In a world full of waves, kinks and coils, protective styles are used to preserve all natural hair types; but when sporting a protective style, wearers usually gravitate towards styles that are long-lasting, versatile and look natural. Enter the "bubble braid" to change everything.

The Smith sisters in Kansas City perfected the "bubble braid" technique for natural hair and their discovery has led their salon, Braid Heaven, to be very successful. Glynnis Smith, the eldest sister, played with this new technique in her own hair and eventually others began to take notice. According to Allure, she recreated the style on her brother’s girlfriend and before she knew it, the demand for this style began to travel through their neighborhood. With an expanding client list, long hours and a six day work week, in 2006, she opened the Braid Heaven salon. 


PHOTO: Fumi Nagasaka 

In the salon, the sisters create multiple styles but stay true to their authentic "bubble braiding" method. The only people Glynnis has shared this technique with are her four sisters and a niece. They are determined to keep this family secret a secret but they did share with Allure that their method incorporates adding human or synthetic extensions to the client's natural hair in a way that their hair is protected underneath the braid. It allows the wearer to wear their hair in different styles, including a high ponytail if desired, without revealing tracks or wefts. Also, thanks to the versatility of the method, it allows the braider to easily manipulate various curl patterns. 

Shelly Smith also said that, with their technique, they can add different textures of hair to the client's natural hair to create a realistic and full head of hair. 

"With natural black hair, there is no uniformity on a single head," she told Allure. "With our technique, we can add in several different textures of hair, and that inconsistency makes it look real."


PHOTO: Fumi Nagasaka

Although we may not fully understand how this family achieve their bountiful hair looks on themselves and their clients, the end results speak for themselves!

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