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March 18th, 2014

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It’s so funny—years ago I hated weave. Then I’d go to a local salon and have them add maybe 2-3 tracks for length and volume, but then after like a week or two, I’d be back to have it taken out. Then I decided on it again when I was transitioning out of my relaxer, but then I thought 12 inches was too long…lol. Gradually my weaves got longer and longer—and at one point I even swore off wavy textured extensions—but that was because I hadn’t yet tried Echelon Hair’s Deep Wavy. And got turnt owt!

Because I knew I’d be going to the Caribbean for two weeks which would include things like being out in the sun all day, playing mas, going to the beach, and not having much time for primping, I knew I needed a style that would be easy for me to get in and get out and still look good. I partnered with Echelon Hair, a luxury hair extension brand based in NYC to get the perfect look I needed for my trip. I headed over to the Echelon HQ in the Empire State Building to pick out the hair. From looking online I knew I wanted the Deep Wavy from the Nature Collection, but when I saw it in person I was totally in love. I got three bundles in 22″, 18″, and 14″ because I wanted a full, layered look. And OMG when you get the hair it comes in this totally posh gold pouch and the hair itself smells AMAZING. Echelon set me up with an appointment with their partner stylist Fashion Hendricks, owner of the NYC Weave Studio. I didn’t have time to get pictures of the hair on its own because right after I picked it up, I had to run over to Fashion to get it installed since I was leaving town for a press trip the next day.

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My hair about 15 minutes after leaving Fashion’s studio

LOVE Fashion! First of all her salon is the cutest—decorated with touches of pink and leopard print, it’s totally chic and girly. Second, she’s FAAAAAAST. I got to her about 10 minutes earlier than my appointment and she was already ready for me and got me installed, cut, and styled in about two hours. Third, she did an AMAZING job with my hair. AMAZING! I’ve been on the hunt for a backup stylist when my regular stylist is booked or out of town and I’d totally go back to Fashion. Fourth, she has an amazing personality and is super professional. I’d highly recommend looking her up based on my experience. You can find info on her studio and pricing here (she’s really affordable—it’s almost like a steal really).

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Fashion used a net for my install (my first one—not sure why I thought they’d be so stiffling, but I can still get to everything like I normally could and often forget it’s there). No tension, no pulling, no pain—just like I like it 🙂

So back to the hair.

MY THOUGHTS

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Me in Tobago. I’m 5’9″ and the longest layer hits about 3-4 inches below my bra band

I LOVE! As you can see it can be worn straight—which is how I elected to wear it when I got my hair done because I was going to Cincinnati the next day and the hair in its natural state is pretty big. I kept it straight until I got to Trinidad about a week later and washed my hair after being out in the sun. Thank goodness my cousin has a salon attached to the house in Trinidad because I was able to dry my hair under a hooded dryer to ensure the braids and everything were completely dry (weaves can notoriously take forever to completely dry).

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When worn in its natural texture, this hair is amazing! I have natural hair that I style straight and had no problems with blending (when I would get the hair wet at the beach I’d just wear headbands to cover the area left out—btw, about a swoop bang’s worth of hair was left out and I did a side part because I’m still growing out the shaved side cut—but with the net I believe I could have done a middle part—which I might do next if I decide to reinstall soon). With the hair in its natural texture, I didn’t need to get my leave out super straight. I also loved that the hotter it got, the bigger my hair got. I’ve been trying to get that same volume back since I’ve been back in whack NYC weather—turning my hair upside down and blasting it with the blow dryer helps but of course there’s nothing like some heat and humidity for this hair to do its utmost 🙂

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MAINTENANCE

Just because weave isn’t growing out of your scalp doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of it like you would your own hair. You can maintain this hair without regular salon visits because its natural texture takes very little to manipulate. Shedding is minimal—less than what you’d experience with your own hair, but it does shed somewhat which I think is normal based on the many weaves I’ve worn. This hair can tangle if you do not take care of it—any textured hair will—we know that from dealing with our own textured hair. What I do is brush it out with a paddle brush before bed and then put it in 3-4 big twists and then I’ll put a satin bonnet on for bed (try a satin pillowcase if you’re concerned with how Little House on the Prairie a bonnet looks…lol). You can also use a wide tooth comb to make sure you detangle.

I work out plus I don’t like putting heat on dirty hair (never works out) so I tend to wash weekly—how often you wash depends on your hair and your lifestyle but don’t be this girl.

Products I used and loved on this hair included Mizani Thermasmooth System for my leave out (one of my faves for at-home straightening), Pantene Smooth & Sleek Shampoo and TRESemmé Nourishing Moisture Conditioner on the weave itself along with Toni & Guy Texturizing Sea Salt Spray. I also loved using Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion on the wet hair and then sitting under the dryer to give the waves some more oomph. Ditto with TRESemmé Extra Firm Control Mousse.

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