Thanks for stopping by! This is my corner of the blogosphere where I'm keeping track of
styles/techniques/products, lessons learned, my to-do list, and favourite links.
Feel free to offer any comments, feedback, or advice - I'm learning as I go !

Monday, January 31, 2011

Protected Ends in Twists

Started with banded ponytails
This week's style was a bit of a mishmash that evolved from the weekend's banded ponytails. I started with dry hair, stretched from banding. I spritzed the two back sections and twisted them. Initially I tried to do "sister twists" but they kept unravelling. I must have been doing something wrong?!?!? So I just went ahead and did my usual, non-sister twists. 

See the curved cornrows?
Not really? Sorry - still working
on photography skills
Once the back was done my plan was to cornrow the top two ponytailed sections. I started by cornrowing the hairline as I often do. Then I got kind of creative. I cornrowed down the hairline and then curved the cornrow upwards. I cornrowed a section down from the middle part to meet it, attached the two cornrows with a pink ouchless, and twisted the ends. I planned to continue some kind of creative cornrowing but we were both tired so I banded pigtails and braided them with a barrette at the bottom. JJ loved the pigtail look and I loved that her hairline and the back of her hair were taken care of (these are the two areas most prone to fuzziness and tangles). 

Protected ends!!!

I've been doing a lot of blog-hopping and **somewhere** (I just can't remember where....) I came across the idea of keeping the ends of twists protected by tucking them into a big twist or loose bun, JJ's hair is not quite long enough for that but I did put the twists together into a loose ponytail (still using strips from that old pair of tights) and tucked the ends under.

Her hair looked great this morning for school, but I still think I might add in a few cornrows - stay tuned!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In a rush!!

Last night I put coconut oil in JJ's hair and detangled. She slept with a silk scarf and had beautiful soft, shiny hair this morning (sorry no pic!). The plan was to wash and style this morning. 

Then the neighbours came over to play. We got completely distracted. Before we knew it, it was time to get to get going to ballet class. We had exactly 20 minutes. I very quickly shampooed and applied conditioner, finger detangled and then detangled with a wide tooth comb, and sectioned the hair into 4 large parts. I applied a shea/coconut oil mix. I cut up an old pair of tights into bands and made 4 banded ponytails. I braided the ends and attached the ends of the top ponytails into the bottom ponytails, then attached the two bottom ponytails together. Presto!

Copy Cat Puffs

The phone keeps JJ entertained at hair time! 

This week's style was inspired (well, okay, copied) from this style at Keep Me Curly. The only real difference was that I did flat twists into puffs instead of cornrows.  It was great and lasted well for the week. I did turn the puffs into large braids towards the end of the week to avoid big tangles.

For the twists I used a shea/coconut oil mixture. When I took the twists out I was impressed with the texture of JJ's hair - it was still very soft and smooth and even shiny. The texture/curl pattern was great too - kind of a spiral-y, stretched curl so I left it as a twistout in two pigtails.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Down and/or Out

It's the weekend, Daddy D is home, the kids are napping, I have a big work project due soon and I am procrastinating - all of this helps to make my recent posting "binge" a reality.

I've been wanting to think out loud here about "down" hair. In JJ's case, "down" hair isn't really a reality, it's more "out" hair. Daddy D kept telling me that once she had some length her hair would hang down instead of out, but I'm not convinced.

Below is the most "down" JJ's hair as ever hung without the help of a twist-out or braid-out. Lots of shrinkage.

 Freshly washed, with shea butter and coconut oil....
oops some coconut grit visible in this pic.

She REALLY didn't like the way it looked, but was happier with a headband:

I absolutely **LOVE** her hair out like this. But....she doesn't really, which makes me feel very sad. She'll look in the mirror, and ask for braids or twists. I want her to love her natural, "out" hair. When I talked about this with the amazing staff at The Curl Ambassadors they counseled me to keep her hair "out" as much as possible so she gets more accustomed to seeing it this way. They also recommended I make sure she sees lots of hair like hers in our dolls, books, and community. This is something we've always tried to do, and I'll dedicate another post to this topic soon.

