Thursday, 26 December 2013

X-Pressions How I love thee

Hi all, it's December already? The end of the year? The last 2 months have been weddings, exhibitions, Thanksgiving and hair events in America, Christmas with my family in London and a hair project with the BBC. The last year has been awesome, I can honestly say I have made a living from doing what I am passionate about. I have met some amazing people.

I've always been a "braid" kind of girl, I like my hair extensions and I rarely have weave installs. When installing braids, I only ever use X-pression hair. The packaging must say "Made in Nigeria".

Whenever I'm in Nigeria, I always go to Balogun market, your go to place for all things associated with hair in Lagos. The minute you walk into the narrow alley way, there are stall holders shouting "Is it Brazilian you want? " "Sister, check this side we have Indian" "Aunty, what do you want? Is it cream? Or weavon?"

A stall in Balogun Market 

The first time I had braids, I used "human hair" it cost an arm and a leg for 3 bags (enough for a full braid install), but it was worth it, what didn't I do to my "human" hair extensions? I washed, blow dried, curled and straightened that install. The disadvantage was after 8 weeks, the braids were taken down and the hair extensions thrown away (years later at a salon in Lagos I discovered people reuse their "human braiding hair"). Ever since that install, I would do my braids by myself with "human hair" extensions. I often bought colour 1, 1b and colour 2 to get this effect but braided the hair to the ends of my natural hair.

Stephanie Okereke, face of Kanekelon Hair

Whilst on holiday in Lagos a few years back, my Aunt had called some stylists to do my hair at her office, they came with a bag of hair. my Aunt brought each bag out one by one, the stylists were eager to impress "Mummy we have Amina, we have Amigos", to which my Aunt replied "Nobody uses Amigos again and , AmAmina is too harsh. Go and buy expressions and start doing this child's hair"

Years later as a stylist and one who has been to "learn salon work" (learn under braid experts) Expressions is the most versatile type of hair extension you can ever use.

Pick and drop, a style where the hair is braided from the roots a few inches down, in some cases a knot is tied at the end of the braid, depending on the stylist and if the client is going for a bone straight look.

It can be left straight, or braided, or thread can be secured at the ends, pulled up creating a spiral shape, dipped in hot water and unraveled, for a curly look.

It can be braided a few inches down twisted (Senegalese braid method), dipped in hot water and unraveled, also referred to as "Watermelon" (not sure why)


Its can be used for cornrows or didi

Didi (inverted cornrows with Senegalese twists)

Ghana weaving

Ghana weaving, with twisted braids, and rollers used at the end for a curly effect

Ghana Didi

Ghana Didi

Tree braids also known as fishbone or African Queen, to achieve a sleek look, it can be blowdried or flat ironed on a low temperature.

Tree Braids

Curly/wavy version of treebraids

Box braids, jumbo braids, micro braids,million braids, the smaller the braid the less hair used

Box Braids

Micro braids

Tight jumbo braids in colour 35

Some of my work, regular Braids with twists at the end, colour 4, 33 and 1b were used

Jumbo braids with colour 30

My all time favourite..... Senegalese twists

Waist length, twists always look better when they are medium sized

My version of Senegalese twists

A combination of these different styles can be used to create new styles altogether

An updo consisting of Ghana weaving with Senegalese twists at the end

Yes, this was done with expressions, a well trained stylist should know how to manipulate expressions to create majority these styles.

You can create a bob, by holding the ends of the hair in a curling tong and dipping it in hot water at the same time.

On the back of each packet of X-pressions, it mentions it contains kanekalon hot water technology, which means it can be manipulated by braiding, twisting and curling then dipped in hot water. The trick is not to dip the hair into boiling hot water when the hair is braided or twisted to the ends. Let the water cool down for a minute, then dip it in quickly, use a hot damp towel for the hair near the roots, add mousse and hairspray for the the finished product. Only dip it in boiling hot water when you have manipulated the hair first by braiding or twisting, do this whilst it is dry if you want a curly/wavy look, and leave the hair for a few seconds in boiling hot water. Take it out, and squeeze it dry with a towel or an old t-shirt, this helps to hold the new curl pattern, then unravel, the twists, braids, or thread used to manipulate the X-pressions.

A lot of my African American clients swore by Kanakelon hair, until they use X-pression hair, the icing on the cake is it comes in over 50 different colours. My favourite colours to use are colour 33, colour 4, colour 1 and colour 30.

Which styles do you like above? Which styles have you done before? Leave a comment below.

In my next post "Product Junkie" I will have a giveaway so check back, for all the details and how to enter the giveaway.

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