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How To Kill Six Hours While You're Getting Your Hair Braided

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I got my first installment of braids when I was six years old—let me set the scene for you. My stylist was late, my mom was excited (10 hours of salon daycare!), and, unbeknownst to my mom, I was bracing myself for butt-long braids. I arrived with several Mary-Kate and Ashley films in tow to make the day pass more quickly, but my stylist talked me into watching the cinematic treasure (but definitely not age-appropriate) Titanic, instead. The braiding commenced and so did the greatest ice and heart melting love story of our generation.

Three hours and 15 minutes later, the movie was over but my hair was not anywhere near finished. So, like most first graders, I asked for a second showing. Reluctantly my stylist played Titanic again. And... again. When my mom returned, I had three feet-long hair and some explaining to do, but a lifelong lesson was learned—braids take time and a steady stream of entertainment is a must. (And also: don’t get butt-long braids when you’re six or your mom will absolutely take away your NanoPet for a full week.)

As an adult, I prefer to binge trashy shows and kiki with my stylist during my braiding appointment. But that’s just me. My friends at work like to approach it differently. How does one kill eight hours or more in a salon chair? Let the ladies of Glossier tell you.

The “Podcast” Plan

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“The key to getting Senegalese twists done? Arriving to the braiding salon with a fully-charged phone. During that time, I’ll catch up on whatever episodic saga I have sitting in my HBO queue. However, with my hairstylist moving my head in various angles throughout our session, I know I’m bound to miss a couple things. Enter the podcast: there’s The Cutting Room Floor for a nice sip of fashion tea, Stance Podcast to expand my horizons a bit, and Unofficial Expert for a politely suppressed cackle. When that gets old, I’ll sit back, close my eyes, and wait for my hair to be done. Sometimes, it’s nice to do nothing at all while your hair gets did." — Utibe Mbagwu, Content Coordinator

The "Rosé and Serena" Plan

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“Wine and tennis do it for me! These were the two things which engaged my attention when I had my hair braided recently. (That session lasted 10 hours!)

It doesn't always take that long, sometimes I get away with six hours, but the length of time really depends on the style. That said, I love wearing braids! It's a great protective style and it gives me a break from styling my natural hair every day. The one drawback is the process, which can be very long and tedious. That’s the part I dread the most and I always have to mentally prepare for the long day. I find ways to keep myself entertained. It could be anything from reading, watching random videos on my phone or messaging with my family and friends. Sometimes I fall asleep in the chair, and almost all of the time I order food on Seamless—a girl gets hungry! The last time I got my hair braided was the day of the women's US Open final. Since I love tennis, I made sure to stream it on my phone. And the girl who was braiding my hair also had rosé on deck! So that definitely helped pass the time!” — Zina Gibbs, Coordinator of First Impressions

The "Enjoy The Ride" Plan

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“Over the years I've tried to come super prepared with tons of snacks, books, and unfinished work, but it's always been a challenge to truly immerse myself in these productive pastimes. Between the hair braiding stylist's demands to 'keep your head here', 'move your head there', and my tiny yelps of 'ouch, ouch, not too tight on the edges,' at the end of the day it all comes down to enjoying whichever movie, reality TV show, or soap opera that is playing in the salon or the home of my favorite stylist. I make sure my phone and backup chargers are fully charged for the four to eight hour appointment, depending on the style. And then I just enjoy the ride.” — Manouska Jeantus, gTeam Supervisor

The "No Social, Only Water" Plan

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“I can start by telling you a thing I try not to do is go on social media—I feel like it’s a rare time you have to just zone out in your own thoughts instead of mindlessly scrolling through your feed. I also like to spend time kiki-ing with my stylist as both of the ladies I go to are super funny and sweet, and we always end up having the best conversations. I’m also crazy about my water intake, so I make sure that I’m still consuming my daily gallon. And then I annoy my stylist by having to get up to pee four times!”— Priscilla Quaye, Executive Assistant

The "7 Step" Plan

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"I’ll start with my ultimate checklist:
1. A book
2. Advil (braiding my edges can hurt!)
3. A big breakfast and packed snacks like granola bars that are easy enough to eat in the chair
4. A pillow (because my butt can get sore)
5. A second neck pillow for hour four when I inevitably start falling asleep
5. A mini DVD player (or tablet) to keep myself preoccupied
6. A few crossword puzzles to break up the monotony
7. A good playlist to keep myself energized

Good luck!" — Sam Law, Lead, User Experience Research

The "The Stylist is Always Right" Plan

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"Over the years my plans have switched a million times. I've gone from watching movies, to reading books and catching up on work. I started this summer with a box braids appointment and knew I needed to change my process. I asked my stylist if there were any shows she was currently obsessed with and she mentioned she had just started watching Pose. Eight hours and two seasons of Pose later, I am now the world's biggest Pose fan. The category is: Live, love, braid, Pose. I recommend watching Pose while you get your hair done. You will not be disappointed." — Chloe Hall, Content Producer

— Chloe Hall

A few products to add to your braiding toolkit:

Photo via ITG