be creative with the styling. So far I have come up with these quick styles. They all take less than 5 minutes to do.

Length Check and Interlaced Criss-Crossed Accessorized Low Pony Tail.

Variation of an Interlaced Half-Updo.

Interlaced High Bun.

1990's Karen Wheeler (Soul To Soul).

Elegant To-Die-For Pompadour.
The hair itself is not at all heavy, and definitely NOT tight! However, when it is shampooed, it does get a bit weighty with the water, but the weight is not unbearable, and doesn't put a strain on my scalp or hair. I also do a deep conditioning every week, alternating between a light protein and a moisture based deepie.

This is how I shampoo my hair:

1. I mix my shampoo with water in a spray bottle.

2. Then spray it into my wet scalp and then the length of the hair.

3. I massage the scalp, since that is what really needs the cleansing. The shampoo solution runs down the length of the twist which I then just squeeze down until I reach the ends.

4. Wash out, and repeat.

I use a sulfate-free shampoo weekly, and a clarifying or chelating shampoo once monthly. I alternate the chelating (neutralizing) shampoo and the clarifying one.

For deep conditioning;

1. I do the same as for the shampoo - mix a solution with water and deep conditioner in the same spray bottle (after the shampoo has been thoroughly washed out). For this I usually hold my head over the bath tub with the extensions facing forward and spray, concentrating on the length of the twist since the length of my hair (especially the ends) is what needs the conditioner most.

2. After that, I just wrap the hair up, and put on two plastic shower caps to make sure that the liquid that the hair is holding doesn't run out and soak up my clothes. Leave in for about 45 minutes-1 hour as I usually do. I have deep conditioned using my hard hat dryer, and it works just as well. Since it is colder now, I wear a microfiber robe that helps absorb any water that might escape and trickle down. I realized that I needed to mix my conditioner solution thicker so that it won't be as watery. I have done that since and haven't had any problems with the solution running down my face and neck while deep conditioning.

3. When time's up, wash out and air dry, or dry with a blow dryer on cool. I don't find that the hair takes long to dry at all. I have air dried it, and it took about 3 hours or so. I did use a micro fiber towel to help blot out the excess water.

Purchased from Sephora.com.
The hair doesn't frizz out, or dry out and responds very well to the liquid and cream moisturizers I use:

  • Shea Moisture Coconut And Hibiscus Hold And Shine Moisture Mist
  • Creme Of Nature Strength And Shine Leave-In Conditioner
  • Next Image Silky - n- Yaky Conditioner And Detangler With Olive And Jojoba Oils
  • Elasta QP Leave-In H2
  • 4 Naturals Daily Treatment Leave-In 
  • Naturally Silk Elements Leave-In Conditioning Cream
These two help to control the frizz of my real hair especially where it is growing out at the roots, and add sheen to the twists.

This is a type of growth serum which greatly assists with an itchy scalp if you tend to have that. I have been using for about 1½ years, but I find that has become difficult to find in my area. I absolutely love it!

I already had all these except the Next Image in my arsenal.

I will say this, I moisturize my hair everyday using one only of the above. They are just alternated since they all have very good ingredients that hair loves. I sleep with a satin bonnet to keep the moisture locked in.

When I use the sauna at the gym before I had the twists in, I found that my hair would feel dry when I came out - of course since it is dry heat at extremely high temperatures. I would have to spray my hair before and after I go in to combat that. Now, with these twists in my hair, I find that I don't have to do that, somehow all the moisture remains locked in my hair - which pleases me a whole lot!

Before adding the extensions, I prepped my hair with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream, and sealed with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Marley Hair is kanekalon and feels very coarse and dry and has no luster, but softens up when you use leave-in moisturizers, especially creamy ones. I also find that my Mane 'N' Tail Deep Conditioner (Original Formula) leaves it feeling rather soft too after deep conditioning, not to mention - making it smell soooooo good! Another thing about the Mane 'N' Tail is that, you can also dilute it and use it as a daily leave-in. So I'll probably be doing that, and add some coconut oil when I run out of the sprays that I currently have, and see how it fares. If I can mix it myself, then I will. Saving some moolah in the process... hee hee hee...

My hair type is 3c/4a, but more 3c, and fine - and this means that it doesn't hold these type of things well. First, I installed them twisting from the root/scalp because I like the way that looks. The extension looks like it is growing out of the scalp, but it was only two days before they started slipping. So, I just used the good-ole reliable method of plaiting (braiding) with three sections of hair for about 1-1½ inches, then I twisted down the rest of the length. It could very well be my technique too. They constantly slip out, as well as are growing out fast, but they do not fall out because of the length of my real hair. They just slip about 1 inch or so from my scalp, so I have to keep re-doing them about twice weekly. But that's ok. It's not like they all slip down at the same time. I know that agitating my scalp when I shampoo my hair is a catalyst to them not staying put, but believe me, I'd rather re-do the twists than walk around with dirty hair and scalp. 

Note: In case you are wondering what brands I used:

  • Modu - $5.99/pk 
  • Femi - $5.99/pk 
  • Janet Noir Collection - $4.99 
I found the Modu to be the best quality of the three. I got them all at my local beauty supply stores.

Shedding: Hair sheds which is normal and natural, -  for some more, for some less. If you decide to try any hairstyle that requires you to not manipulate your hair that is growing out of your scalp for a while, you will experience a build up of shed hair. Don't be alarmed if it looks more than usual when you go to detangle! Remember, your hair hasn't been messed with for a while.

With me having to redo my twists regularly, I do run into the shed hair, but I take the care to remove it gently, with my fingers or a with a wide tooth comb from my well moisturized section of hair. Also to note, detangling the hair after removing each braid or twist would make the overall process easier, when I decide it's time to take these out. Afterall, the purpose of protective styling is to give your hair a rest from everyday manipulation so that you can retain more or all of your length as your hair grows.

How long will I leave these in? I don't know. I have been wearing them for just under 4 weeks before I wrote this article. I installed them on January 13th. I was supposed to have done my relaxer touch up the week after (if you've been following my blog or You Tube channel, you will know that I do three times yearly - January, May and September), and I just didn't feel like doing it. Before I installed the twists, I did a protein treatment which was in preparation for my relaxer touch up. Currently I am just over 19 weeks post relaxer (using the time frame that I posted this article).

These are a great way to protective style, and the styling possibilities are only limited to your own creativity. Since I have no idea how long I will keep these in for, I guess I'll be changing up the look somewhat. I usually do a protein treatment every 6-8 weeks, so I might change the way I install them then.


  1. Your hair is so cute~I really like the low pony tail!!!

    1. Thank you lovely lady! It literally takes about 3 mins or less to do. 1. Mist hair and scalp - 20 secs. 1. Flip back the hair - 15 secs. 2. Gather some from the sides and criss cross - 1 min. 3. Attach hair gems - 1 min. 4. Spray hair oil - 20 secs. Done! LOL!

  2. Love your creativity with these twist! Very Cute!

  3. You have a lovely hair! It’s amazing on how many ways you can style your hair. And what’s more fascinating is that no one can hinder you from having that kind of hairstyle even you have short hair. Hair extension is really a must-have for women. It just looks difficult to maintain. Good thing you shared some of your care tips.


    1. Thank you Erick. Actually, these were pretty easy to maintain.