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Showing posts from 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a fuzzy wuzzy, nappy loving special day! Make some connections that matter, and notice every moment.

I DID finally get to do some hair...=) Mocha Baby is still being trained.....brushing is good for loose hair only...!

Nappy Christmas Greetings!

Our relationship with nappy hair and fuzz can affect everything--even organizing the kids to take a picture in time to send out Christmas cards to our loved ones. I confess, I really struggled this year.

There's nothing wrong with wanting everyone to look their best, and a fresh style is beautiful. My problem is I've been swamped with seasonal activity. I've had no time to calmly sit and lovingly do hair. I certainly could have ripped through their strands to get the job done, but it just wasn't worth it to me. I don't believe in suffering to be beautiful.

I finally realized the cards would never go out if I waited for the day I could freshen up all the girls' styles--especially when a wash is necessary for them all.

One morning I woke up and noticed that my son was wearing red and white. A few minutes later MG3 came down the stairs in a red shirt. Her hair was fuzzy wuzzy to the max, but I knew right then that I needed to seize the moment. I rushed upstai…

Building Relationship With Your Daughters

I know I usually come here to talk about hair, but my heart is so full right now I can't help but share. I had the most wonderful couple of hours with HMG. She's physically changing before my eyes. More and more I see the little girl fading away and the young woman emerging. She's still my little girl, but every now and then I catch a glimpse of who she's becoming. Sometimes I'm a little intimidated by the new demands her growth process are placing on me. I want to run back to story time and let me kiss that boo-boo for you and make it all better. These days HMG is navigating her way through so many issues, and sometimes when she comes to me I am humbled by the realization that I haven't mastered the situation yet myself. How do I lead her through? Inside I'm quaking. What if I make a mess of things? At times I've been afraid to be alone with her in these tough places. Today I took a leap.

I decided I would rather fumble if it means taking my…

Mocha Baby's bald spot is gone!

Here's what I did:

1. I mainly kept her hair in a baby 99.9% of the time for almost the entire first year of her life. I used an occasional head band for special occasions, making sure it wasn't too tight around her head.

2. I washed her hair as needed with a mild SLS free shampoo and followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. Sometimes I rinsed her hair with plain water and followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. I allowed her hair to get wet as she splashed in her bath. Nappy hair loves water. While all the moisture will probably wreak fuzzy havoc on our carefully designed styles, the resulting suppleness means more growth retention.

3. When MB's fro got long enough in the back that it was constantly flattened whenever she rested her head on a surface, I began styling her hair in about 6 loose puffs. I used tiny rubber bands LOOSELY to secure the puff and removed them carefully with a seam ripper to wash and re-style. I braid up the puffs in the back because …

Happy Birthday MG2!

You are so precious to us, and the change in your hair is proof that nappy hair is misunderstood more than anything.

Winter is coming, are you ready?

I once thought there was something special about Summer, because our nappy hair thrived so much more. I always expected my hair to grow more in the warmer months. I'm not sure our scalps do something special as the temperatures rise, but nappy hair loves moisture. It's like a rainforest, growing lush with all the rain, and steamy humidity. I think if we avoid frying our heads in the hot sun, our strands become supple and we may retain more length.

Winter is the exact opposite. As much as we love to douse our heads in the warmer months and run outside while it's still damp--we imagine we'll all catch our deaths if we do the same in Winter. We may, especially if our bodies aren't accustomed to it. We can generally be reluctant to wash our hair as much. I know I've told myself in the past that our hair wasn't as dirty because we weren't sweating as much. I'd wash less and expose our hair to less moisture. I wanted styles to last longer and was…

Too many heads to do?

So I had a I just want to scream moment yesterday.

I had washed the middle two daughters' hair and instructed HMG to wash her braids for a new round of take down, detangling and styling. I expected it to take all day but was so distressed that it took ALL DAY.

My plan was to split the work over two days, but ran out of steam on Thursday after finishing up with MG3. I gave myself a break. After all, I was working after an intense school day and trying to be done in time for a committee meeting. I decided to throw in the towel and work on MG2 and HMG's hair the next day. I seldom schedule a serious take down (HMG's small braids) with a matted detangle (MG2's quick wash without detangling) on the SAME day.

The plan was to give them both a corn rowed style, but I found myself struggling to get through detangling MG2's hair. Mocha Baby threw a monkey wrench into the process. She's walking--ALL OVER. She picks up the smallest things and tries to put them in her …

Less is More

I'm as guilty as anyone of saturating my girls' strands with too much product when we style. I often aggravate matters by trying to force several styling sessions in before washing. This results in layer after layer of products weighing down their strands, attracting dust, and looking anything but pliable and supple.

