I went through a hair braiding phase starting in middle school and ending sometime around my senior year of high school. First, I had my friends do it for me and my mom would pay them. From then, I used to wait until my older sister came home for major holidays because she would do it for free and my mom saw that as a better option.
Pretty soon, that schedule stopped working out for me and one day I sat down, determined to learn how to install them myself. Several (and I do mean several) hours later I had a head full of braids courtesy of myself. From then, my hair care took on a monkey-see, monkey-do kind of pattern. Everything I know about hair, I taught to myself.
It’s pretty normal to take your hair journey into your own hands and learn how to care for it yourself (almost all of my favorite bloggers went through the same phase themselves).
The more you learn the more you realize how easy it can be. Plus, there is something so liberating about being able to do whatever you want to your hair, whenever you want.
The question is: how far should you take your DIY? From box braids I graduated to self relaxing, then I figured out that I could make my own clips in and I am currently rocking my first self installed sew-in. However, it’s been a long bumpy road and it’s definitely not for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons I’ve come across while learning how to care for my own hair.
You learn more about your hair along the way
Way back when my mother had a standing bi-weekly stylist appointment for me, it was great. I only had to maintain my hair in between appointments and she would take care of the deep conditioning*, washing, trims, all of it really.
Then the appointments started to wean…and so did my hair. The problem was I didn’t know how to take care of my own hair without the help of my stylist.
Sure I knew to wrap it every night, but wash days were a nightmare and my hair suffered greatly because of it. Fast forward to today when my hair falls off I usually know exactly why and what it needs. The only reason is because I have been its primary caretaker for so long now. By learning how to do treatments at home (deep conditioning*, hot oil, trims, etc) you also learn what your hair likes and dislikes.
I’m not going to lie: my latest at home sew in is a product of me not being able to afford going to a salon and not wanting to wait until my next paycheck to do it.
Truthfully, those salon visits tend to add up. Looking back, I’ve saved so much money just by learning how to do things myself. Plus, when I’m ready to change it up I can do it without the these-braids-have-not-been-in-long-enough-to-get-my-money’s-worth guilt.
As I was alluding to in my last point it’s fun to switch things up. Box braids this week, a sew-in the next and a braid-out the week after! Maybe you guys are less…fidgety with your hair care, but I definitely get bored easily.
It’s a lot easier to change things up with your hair when you can do it yourself. Aside from the time and the money you save, no one knows what you’re envisioning as well as you do, of course there’s the execution factor to consider.
The learning curve
As we all know, doing your own hair is much harder than doing someone else’s. Also, you have to practice something a few times before you actually become good at it.
Believe me when I say I’ve walked around with my fair share of scraggly braids and under-processed new growth. I know the learning curve all too well. Sometimes it’s just not worth it. The effort spent trying to figure out and conquer a new style doesn’t seem worth the effort when you can pay someone who knows how to do it well already.
Lack of training
This is directly related to the learning curve. You are not a trained professional, unless you, which would make this the time that you scroll past this part really fast.
There are people who go to school and study the art of hair care. They know exactly how to relax your hair, what the right mix of coloring is to get those perfect highlights and how to get that perfect bob you’re looking for.
I am not advocating you ditch your hairstylist and take matters into your own hands. In fact, I still visit for hair cuts, because I’m terrible with scissors. With that being said, know your weaknesses and be very careful.
The relaxation factor
Undoubtedly the best part of visiting the hair salon is the feeling of pampering that you get for those few hours that you’re there. When I close my eyes and think about getting my hair washed I still sigh in pleasure thinking about those scalp massages.
You don’t get that same feeling when you do it yourself at home. You don’t get to sit back and relax while someone makes you feel glamorous. That may not be worth giving up. Are you a DIY type of girl? Comment below!