Last month I ventured to South Africa to set off my birthday celebrations and to finally have a chance to meet with the Johannesburg #SmartBrownGirls. One of the undercover advantages for Black women residing in the Americas, Europe and really anywhere outside of Africa, is that getting your hair braided is much cheaper in Africa. So I was set on taking advantage of the rand to USD conversion rate and finding some truly skilled one to do twists in my hair. I’m not even quite sure what you call the style I got. Maybe small havana twists? Senegalese twists…except I used kinky hair and not the straight kanekelon hair? Marley twists? Except, word on the curb is that loose kinky braiding hair is no longer packaged as “marley hair” because Bob Marley’s estate came out the company for licensing fees. I can’t find any substantial links to confirm the story, but considering how active the Marley family is when it comes to licensing and lawsuits, I believe there’s some truth to the story. So now we have an assortment of caribbean braid, afro, jamaican, whatever-Black-country twist hair to confuse us with when we go to the beauty supply store.

DSC03884Basically, I got twists extensions where the entire length is twisted, from root to tip. I picked the hair based on the color I wanted, purple ombre! I found the perfect purple ombre in the Janet Collection Expression 3X Caribbean Braid (Afro Twist) Hair. Now let me take another moment to explain something about how kinky braiding hair is packaged and marketed, because I watched a PeakMill video where she was explaining the details on her “micro twists” and noted that she really likes using the X-pressions Kankelon hair. Well, when you go to the BSS everything is literally labeled with “X-pressions” “Beauty in X-pressions.” As far as I am concerned all this hair is produced by the same Korean family and they re-package the same quality of hair at a similar price point cause this Korean family of cousins is trying to one up each other. The pack of Janet Hair I picked up, had just about every popular phrase on the packaging, so you could be confused after your favorite YouTuber told you to get the Afro-Caribbean twist hair and your fav Instagrammer told you to get the X-pressions hair. Girl…

Back to the actual hair I bought, theJanet Collection Expression 3X Caribbean Braid (Afro Twist) Hair. I bought six packs of hair at $7.99/pack. I haven’t been able to find the purple ombre (OE2TPurp) anywhere on line, but HairStopandShop has all the other colors. I purchased my hair from Beauty Empire in Houston, on Cullen & Reed. I then prepped the hair by:

  • Soaking a tub of hot water with 2 caps of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Let soak for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinsing the hair with conditioner (any cheap one will do!)
  • Air dry hair

Then it was packed in my checked luggage headed to South Africa! For my own hair I prepped it by:

So I asked around about where to get my hair braided at and much thanks to Carice who not only was a great host at my JoBurg meet & greet but also introduced me to Sadie, who ended braiding my hair. So I got my hair braided by Sadie Braids, in the Randburg section of JoBurg and her number is +27 84 998-2181.  Fortunate, did most of my twists with Sadie & Mona Lisa helping to finish off the style. It took less than 3.5 hours and looked flawless.

We used all 6 packs of hair, which were cut in half because I didn’t want them that long. Cutting the hair in half, mixed up the black to purple ombre, darkening the color for a really cool effect. I chose to have my twists down in a smedium size because I didn’t want the pain of taking out micro size anything. And I’m just plain happy with the results. I get a ton of compliments from everybody, white, black, green, blue, men and women. Mostly because you didn’t realize it’s purple until you get up close on it. A subtle effect that I love.

I paid $500ZAR ($43USD) which is high for South Africa, but as an American this is extremely cheap and still included a decent tip for a style they normally charge $350ZAR for. The workmanship is not something I can achieve on my own, so any person traveling to another country where thanks to their inflation our currency allows us to get things for very cheap, should pay a little extra to help them out. Most hair braiders in Africa, are not making any sort of viable living to maintain.

That’s it! Check the video below to see my hair in live action!

Published by Jouelzy

Jouelzy is a vlogger & writer who advocates for the #SmartBrownGirl. You can catch up on the movement at YouTube or catch more of her writing on her personal blog.

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