We've decided to make a change and oddly I got my revelation from work on MY hair, not the girls. I've been using fewer and fewer products in my hair in an effort to deal with a flaky condition around my hairline, and was amazed by how soft my hair has become. The less I use, the more it thanks me.

I'm always writing about MG3's fine, fuzzy and fluffy hair. This hair type is particularly sensitive to product overload. Pictured above, I was able to give the appearance of a thick head of lush nappy hair, by using a dab of castor oil to damp hair while weaving her strands into loose braids. The effect is darling and MG3 is VERY pleased.

Happy Birthday Mocha Baby!

She's such a blessing AND thank God for all I've learned to keep all this hair on her head!

The Beads Are Back!

Once upon a time I was the beaded queen! Not for myself, but every style I gave my daughters included some beaded design. I gathered a nice collection of colors, shapes and sizes. I stopped using beads when I realized that the weight of my designs, coupled with the constant motion of the beads as the girls swung their braids around, were acting like razors to their ends. Their retention was stagnant and their ends looked terrible. I stopped using the beads but couldn't get myself to throw the collection away. I'm so glad I kept them because I think this new method of weaving a few beads through the length of the braids, while avoiding the ends will work much better for us.

I asked HMG if she wanted the same style as her sisters. You should have seen her face--LOL! It was was like, "Mom.....SERIOUSLY?" LOL! What can I say? She'll always be my baby!

We settled on this alternative.

HMG was very happy with the outcome. She picked out the beads and designed th…

Confessions of a Busy Mocha Mom

I confess that I haven't done the girls' hair over yet, because they are going swimming this weekend.

I confess that I may be getting too comfortable with fuzz, and frizz, and almost never think twice about our hair when we leave the house.

I confess that I'm glad I can't guarantee the gender of my kids, or I'd only be enjoying one mocha girl right now and I love them all so much.

I confess that I don't always feel up to the task and am glad that God doesn't require that I never stumble, but is grooming me to position myself to let him catch me when I fall.

I confess that it's not easy teaching my babies lessons I haven't fully learned myself--thank God I'm not doing any of this in my own strength.


Happy Birthday MG3!

Thanking God for my beautiful five year old! Her birthday is actually tomorrow, but I have to work for part of the day so we start celebrating today!

Are you enjoying your mocha princess?

I'm learning more and more that what my girls want from me the most is my time. In the past I've been stunted by trying to plan the perfect event. Either I didn't have the resources or imagined the more stuff I could offer my girls the better. I'm learning that doing something cheap, simple, and fun often results in some of the most precious memories.

My husband and son traveled for a father son camp experience, leaving us behind. The girls were looking to me for a special time at home, but I was exhausted from starting our homeschool, and the demands of chasing a baby on the brink of walking while trying to be available for quality individual interaction with four other children. My husband is very supportive, but my responsibilities demand a lot both physically and emotionally.

I tend to fake it it til I make it. We watched videos. Turned errands into a fun window shopping trip. Made french bread pizza. Worshipped together. All these things were fun, but the g…

MB's Puffs!

I styled Mocha Baby's (MB) hair as she sat in the exersaucer pictured above. I used a spritzed bottle of plain water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar as an acidifier to help lay down her shingles for detangling. It DOES smell strongly of vinegar but if you can stand it, the smell fades away completely once the hair is dry. I prefer using the Aloe acidifying mix I mention here, because it's odorless. I tried the ACV, because I'm out of aloe. I think it worked just as well.

I secured her puffs with small elastic rubber bands, found in any beauty supply store.
I wound the rubber band around 3 times for most of the puffs, making sure I could slide a finger easily under the rubber band to her scalp. I want to avoid pulling the hair tight enough to cause tiny bumps and breakage.

When it is time to take down the puffs in a couple of days, I will use scissors to carefully cut away the rubber bands.

Trader Joe's Castille Soap Discontinued!

There's some controversy about the use of castille soap as a shampoo. For example, popular YouTuber Kim , of KimmayTube tested the ph of Bronner's Castille Soap and found it to be much higher than the recommended range for hair (between 4 and 5). You can watch her explain her findings.

She also did an informative series fraught with good visuals on understanding the effects of ph on hair.

That said, I've been using diluted castille soap successfully for YEARS, but I've never tried Bronner's Castille Soap.I had a bottle of Trader Joe's Castille Soap.

Turns out Trader Joe's formula includes Aloe Vera --which has an acidic ph---probably bringing down the overall ph of the product--perhaps balancing it for hair. The manufacturer recommends it's use as a shampoo right on the bottle's label.

