“My properties, my property!!!!” Who didn’t love Patra and her dope ass box braids back in the 90’s? I know I did! I was in the sixth or seventh grade talkin’ bout “I’m on a romantic call, I’m talking to mi baby down in di yaaaaaard” and had absolutely no idea what the hell this Jamaican woman was talking about. Maybe it was because I hadn’t yet mastered the patois language (and still haven’t by the way).
In addition to Patra, Yoyo (the west coast rapper featured in the video above) and Janet Jackson (in Poetic Justice –> http://ultimahair.com/hairtalk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Poetic-Justice-1993-janet-jackson-30737107-1024-606-e1343949198611.jpg) were very influential as well. Their braids were bold & neat and had women flocking in droves to hair salons to emulate their styles.
Despite the fact I admired their braids, I never indulged. I was more interested in getting my hair styled in micro braids or invisible braids (done with human hair as opposed to the synthetic hair used in the box braids aforementioned) something like this: http://media.merchantcircle.com/24174618/micro%20braids_full.jpeg.
Fast forward to 2014, it seems that there has not only been a resurgence in the popularity of “Patra braids” aka box braids, but also a new form of box braids called Senegalese Twists. Senegalese twists originated in Senegal, West Africa and are done with the use of Synthetic hair and a twisting technique. I decided that I wanted my hair twisted last Thursday night so I reached out to a few associates and friends for referrals. After comparing pricing and accessibility I decided to go to Max Stylist, located in Downtown Brooklyn. I phoned the owner, Max, at 10:30 pm Thursday night and had an appointment for the following morning at 10:00 am.
I walked up the block to catch the Q38 bus to the salon. My total travel time (bus ride and walk) was under 35 minutes. Max Stylist (Hair Braiding Specialist) specializes in Corn Row Twists, Flat Twists, Senegalese Twists, Dreadlocks, Goddess Braids, and Box Braids. They are located at 9A Flatbush Avenue (between Nevins Station & Fulton Mall), Brooklyn, NY 11217. Phone # (646) 262-4488. The salon is IMMACULATE and also offers eyebrow waxing/threading and lashes should you care to utilize those services.
Being as how I’d never had my hair twisted before I was very nervous. How would they come out? Would they be heavy? Would the twists look right on me? I didn’t stress it, I just sat back in that chair and let my stylist do her thing.
Typically you would get your hair washed and conditioned before getting your hair braided/twisted, but I washed and conditioned my own hair that morning before traveling to the shop. I commuted to the shop in a headwrap since my freshly washed and blow dried hair couldn’t be contained in a hat.
The Senegalese twist technique seems simple, but I’m sure it takes practice. Fatoo (my stylist) started off with a box braid, then quickly changed to a silky twist. To prevent the twists from unraveling, she ended each twist by braiding it and leaving the ends out. After the twisting/braiding process is done, Fatoo used shears to cut any stray hairs. Next, mousse was placed all over my scalp to tame any fuzzy hair that the shears may have missed. After this, she used a lighter to seal the shafts of my twists (to ensure my twists maintained their neatness). Next, the ends of my twists were dipped in boiling hot water and dried with a towel. Finally, oil & braid sheen spray were sprayed all over my scalp (this is VERY refreshing and cooling to my tender scalp).
Once done, you have the option to have it styled (into a bun), or to leave it out as I did (with a few braids pulled back). It took Fatoo approximately 5.5 hours to complete this job (depending on the desired size it may have taken 4 – 6 hours). It would’ve gone even faster had I not stopped for lunch (I grabbed a stew chicken lunch special from the Golden Krust about three stores down from the shop. If Golden Krust (West Indian cuisine) doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can go to Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, or the bodega – all steps away from the salon). You would think that sitting for that long was exhausting, but it truly wasn’t. Between the book that I had to read, the salon conversations taking place, comfortable seating and the cable television on the big screen, the time flew by!
My girlfriend’s picked me up and we went back to my place briefly – where I changed my clothes and did my makeup so we could hit the streets of Brooklyn.
If you’re on the fence about getting these twists, get off the fence and make an appointment! They’re lightweight, a great protective style, extremely manageable, fun, beautiful, and hella sexy (or so I’ve been told). This was the best $160 (that price included hair, labor, and a $20 tip for my stylist) that I’ve spent in a long time. If you visit please note, all payments must be made in cash as credit cards are not allowed. You can visit Chase bank directly across the street, the ATM bodega ($1.50 fee) next door, or the ATM in the CVS across the street to withdraw money.
Until next time friends!