Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cornrow Puff Maintenance

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tools of the Trade for Detangling Part 4

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Tools of the Trade for Detangling Part 3

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Tools of the Trade for Detangling Part 2

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Tools of the Trade for Detangling (Part 1 of 4) Video

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Maximizing a Style

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Maximizing Old Twists

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How often do I wash?

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Pep talk for the Mocha Mom

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Maximizing your cheap conditioners Video

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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, detangle and moisturize hair. Leave the hair soaking wet.
2. Using you fingers first, gently pull the soaking wet strands into the shape of this style. Take a paddle brush and smooth the hair into a pony puff with a pony tail holder (no metal parts).
3. Blot the loose hair (puff) gently with a towel/t-shirt. I squeeze the water out in my hand by covering my palm with the towel and opening and closing my fist.
4. Use your palms to smooth on oil and gel (if you want) to the smooth parts. You can gently brush the fly aways with a natural boars bristle brush.
5. Cover with a scarf that conforms to your daughters head--the goal is to hold the smooth part down as they dry so the hair can't shrink back up. Remove after at least 20-30 minutes or until you are ready to reveal the style. The loose hair will shrink as it dries. You can stretch it out some by braiding or twisting it as you set the smooth parts down with the scarf. Release the braid/twist when you remove the scarf.

Be careful with gel. Some gels can be very drying. Watch out for alcohol which can be drying, except for cetyl alcohol is a harmless fatty alcohol found in both hair and skin products.

I like Fantastia IC gel--and always use an oil as a barrier between it and the hair. I've heard good things about pure aloe vera gel (light hold), and Eco Styler Gel.

I use the gel or not. It's not absolutely necessary unless I'm really concerned about the girls fuzzing up the style. Oil and water alone helps the hair to lay down well.

Note: This style is a treat--meaning I wouldn't do it every day or for a month straight. It requires a lot of manipulation, which over time can be damaging to the hair.

I let my girls wear it for a week and maintain it by covering their hair with a scarf at night and spritzing the puff with water and reshaping it with my fingers in the morning.

I use water and more oil/gel and the scarf set method I described above if the smooth parts get messy. I never try to brush through stiff geled hair with a brush. My fingers are usually enough. If not, I take down the style.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

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 ends over time.
MGM Studios
Magic Kingdom
When the style shrinks and fuzzes I don't let it bother me. We're on vacation to have fun and I think she looks very sweet here.

Magic Kingdom
Aztec Ruins
Below my daughter is dressed for a drill on a cruise ship.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Styling for Worship on Easter!

Special occasions stressed me out when I was trying to conform our nappy hair to styles better suited for straight hair. No more! It's amazing how many gorgeous styles we can achieve by following our nappy hair's natural tendencies.

I thought my daughters were especially lovely today. We were having so much fun, we didn't start taking pictures until after they had removed their dresses but their hair held up really well.

Twists are so wonderful for girls. We kept the twists in for nearly three weeks. This morning I slicked my hands with grapeseed oil(any oil your daughter's hair likes is fine) and gently pulled apart their twists. My four year old is wearing a braid out. I no longer twist her hair long term because her hair mattes up quickly in twists. I followed the same method of slicking my fingers with oil to coax apart her strands. In some areas I used the tail end of a rat tail comb.

To preserve this style at night, I either gather my daughters' hair into a bun or high ponytail and cover with a satin/silky wrap or cap. I allow them to shower with their bare heads, but make sure the ponytail ends are wrapped around in a bun--this discourages shrinkage. Once the bun is dry, we take it down and arrange the hair however the girls like. For Sunday worship we simply added clips to match the girls' dresses.