I did not get a chance to personally test the ph of my bottle, because by the time I noticed Aloe as an ingredient of my castille soap, the bottle was empty and I was…

Aloe Vera Acidifying Mix for Detangling!

I took down HMGs re-twisted style for these big cornrow twists. I thought a lot of shed hair was trapped in her twists and wanted to remove them to avoid matting. I tried a new mix because she'd just washed her twists and I wanted to style her hair without having to wash it again.

I've been studying the effects of acidifying the hair shaft to a ph between 4 and 5. This causes the shingles on the hair shaft to lie down, creating a smooth surface for the strands to glide past each other. Open shingles snag and catch as the strands make contact. Detangling conditioners are designed to impact the hair shaft in a similar fashion, whether by chemically altering the behavior of the shingles or coating the strands to create a smooth surface. I like the idea of using aloe vera juice because of it's acidic ph and moisturizing properties. I've read testimonies that it leaves nappy hair soft and supple.

I didn't really measure, because I only had about a little more than a…

HMG Re-twists Like a Pro!

Here's an update on the video Am I am rushing my daughter to do her own hair too fast?

On the ride home from a trip to visit relatives, HMG shared her frustration living with fuzzy twists. I pointed out to her that if she re-twists herself, she can keep her twists as fresh as she likes. She's been practicing her twist technique on her nappy American Girl doll. I encouraged her to try re-twisting one of her twists as we sat talking on the drive. Her first attempt was too loose BUT after a few simple suggestions she refashioned the twist perfectly. We had no water and no products. I pointed out that we generally want to use both and finger detangle to remove shed hair. We had at least 3 hours left of our journey home and HMG managed to re-twist her entire head before we arrived.

She complained about how long it took, but now she knows she can re-twist her own hair whenever she likes. This is the first step to independence--I couldn't be happier for her. I will continu…

Why did God give us this hair?

Someone FULL of years asked me this in such a mournful way. The following scripture made me think of her:

Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
"He did not make me"?
Or shall the thing formed say of him
who formed it,
"He has no understanding?"

Isaiah 29:16

Pipe Cleaner Curls?

I been watching videos about pipe cleaner curls all over You Tube. Check out Chescaloc's tutorial.

Why not try these on braids/twists? Same concept as perm rods/ flexible rods at a fraction of the cost. They are much more comfortable to sleep on. While testing them first on myself, I barely felt them. As an extra safety measure, I folded the sharp ends over.

MG2 has twists and MG3 has braids. The pipe cleaners yield tight curls and ringlets. I don't recommend trying these on loose hair--the strands may get caught in the twisted pattern of the pipe cleaners.

I purchased my pipe cleaners for a little over $1 at Walmart and made sets for us all.

The results:

Twisted bangs and a Bun!

I've been hunting for a style gentle on MG3's edges. Generally, her edges slide right out of her style and feel brittle. I love this twisted bangs and bun combination.

I used Fantasia IC gel to twist and a small amount to smooth her bun. Her bun fuzzes up quickly but it works well with the twists.

MG3's wash and go...take 2

Why am I here again?

MG3's hair is so soft and full and happy after being loose. I think her hair thrives better unhindered.

I'm still not up for styling every day but I've been experimenting with letting her wear a chunky shrunken fro, without all the curl defining products and manipulation. I washed her hair, added leave in conditioner, blotted away the excess water and finger combed it into an afro shape. I took a head band, doubled it around her head and pushed it into place to fashion the puff pictured above. At night I remove the band and let her sleep with her fro loose. In the morning I spritz her hair liberally with plain water and finger comb her sleep matted fro back into the shape I want and use the headband to fashion a new puff. No brushing, no gel and no extra products. When her hair feel dry I will do a conditioner wash and start over.

It's been super easy and her hair looks great.

Wash and Go or No?

MG3's shrunken and sleep flattened fro!

MG3's hair LOVES water! If I wet her hair every single day and seal the moisture with a light oil it feels silky and elastic. MG3's nappy hair LOVES leave in conditioner. When I add leave in conditioner to her damp or wet hair, followed by a holding product like gel, her coils freeze in tiny coffee stirrer size coils. If I listen to her hair, it's telling me, I want to wash and go.

Actually, many people will tell you their nappy hair loves water, and feels moist when they wet it often. Wash and go isn't just for nappy girls some folks describe as having "good hair" (I hate that terminology). The truth is we may find that most nappy hair feels good when we wash and go. The struggle may come later. Think tangles, and maintenance.

For me, I just don't have the time to follow my daughter into the shower every morning so she can douse her hair, shake, apply product, style and drip while being sure to never touch…

Flying pool fun is hair maintenance free!

