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Afro and curly hair blog with news, reviews, opinions and tutorials from journalist Lynda Moyo.

Zoe Kravitz 90s braids revival

Lynda Moyo

I’ve always loved Zoe Kravitz’s overall style, but if I’m completely honest her hair has taken a little while to join the party. 

In many past pics it’s looked over processed and unloved. I blame Hollywood. 

Luckily over the last year or two Zoe seems to have realised, just as I did at her age, that if she wants to have hair by the time she’s 30 something's got to give. 

Alas, for the past year she’s been aboard the box braid bandwagon, resting her broken, damaged lifeless hair while finding a style that still screams KRAVITZ.

Zoe Kravitz before (damaged relaxed hair) and after (protective braids)

Zoe Kravitz before (damaged relaxed hair) and after (protective braids)

And now of course she’s adapted standard box braids and created her own trend… these easy, breezy, flowy, Zoe braids and here I am braiding in a look I thought I’d seen the last of…

You see I’m a teeny weeny bit older than Zoe and therefore I’ve been here before. Below are three images of me from the 90s wearing braids with the ends left out.

90s baby!

90s baby!

Not as great as Zoe's but en vogue at the time nonetheless. We were all at it. Me, Brandy, Beyonce. All the cool 90s kids ;-)

The 2016 version is a much more effortless look. Less blunt spiral curls, block colours and shiny plastic Barbie hair. More free-flowing, hippy chic with tapered ends. 

The 2016 boho braids revival

The 2016 boho braids revival

I never thought I’d say it, but I’m so glad these braids have been given new life as they’re so much quicker to braid than full box braids. Here’s how I did them…

#MCM: Corinne Bailey Rae

Lynda Moyo

Corinne Bailey Rae in 2016

Corinne Bailey Rae in 2016

Today's #MCM (Mane Crush Monday)...

Corinne Bailey Rae is back with new music. And new hair!

Actually it's the same hair as before just even greater than I remember it. Her new song 'Been to the Moon' is equally as vivacious. You can watch the video below.

Corinne Bailey Rae in 2005

Corinne Bailey Rae in 2005

I’ve been a fan of this lovely lady since 'Like A Star' which I’ve just realised was released over a decade ago. In that time her hair has been as consistent as her sound. Always in some sort of twist out, always healthy and lush. The difference compared to 10 years ago is the length. If anyone could be an ambassador for growing afro hair long it’s this sweet song bird. Just look at how much it’s grown in a decade...

In 2011 she spoke to one of my favourite hair blogs, Curly Nikki, about her hair story. You can read the full interview about her hair regime, favourite products, mane inspirations and more here

Corinne Bailey Rae’s hair how-to for her staple style:

  • Wash it
  • Condition it
  • Detangle it with a big paddle brush which takes 40 minutes. I do it from the ends to the roots and then I put it in 4 or so plaits.
  • I plait the front section and then one in the crown and two at the sides.
  • Leave that for a day or a day and a half
  • When I take them down it’s in those loose kinks from the plaits but it’s still a bit wet so my natural curl kind of comes back in a but and it’s a combination between those kind of kinks and my normal curls. 

Will we ever see Beyonce's real hair?

Lynda Moyo

Before I get stung to death by the BeyHive, let me start by saying I absolutely love Formation and the conversations it has sparked. But obviously as this is a hair blog, I have to talk SHOP and so my question is this...

Will we ever see Beyonce's own "baby hair and afros"?

It appears to me that Formation was the perfect opportunity to ditch some of the wigs and weaves and showcase what lies beneath, but the closest we got to natural B was braid extensions. With charged lyrics, passionately defending her choice to quite rightly keep Blue Ivy's hair au naturale and the fact that black hair as a topic itself is so damn political, it would have been an even more powerful statement had we have seen her sans virgin remy. You know, I'll show you mine if you show me yours?

Beautiful Blue Ivy and her natural hair

Beautiful Blue Ivy and her natural hair

That said, this is brand Beyonce and I can only assume that she a) likes to have long blonde hair and therefore has to protect and hide her own hair in order to achieve that look, b) wants to maintain her public image which is sort of supposedly ethnically ambiguous, or at least created to look that way to sell to a diverse audience and c) doesn't give two hoots what I think.

Probably the latter.

Her hair is now an enigma to the point where some people actually believe that those silky blonde strands grow out of her scalp, which I find kind of disturbing. But as Ingrid Banks, an associate professor of black studies at the University of California said: “For black women, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you’ve got straight hair, you’re pegged as selling out. If you don’t straighten your hair you’re seen as not practising appropriate grooming practices.”

