Month of Braids Challenge

In my previous post, I promised to only do one blog post per week so that I could give you the most high quality work. I will keep this short and sweet and leave you with photos and tutorials to play with.

For the month of February, I participated in a #30daysnewbraids challenge, which at the outset I envisioned being easy and fun. But it was actually kind of hard for me.

I've never out much stock in personal beauty habits. I'm a girl, I like to look pretty, but spending an hour doing makeup + hair each morning? Ew. Sleep is better. Breakfast is better. Even a thirty-minute sweaty workout makes me feel more prepped for the day than an hour primping in the bathroom.

So there were several days where I almost quit. Nights when I was ready to crawl into bed and I still hadn't braided my hair for the day. But in the end, I didn't skip a single day, and that's a lot more encouraging to me than how the braids actually turned out.

Here's what I learned from all of this (you can find all the photos from my challenge at the bottom of this post, including some links to tutorials on how to do them yourself.):

  1. Having a morning routine is invaluable. Getting in a rut is never a good thing, but a little consistency goes a long way. I loved the days when I would wake up and braid my hair before the baby was up. I felt so ready for the day ahead. Whatever happens after that initial morning routine, bring it. Morning devos, a workout, a healthy breakfast, putting on some mascara - whatever it is, wake up a few minutes early to accomplish this small task. You'll feel better for it.
  2. Beauty is something we choose to believe. I felt prettier each time I braided my hair. Even if the braid turned out badly or looked terrible with my face shape (that's a thing), I knew that I was worth taking a few minutes for my physical appearance. Crazy, right? Doing my hair doesn't technically make me any more beautiful than I was before. But putting in a teeny bit of effort does makes a difference in how you perceive yourself. Choose to believe you're beautiful, today and every day (say it out loud if that helps).
  3. Challenges work out my patience muscles. I usually can't be bothered to deal with something that doesn't show promise within ten minutes. I'm sort of distractable/impatient that way. But bring a little competition in (even if I'm playing against myself) and I'll stick it out. Between unmanageable hair and a crying baby, I had to have patience to get my hair to look anything like the photos I was looking at - and sometimes it took more than one try. Spot-on training right there.

>> #30DaysofBraids <<

#1 Mini Single Braid (first day of the challenge and I had only decided to do it that morning, so I started small and gave myself grace)
#2 Regular
#3 French Braided Pigtails
#4 Combo Side-Braid
#5 Dutch Wrap-Around
#6 Twisted Half-Crown
#7 Pull-Through Ponytail (note: this braid is not easier to do with wet hair!)
#8 French-Braided Fishtail - my first (failed) attempt
#9 French-Braided Dutch - Mohawk Style
#10 Braided Flower Crown (supposed to look like three roses, but it's a bit tough to accomplish when you're driving to church and can't see the back of your head)
#11 Half Up-Do - a tiny braid wrapped around a half-up ponytail
#12 4-Strand - Dutch Style ("dutch" meaning strands go under not over when braiding)
#13 Bohemian Side Braid - regular braid with a fishtail at the bottom
#14 French-Braided Fishtail - my second and far improved attempt! (My hair is very fine, so doing this style while it was wet made things massively better.)
#15 Underneath the Ponytail Braid (I have tried this braid a few times, and man, I cannot get it to look right at all. I braided my hair and pulled the ponytail up into a bun, only to discover that you could only barely see a braid in the back at all. Go figure.)
#16 Waterfall
#17 The Double-Dutch (or as I like to call it, hide the greasy mom-bangs)
#18 Lace Braided Headband
#19 3-D Pull-Through Braid - You're gonna want to try this one (trust me!), so here's the tutorial
#20 Mini Braids with Embroidery Floss + Beads
#21 5-Strand - another one that looks super tricky, but this EASY tutorial made all the difference.
#22 Regular French
#23 Side-Braids - no clue what this one is called, I attempted this but failed miserably without any sort of tutorial. Here's to trying some of these again!
#24 Mermaid
#25 Fishtail Pigtails
#26 Triple-Braided Mohawk - if you can do this one better, please give me your tips! It was supposed to look like this.
#27 Rose Pony
#28 Mini Fishtails - Gypsy Look
#29 Shoelace Crown - oh-so-fun, you must try it, literally you are tying your hair in knots and somehow it ends up elegant.
#30 I tried three different braids on my last day, and I didn't get any good photos. So much for going out with a bang...

Let me know how it goes if you try any of these braids! Are there any hairstyles you've been dying to try?

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