Today my two oldest children have soccer camp, so I have 3 hours free to focus on my littles. My husband and I speculated on a special activity for them, including a quick trip to the children's museum or zoo. The girls amazed us, when they asked at breakfast, if they could run through the sprinklers and paint pictures.

Turns out it doesn't take as much as I expected to satisfy my little princesses. As a bonus I can simply dry their hair off. There's no chlorine to wash away. Win, win.

Happy Father's Day!

Celebrating my husband for all he is and all he does for our family--especially being our number one nappy support person.

Happy Father's Day!

Head Mocha Girl's Recital pictures!

Mocha Baby's Hair Growth Spurt

Mocha baby's hair has just had a dramatic growth spurt--over the past week.

As you know, I've been twisting and coiling it to expose her scalp for coolness in the hot weather. The temperature dropped over the pass couple of days and I've returned to the fro. I can't believe how big her fro is now. My first thought was maybe the twists stretched her coils out--but I've been rinsing the fro daily and letting it do what it does. I fluff it out with my fingers as always.

I'm scratching my head.

In the past I've noticed growth once I started styling my babies' hair but I've experienced breakage too--with my too tight and over the top methods. The twists/coils were very gentle....I'm wondering if we're on to something here.....time will tell, and I will keep you posted.

The Mocha Princess Pool/Beach Regimen

The following are things I've tried and learned from personal experience. I encourage you to adapt my methods to your situation.

I don't use swim caps because in my experience, they don't keep our hair perfectly dry if we like to dunk our heads under water. My girls stay under the water. Swim caps work best to keep our hair out of the pool. I also find plastic/rubber swim caps to be extremely hot on our heads. I imagine my daughters' brains cooking under them on a hot day. I never use them when we're outside. I'd use them inside if the facility requires them.

Chlorine can be very drying to nappy hair. Your child's hair will be fine after repeated exposure to chlorine if you are careful to protect it from the chlorine before swimming AND take care to wash it away after. Never allow chlorine to stay in your child's hair indefinitely. I've been in situations where I didn't wash until the next day, and my girls' hair was fine, but I'…

Mocha Baby's first Style

It's been so hot and Mocha Baby has been sweating profusely. Her hair is dense on top and my husband suggested trying a style to expose her scalp. I was reluctant to bother her fro, because I've been keeping myself on a tight leash as far as bothering her hair. See my post here for the details. Clearly the time has come to move in a different direction.

First, I tried finger coils, which I thought were very pretty but they rubbed right out any time she rested a portion of her hair somewhere. I'm not interested in using heavy product on her hair for hold at this time.
While playing around with one of the coils that came loose, I discovered that I could twist Mocha Baby's hair and it stayed much better. The twist kept curling over until they looked like little bantu knots--loved it!
To twist I spritzed her hair damp with water and topped it with a very small amount of my shea butter mix. I think plain castor oil, coconut or any oil your daughter's hair likes will…

Styling: How I take one idea and spin it three different ways!

My first thought was to do a Cornrow Twist Hawk, but I know that this daughter likes to see her hair. She always complains when I position the bulk of her hair in the back so I shifted the cascade of hair to the side. She's also always asking to wear her hair down, but her hair is very fine. Sometimes I worry that her braided styles look sparse. To give her the illusion of having her hair down I designed a second cascade in the front. Now we're both happy. She gets to feel like her hair is "down" while I tuck it safely up. The cascaded twists also makes her hair look much fuller.

This daughter also likes to wear her hair down as much as possible. She's mature enough to be satisfied with twisting her head to see the cascade to the back as long as I give her a nice side bang to enjoy.
Head Mocha Girl is game to try new things, so I go all out by giving her a Swooped Cornrow Twist Hawk. She gets bored easily with her hair so I made the twists small enough for…

The Rat Tail Comb of all Rat Tail Combs!

You know I would NEVER use the comb part of the rat tail comb to detangle nappy hair on the first pass. I have seen people use them on nappy hair once it's already been completely detangled. I've never tried it on my girls. I do, however, frequently use the tail end to make my parts. Up until now I've been using the comb on the left--which is completely made of plastic. It makes satisfactory parts. It's also good for prying apart moderately small to big braids. I'm always looking for a hair pin or some other sharp item to remove knots and tiny braids. No more! The metal tail is the TRUTH! Not only does it do a better job on unraveling the braid/twist stitch, it's excellent on those knots. It also makes great parts. My only concern is my tendency to absent mindedly rake the tail too hard across my daughters' scalp while making a part. I have to besuper careful with that metal tip. I cringe at the ramifications of making a mistake. Can you imagin…

Managing Hair Time With a Young Child

Hair time can be a nightmare when we're working with really young babies and active children who'd prefer to be elsewhere. I was really overwhelmed with my first. Whenever I asked other mothers what worked for them, I was told to wait until my baby was sleeping to style their hair. Unfortunately my daughter always woke up the minute I started manipulating her hair, and if you're anything like me, you'll take a messy head over missed sleep any day.

