Hair stylist Brandi Branford, 28, has been in the hair cutting business for twelve years and is currently styling hair at Hair Masters on 13th Avenue. While she performs just about every hairstyle technique – from a simple cut, to color, to cornrows – styling weaves for customers is her specialty and her favorite.
“Everyone can do a cut, but not a lot of people can do a weave,” Branford says.
Branford’s customer of five years, Halle Mitchell, 18, has been getting weaves since she was 12 years old. Weaves come in all different styles and grades of hair, such as synthetic, human and fine hairs. Mitchell uses weaves that are made of real human hair because she says she can style them easily.
The first step to putting in a weave is taking the old one out. Branford starts from the bottom of the head and cuts out each track of hair. The whole process from start to finish takes about five hours depending on how thorough the hairstylist is.
“You wouldn’t think it would take a long time, but it does,” Branford says. “It’s definitely something you don’t want to rush.”
After she finishes cutting out the old weave, Branford starts taking out the cornrows of real hair and brushing them out. A lot of hair falls out because it has been wrapped up for so long. Branford says that’s normal, though, because on average a person loses 50-100 strands of hair a day.
A weave keeps hair healthy and helps with growing it out because it “protects your hair from natural weather and keeps it conditioned,” Branford says.
When she has brushed all of the hair out Branford takes Mitchell to the sink and washes her hair about five times. Since the hair has not been washed for about four months it is good to wash it very thoroughly, Branford says.
After the hair is clean Branford sits Mitchell back down in the chair and starts to reapply the cornrows to her hair.
Once the cornrows are tightly braided into Mitchell’s hair, the longest part begins. To put in a weave Branford has to sew the tracks of hair into a net that is placed over the cornrows. Depending on the size of the wefts, what the hair is attached to and sewn onto the head, it can be hard to put the needle through the small holes of the net.
A couple hours later Branford completes the weave. Even though it is tightly sewn in, it does not seem to bother Mitchell. “You get used to it after a while, and since I have had so many (weaves) it doesn’t bother me anymore,” Mitchell says.
Branford finishes out the appointment with a styling. She curls Mitchell’s new weave into a simple wavy style.