There is another, practical issue with "out" hair. As I've mentioned, on weekday mornings I'm on my own to get the 3 kids to their 2 different day programs so I can get myself to work. "Out" hair takes more time in the mornings than I have. I'm trying to compromise by styling with bigger puffs, or half-up half-down hair. Braid-outs or twist-out towards the end of a hairstyle are also working for us.

Along these lines I thought I'd try out rollers. Maybe give JJ's hair a looser curl pattern (that might not get as tangled...) so we could get through the week without braids and twists? I found these satin-lined rollers at a very good price at my local discount store.

Sitting with satin rollers
Slept overnight with the silk scarf
that came with the rollers!

In the morning, rollers out.
Curls separated, added a bow.

So neither one of us loved this look. I tried to save it by putting the loosely curled hair into four ponytails with an x-part (sorry, no picture). In the end I gave up, spritzed JJ's hair to bring back the "real" curl pattern, and went with a puffy fro-hawky ponytail.  Live and learn!

P.S. Some more procrastinating/surfing brought me to this post on elongating curls at Beads, Braids and Beyond. Seems like a missing link for JJ's hair coud be overnight conditioner for easier morning detangling?

P.P.S. More procrastinating: I just read this post on the Dangers of Afros and feel better about using 2-strand twists as the default hairstyle....

More Little Brother Hair

K's hair with Supercurl cream
K's hair never gets as much attention as JJ's. As I've said before, he's not too big on manipulation. I've been experimenting with different products for his hair. He has a different curl pattern than JJ - with tighter coils framing his face and looser curls at the top of his head.

His usual routine:
  • Shampoo every week or two depending on circumstances, using a no-sulfate shampoo or a mix of warm water and baking soda. Then I leave conditioner in for as long as he's willing to sit in the bath, finger detangle, and rinse. Occasionally I go "all-out" and comb with a wide-tooth comb while the conditioner is in. "Style" clean hair with a leave-in product or shea/oil combo (coconut/almond/macadamia).
  • In between shampoos, co-wash (with conditioner only) and finger detangle. 
  • Daily routine (morning): spritz with water/jojaba oil/leave-in conditioner mix, finger detangle while applying coconut oil. In the evening K sometimes sleeps with a cap, especially because he likes to do what his big sister does. When I remember I apply some shea butter mixed with either coconut/almond/macadamia oil before bed.

Once in a while I'll use some fancier product on his hair. The other day I used some of JJ's Uncle Funky's Daughter Supercurl Miracle Moisture Cream. It looked and felt soft, and smelled amazing. Interestingly, it seemed to make his coils even tighter.  JJ asked him if he had a hair cut! I've been able to "revive" the Supercurl cream so far (three days) which makes me feel like I'm getting my money's worth (I'm a bit thrifty, and this cream was not cheap)! Did I mention it smells nice? I'm not big on scented products in general but I do find this one pleasant.

Zigzag Cornrows with Beads and a Need for New Bling

This week it was all about the parts. First I made zigzag cornrows from the front of JJ's head - 9 in total.

I then did corwnrows in 9 corresponding sections from her nape up to meet the zigzag cornrows. I attached these with small white ouchless goody bands (2 braids from the bottom, two from the top for a total of 4 braids per band). Finally, I attached white beads (regular beads and flowers) to the bottom of each braid.

Yoga pose - to show the back!
More yoga - to show the top.

It's been a while since we've used beads. I realized a couple of things:

1) When it comes to beads, I like patterns. With 18 braids and me wanting to put 3-4 beads per braid I didn't really have enough of any colours besides white. I need more beads!

2) I usually twist the ends of braids to put beads on and secure beads with JJ's own hair and an elastic over the last bead. I'm pretty gentle, and I cut the elastics to remove the beads, but I'd like to try snaps.