I've used different methods at different ages. Below is a list of suggestions to consider while grooming your baby's hair, followed by older children. When picking a style always have a realistic expectation of how long your child is physically able to sit for the style. Expect some interruptions. You may have to break the styling session up into several segments. Try to avoid waiting until you have to be somewhere in a short amount of time before moving to style your child's hair. How much maintenance doe…

Cherish your daughter first...

...and the hair will follow.

We recently had a really hot day, and as I was helping my four year old tie her scarf to her head I stopped myself. We were both sweaty though she'd just had her bath. What was I doing?

"Are you done Mommy?"

"You don't have to wear your scarf tonight," I decided and leaned over to give her a kiss and a squeeze.

I encourage my girls to tie their heads at night to prevent their sheets from drying out their hair, and to help preserve what moisture I worked hard to put in. I try to make sure they keep their heads covered year round no matter the weather, but on this particular hot night my actions felt ridiculous. My baby was hot. We release much of our body heat from our heads, yet I was covering hers, to preserve her hair---but what about my baby?

Mocha Girl Three's hair is important to me, but she's more important than her hair. I know there have been many times in my life I denied myself pleasure, to preserve a hair sty…

How to Make a Smooth Puff

To achieve this look:

Cold Weather Version (I seldom do puffs in cold weather, nappy hair needs protection from extreme temperatures)

1. Wash, detangle and moisturize the hair.
2. Braid in big box braids (about 7)--firmly stitched but leave slack at the roots. Cover with silky wrap/cap (leave the cap off so the hair can air dry until your daughter climbs into bed). Dry over night. The firm braids will stretch out the hair.
3. To style. Mist the hair with water (I try not to manipulate perfectly dry hair). Use your fingers first to gentle pull the strand into the shape of this style. Gently smooth with a natural boar's bristle brush and gather the hair into a pony puff using a pony tail holder (no metal parts).
4. Rub a light oil between your palms and smooth over the edges. You can also use gel if you choose--but you'll have to rinse it out before manipulating the hair into a different style.
5. Cover head with a scarf to set for 20-30 minutes.

Warm Weather Version

1. Wash, deta…

Quick Tip: Natural Product Pet Peeve

Just because something is natural does NOT automatically mean it's harmless.

How many of us have watched actors eat hair products marketed to be safe for our hair because it was safe to eat? Later, we were shocked to hear back reports that people were losing their hair to these same "safe" products. There's a definite science to the way nappy hair behaves. Know what you're putting in your daughter's hair.

A good way to investigate before trying something is to research other people's experiences with what you're thinking about using. The internet has made it so easy to track products. Consumers even video tape their experiences and make it available to the public for FREE on You Tube. When a product tempts me, I spend some time seeing what a range of people--with a similar hair type--are saying about the product. I especially scrutinize the negatives. If I'm satisfied, I may try it.

Quick Tip: Maximize Your Cheap Conditioner

Adding castor oil to your hair along with your cheap conditioner may give it more slip power(the ability to make the shingles on the hair shaft lie down so the strands will slide by each other and tangle less). There may be a definite method to making this trick work.

Spritz a tangled section of hair (no bigger than 3x3 inches) with water. Slather about a quarter size dollop of castor oil directly to the hair. Top that with the same amount of conditioner. Detangle the section starting from the ends.

I purchase my castor oil from Walmart (near the vitamins) OR a health food store.

For more details on this check out my video on Cherish My Daughter channel.

Travel Styling

Pictured above is a quick trip we took to see family. We were so care free!

Summer time is coming and that means many of us will be taking trips. Whether we're going far away or traveling by car to visit friends and family--nappy hair care can continue to be easy and rewarding for everyone. The trick is to plan well for what you'll be doing.

My girls are young and don't give their hair much thought when they are having fun. When I'm away on a trip the last thing I want to do is spend our limited time on long styling sessions. I expect my daughters' hair to become fuzzy quickly and choose styles that perform well over time with fuzz. I love box braids, twists, corn rows and combo variations. For trips that will involve swimming and constant washing, I prefer corn rows and braids which matte less when wet. Pictured below are some styles we've enjoyed in the past.
On the beach in Cancun
I was really big on beads once, but this many beads can be damaging to the…