For Brooklyn native, Refinery29 staffer, and star of this week's episode of Hair Me Out Sandy Pierre, a protective style makes summer activities — like going to the beach or the pool — a lot easier on your hair, whether it's relaxed or transitioning to natural. "It's Brooklyn in the summer, so you see every girl walking down the block with their braids," she explains. "We just look at each other like, 'Oh, you cute, sis.'"
For this summer, given the heat and the energy coming out of quarantine, Pierre wants to try stitch braids, which her braider, Lestania Mckenzie, describes as a "freestyle" braid. "A stitch braid is a beaded braid with a twist," Mckenzie explains. "The twist is that the line that separates the braids is made make to look like a stitch, like when you get stitches."
The three-hour process involves first blowdrying the hair with a comb attachment. Then the hair is separated at the scalp and each small section is braided, starting right at the root and running about three inches down before the extensions are added. "From there, I braid the extensions all the way to the ends, using my pinkie finger to slice through the hair," Mckenzie explains of her process. "I then dip the ends of the braids in hot water to make sure the hair stays flexible and it looks natural and not stiff." Finally, the edges are laid to perfection and oil is applied all over the braids and scalp for maximum shine.
At the end of her appointment, Pierre is ecstatic. "This is so cute," she exclaims, adding that the stitch-style braids fit her summer "tomboy-chic" aesthetic to a tee. "They bring out my lashes; my edges are popping. This is going to be a staple for the summer and really make my outfits pop."