Have y’all read my bio here?

Don’t scroll down, I have a screencap for you.

A picture of April B

The assaulting school children part isn’t true (probably), but the procrastination bit DEFINITELY is. Unfortunately. And that’s why it’s important to me as I slowwwwwwwwwwly put my hair back in twists for the summer to admit my faults in hopes that our curly community reading knows they’re not alone...but they need to quit.

Mea maxima culpa, coils. I’m ready to confess my sins and move on!

A frustrated priest hearing confession
iStock.com/Syldavia

 "Sorry, you say you used holy anointing oil to pre-WHAT?"

Let’s let this list go in chronological order of how I hadn’t been living up to my full braid potential.

Scratching

Biotin doesn’t break me out like it does some of our other editors, so I’ve always got some pretty fierce claws going on. They’re great for scritching kitties, puppies, and any other little creature that needs my love; but they’re NOT good for dragging across my scalp.

Look at these things.

A picture of my very long natural nails
#humblebrag #talons #look at the length not the shape okay

Scratching scrapes your skin and introduces more tangles at the roots. Even if you don’t feel the effects immediately after you can feel your mother shooting you ‘the look’ from wherever she may be, you’re still lifting layers of skin, potentially introducing contaminants from under your nails, and not doing an irritated scalp any favors with the weight of your incoming hair installation.

Skipping Deep Conditioning

Fun fact, you can’t really get to all of your hair when it’s braided, so conditioning-wise you have to set the scene beforehand. One of my worst traits, is overestimating my abilities to do things both thoroughly AND quickly, and it’s not uncommon that my train of thoughts will run something like ‘I’m sure I can pre-poo and deep condition the night before I get started, I definitely won’t be tired THIS time, choo choo’. But when the day comes, and my hair is only partly elastic from mist and leave-in, getting pulled in different directions and then then back the other way, the guilt over breakage I can practically feel as it’s happening is pretty intense.

Find an oil treatment and/or some deep conditioning and get your hair at it’s springiest before you start to part. Leave the snapping strands in the past, and move forward with confidence!

Not “wash-washing"

This is the point where I reiterate that I’m trusting all of you with how I’m baring my soul here. But because I used to co-wash exclusively, like with legit conditioner, not a co-wash cleanser, I wasn’t doing the best for my scalp’s pores or my hair. Naturally, there’s going to be some deep cleansing to do once you take down the store bought portion of your crowning glory once the protective style has run its course. But the knots of natural grease, old beeswax, and dirt I’d pull out, I thought were just an inevitability, until I realized I could have been attacking that buildup well beforehand. Astringent agents like apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and mints are going to be your friends here

Leaving them in too long

Honestly, when Marley hair came to my local hair shop before I moved out of my parents’ house, I was thrilled. Sure some of it shed, but it mimicked my natural 4A texture so well, it was so much harder to tell that I’d left them in for 2...3...6 more weeks than I was supposed to have. Now I’ll be real, a lot of this stemmed from being so self concious about my shorter hair, AND not being able to go back home and get it done easily once I left Fort Worth for school and work. But now that I’m a big girl with much more positive feelings toward my natural mane, money to buy hair, and my own ride to get wherever I need to, there’s no excuse. New growth needs to be tended to, hair needs to be deep cleaned, and ‘Scraggly chic’ only works in a very small settings, like the ones where no one knows me professionally. And also it’s dark.

The crowd at a rock show
iStock.com/Freder

Quick, which one’s me? Haha, exactly.

But I can’t hide out at shows forever. Besides, I feel that having “check in time” with your curls is important! After all, as much as I love not having anything to do before I plop into bed, I start to miss handling them!

Rushing takedown

Everything comes full circle, and so does this article. This goes right back up there with overestimating how fast I can go in a pinch—except here, the dangers are much more tangled and tangible. When you’re taking your hair down, especially if it’s a 100% solo effort, you’re going to be in exactly the same ‘I need snacks, a nap, a hug, an intensive yoga course’ position that you are when you started putting it up, with one exception. The light at the end of the tunnel is that you still have more work to do detangling, deep cleaning, and vacuuming your floor. And that can get pretty discouraging, frustrating even! But you can’t take that out on your hair. Leave yourself enough time so that you’re not getting crazy with the seam ripper or yanking your hair free from an errant twist rather than gently coaxing it out (again, that next day guilt is a killer for me). Make sure you’re in a position that you won’t have to use dynamite for a job that calls for a chisel.

Well I feel better getting that off my chest!

Toni Braxton slides down a couch in relief
WeTV/Braxton Family Values

And best of all, I’m feeling optimistic about my curls’ future in extensions. I’m currently installing as of writing this, I’ve pre-pooed, deep conditioned, queued up the appropriate classic Disney movies, and I feel like I’m set.

How about you, coily kinfolk? Which of these protective style sins have you been guilty of? Unburden yourself in the comments, then go forth and keep it cute.