3) I think putting beads on with a beader is probably easier?

As I was thinking about all of this, I came across a post at Keep Me Curly offering 25% off at their sister site Snapaholics - perfect timing!! They were out of stock of almost all the snaps )-:  but I did order these flower snaps, along with a metal latch hook beader, a good variety of beads and some ballies. As their confirmation email announced, I will have bling soon!

Come on Mom -
ANOTHER picture??!??!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Puffy "Fro-Hawky" Pony with Staying Power and Minimal Hairline Stress

The title says it all.

Daddy D loves the simplicity of a single ponytail. I like the idea too, but I worry about stress on JJ's hairline. I also really rely on styles that have staying power. I usually style JJ's hair in such a way that it can last the week, with only minimal maintenance required day-to-day. Our morning routine is hectic to say the least. I'm a working outside of the home mama, and the three kids are at two different schools. There's just me to get everyone out the door since D leaves for work while the rest of us are still sleeping.

This weekend I've experimented and come up with something that looks like a single ponytail but **hopefully** will cause minimal hairline stress and will last (oops! see re-do notes, below).

I started with clean, dry hair. (Full disclosure - this is a re-do from something that didn't work - you can read more about my adventures with rollers in this post). I spritzed with a combo of water, jojoba oil and leave-in conditioner, and parted the hair into five sections from the front to the back of the head.

I pulled each section together in the middle of JJ's head with a piece of cut-up black tights. I was careful not to pull too tightly. I tried to "ponytail" the hair (is that a verb?) such that the hair covered any part lines so these don't show. I've been shocked at how a flash camera makes part lines stand out so much, and I'm aiming for a smoother look here.

I ponytailed the five sections relatively close to each other, and then attached all five sections together with another piece of old tights (sort of vertically, like a banana clip - remember those?). I then spritzed the puffs and fluffed them out so that they looked like they were all one ponytail.


Re-do notes:

JJ did sleep with a satin cap but between all the dressing and undressing this hasn't held up as well as I would have liked. The sides got very fuzzy very quickly.  The re-do has incorporated flat two-strand twists at the hair line. Maintenance has involved spritzing front/sides/back every day with my water/jojoba/leave-in combo, and spritzing and fluffing the puffs.

5 fairly loose pony tails,
loose hair at hairline
Flat two-strand twist at hairline
Ponytails pulled together with old tights
(like a banana clip) 
Wrapped the tights around twice for a smaller,
less "fro-hawky" pony tail 
Decided to go with the fro-hawk after all
All done!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Trim

Freshly trimmed,
with Supercurl Cream

A couple of weeks ago JJ and I ventured over to The Curl Ambassadors for a trim. The stylist, Shanlea, had infinite patience for JJ's uncertainty about the experience. After realizing very quickly that sitting on a chair in the main part of the salon wasn't going to work for JJ, she took us to a quieter "back room" and brought out a bag full of toys including lots of curly-haired dolls. JJ settled into playing hairdresser with the dolls.

This is to show the texture
(I need a better camera!)
The Curl Ambassadors specialize in dry-cutting (trimming dry, as opposed to wet hair). After a trim, Shanlea washed and conditioned JJ's hair with Deva products for curly hair and then used the Supercurl cream by Uncle Funky's Daughter. Check out the fabulous videos for Uncle Funky's daughter products. We picked up a tub of the Supercurl cream, and use it for loose hair, and sometimes for twists. So far I'd say it's good, but it was quite pricey - about $40 (with tax) for 8 ounces. I use it quite sparingly because of the price. I usually use shea butter and almond oil for twists (see my post on The Usual Routine).

Shanlea gave JJ her own "curl map" with personalized instructions for curl care. She answered my million+ questions about JJ's hair and was very well-versed about products and their ingredients. It was a great experience all-around. Thanks Shanlea!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

JJ's Hair Gallery

Hmmm. Not really sure how to add a gallery of photos. I will work on it. In the meantime here is a slideshow....
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