I guess my point is, given that Blue Ivy is mentioned in the song, it reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in a small town in North West England looking for someone, ANYONE, who looked even a little bit like me on the TV. And what I found was 90s girl band Eternal in their music video for 'I wanna be the only one'.

I sat there with my sister puzzling over how they got their hair so silky and straight while I was still being teased with 'hair bear bunch'. It just didn't seem fair.

"I want slippy hair like that" I said. And that was the catalyst for the relaxer addiction and weave obsession to follow over the next decade.

Fast forward to the Formation video and subsequent Superbowl performance and I had butterflies at the sight of bushy afros, braids and protective styles being viewed with the same awe. Oh how far we've come to, ironically, get all the way back to what was always ours.

But wait that's her afro! Na, that's an afro WEAVE. <sighs>

But wait that's her afro! Na, that's an afro WEAVE. <sighs>

It's not that I'm against relaxer or weave. Far from it. I'm not on a particular hair team. But as actress and fellow curly Thandie Newton so accurately summed up in an interview on 'good hair': "Ultimately the goal is to be free to do whatever you want with your hair. But what we ‘want’ is influenced by so many factors."

Andrea Pippins beautiful illustration

Andrea Pippins beautiful illustration

The whole hair story in Beyonce's Formation presents many positive factors. Disappointingly for me she wears wigs and weave throughout but nonetheless the plethora of different textures and styles she presents have certainly helped redress the balance I never had as a child - and one Beyonce clearly wants for her own daughter too.

For me personally, Formation was perhaps just one natural hair reveal short of absolute perfection.

Maybe next time hey Bey?

My real afro by the way. Before anyone asks.

My real afro by the way. Before anyone asks.

Blonde faux locs tutorial

Lynda Moyo

I spent much of my childhood wearing what we now call box braids, but back then they were more a taming method rather than a bid to look like I'd been styled by Solange. In other words, I wore them because it was all I knew and so when friends and strangers alike would say "nice dreadlocks" I used to feel mortified. I didn't really want plaits, but I definitely did not want dreads. Dreads were for male rastas right, not sweet 16 year old girls like me.

Sadly dreads have always had a unfairly warped rep. The Guliana Rancic V Zendaya incident wasn't much of a surprise to me but the fall out from it was certainly refreshing, perhaps not for Guliana but for loc rockin ladies worldwide. 

The gallery below shows all the women who inspired me to try this look and showed me dreads can be sexy, stylish and professional if you want them to be....

locsladies

What did I use?

In total I used 5 packs of Marley hair which cost £4.99 per pack. I also used 3 packs of Kanekelon hair to braid my hair before wrapping.

How did I do it?

I took a section of hair about the size of a box braid and braided in some Kanekelon hair. As you can see I chose light coloured Kanekelon so that it would blend better if the locs unravelled a bit. This was a good choice because some of them did indeed unravel but it wasn't too noticeable thanks to the blonde Kanekelon hair underneath. I then took one piece of Marley hair and began wrapping. You can watch how I wrapped in the video. The ends were then wrapped back up themselves (again watch the video to understand what I mean!) and then burnt with a lighter to seal them.

 

How long did it take?

FOREVER and a day. No lie, this hairstyle took me far far far too long! So long in fact that I dont even know how my hours in total as I ended up dipping in and out rather than doing it all in one day. At a guess I think I spent 20 hours on this. But next time I'll definitely be faster now I know exactly what I'm doing.

How do I sleep with it?

I don't do anything other than tie them up. I find head scarves and tights just come off in the night and to be honest I don't mind if my locs start to look a bit messy anyway. 

Was it worth it?!

At first I was really downbeat about the whole experience. I found the process long, I didn't like the look when I was half way through, the locs felt really heavy so I worried it was a damaging style and my finger tips were kinda burnt and numb from burning the ends of the locs. However, I persevered, finished it and then it started to settle on my head. I know that sounds strange but new protective styles do need time to bed in. And I have to say locs look better when they're not perfect. I guess they look more authentic. I got used to the weight of the locs and I redid the front so it wasn't so tight. 

Tips for anyone trying this style...

  • Allow yourself lots of time.
  • Don't do the locs to tight to the scalp. If it feels too tight, it probably is.
  • Don't worry about being too neat. This is one style that you can get away with looking imperfect!
  • Rock those locs like you mean it. This is a really bold style, especially if you decide to go platinum blonde like I did so it's best worn with a little 'tude. You can see it on all the faces of the women on the inspiration board above. Own it.