My Salon experience: Umoja market Nairobi

January 24, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen that my hair is in a protective hairstyle. I got box braids done at the Umoja market in Nairobi about a week and a half ago. 

Umoja market is a market that mainly deals with hair. There are lots of stalls which only do hair and they are known for working very fast. If you have not been to this market or to Kenyatta market then you need one major pointer! Find a number of a stylist from someone who has been there before. This will spare you a lot of trouble because the ladies who do hair walk as far as the bus stop to try and convince potential customers to have their hair done at their stalls. It can be really annoying because those ladies don't leave one alone easily.
Before getting my braids I conditioned my hair with the Zoe white conditioner and applied coconut oil afterwards. A review on the Zoe white conditioner coming soon on the blog). I went to the salon to stretch out my hair and to me it looked stretched enough to braid. But when I got to the Salon the lady said it had to be straightened otherwise it would be too painful for me. I agreed to have it straightened. The lady who was assigned to blow out my hair picked up the blow dryer and was about to start blow drying my hair without even detangling it first! I was shocked! So I spoke up and told her that if she did that she would just break my hair.(I know we hair journey people are very sensitive when it comes to our hair.) she seemed like she really had no idea what to do with my hair . She went on ahead and got her boss who took her time to detangle my hair in sections and then blow out my hair. Her boss complimented my hair a lot and asked me to go back sometime for a straw set. She also wanted to know how I managed my natural hair without plaiting or braiding. Up to that point my hair has not been braided in more than one year.

I talked hair with the stylist until she was done blow drying to distract myself from all that heat going into my hair! I honestly even prayed against heat damage I believe that I can ask God for everything 
After that torture it was time to get braided up. I am quite conservative and never really want to experiment with colours but when the stylist suggested I try the hair colour 1B/30 I was a bit sceptical but gave in. For me it was also important to get the lightest braids they had and in this case it was the xpression braids. I don't regret that decision because they are very light. Abuja hair which I used a year ago felt noticeably heavier on my head. Remember that synthetic hair is much heavier than our own hair, getting light synthetic hair will reduce unnecessary breakage.
I mentioned earlier on that the braiders at Umoja one market are very fast, this is because the braids are fixed by about three people at the same time and you might have about two people finish up the fixed braids. This is very fast but for someone who has their hair braided once a year it is painful because the scalp is more sensitive to stress.
The ladies did a great job though. I asked for medium sized braids and got exactly that. The hair they parted to do the braids was also proportional to the size of the braid which means that it can't be too heavy for my hair and end up pulling out my hair. It is so annoying when the braid weighs much more than the parted hair because it causes breakage.

I also realized that it was a good idea to have the hair straight prior to braiding because my hair blended in perfectly with the braiding hair. There were and still aren't any hairs sticking out. My only question is what it will look like after my first wash. If you have experience with braids and natural hair please comment below.
Within two hours the braids were done! One of the ladies took some thread and tied all the hair into a ponytail. This was so painful! As if that was not enough she had to put the hair into hot water which made it a thousand times heavier than normal and this made the pain unbearable. I tried to control myself but I couldn't so I undid the thread and let the hair loose. I decided to let the hair fall in the same direction they were braided and this really eased the pain. Making the braids fall into the opposite direction as the one they were done in to start with can cause too much stress on the hair follicles and pull them out prematurely causing bald spots in extreme cases. 
As long as there is discomfort while lifting up braids while styling, leave the braids alone let them fall in their natural direction until the hair grows out a little bit and the braids become looser. 
It is now almost two weeks with these braids and I still have them in their natural direction but as soon as they become looser I will experiment more with braid hairstyles (looking forward to this J
I know this post is long but I hope it has been informative to you. If you have any tips for braids please share below. 

Thanks for reading & stay blessed!
Joanne








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16 comments

  1. Your braids are really nice. How long are you intending on leaving them on your hair?


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  2. Thank you! I will leave them in for about 5-6 weeks.

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  3. You are looking nice in braids hair style.

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  4. Your hair looks fabulous and I really reaaaally love the colour. I had red hair for about a year but because I'm a natural blonde, it faded incredibly quickly to an unflattering pale pinky-orange after just a couple of weeks.

    I also can't wait to have it long again! I've never made it to waist-length but always had pretty long hair until 2016 when I cut it into a super-short pixie. Loved it but now can't wait to have long flowing lock again! :) xx
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  8. I went for the first time to this market. As a natural i was sceptical. i experienced the same things you said but they ignored my advise. They have no idea of how to take care of natural hair or any hair. and ignored my advise and concerns. Because i have lost alot of my hair. I wouldnt recommend any one to them due to their ignorance. a salon should be about taking care of your customers hair not just taking money. it is my first and last timei am going there, i plan to post the pictures when checking for reviews so no one else goes through the same thing, The salon has to learn it importance having the skills to maintain different hair types in terms of natural or chemically straightened.

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    Replies
    1. I am so sorry about your bad salon experience and you are so right about their lack of expertise. did you notice unnoticeable breakage after undoing the braids?

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  10. Smart idea, even adults can make one of these for ourselves, and she looks so precious :)

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  11. Thank you so much that was so helpful my hair is already so long but its pretty much stopped growing and I want it down to my knees so I can donate some of it this really uelps thanks again your awesome
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  13. Great blog. I have seen your Instagram profile too. Nice photos.

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  14. I am in Nairobi for the first time... I want to get my natural hair braided, but like you I don't want any foolishness. Where/to whom should I go to for my braids in Umoja Market?

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