Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Holy Grail of Sleep Caps

After over a year of searching for a sleep cap that isn't too loose or too tight, that has enough room for all her hair underneath it, and that stays on all night, we have finally found THE ONE. 

Check them out at Pretty AnntoiNet's Silk Lingerie for Hair online store.  They are 100% silk, and made just for girls, bonnet style.  The band is part elastic, part silk tie; you can make it as tight or loose as you need to, so it will grow with your child's head.  The elastic is covered in silk, so no  rubbing on the hairline and the silk tie is exposed and cute tied in a bow.  As a bonus, they are really gorgeous and luxurious looking.  At $18.00 each they are the most expensive sleep cap we have tried.  For us, though, the price has been worth it.  

My girl wears the cap like this with the tie in the back so the tie won't hang in her face:

But this is what it looks like with the tie in front.  Super adorable!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Darcy's Botanicals vs Kinky-Curly Take 2

Last post I mentioned a product comparison experiment I tried.  On the right side of the girl's head of hair I used Kinky-Curly Knot Today (KCKT) to condition and detangle clean wet hair, then Kinky Curly Curling Custard (KCCC) for hold.  On the left side I used Darcy's Botanicals Daily Leave-In Conditioner to condition and detangle, and Darcy's Natural Coils Curling Jelly for hold.  Then I promptly braided her hair.

If you remember, I found KCKT to be an excellent detangler, but did not like the way the hair lost its slip after applying the KCCC.

When I took down the style, the difference between products was still very noticeable.  Here's what happened:  Taking out the braids on the left side, I misted them lightly with water and was able to unbraid with my fingers only.  The hair was soft and still detangled.  I could get a wide tooth comb through it easily as I went along.
 On the right side, I misted the braids lightly with water, but needed the tail of my pin tail comb to undo the braids.  The hair did not feel as soft, and was much harder to comb.  In fact, I had to add product to it as I went along to be able to comb it without pulling.  This was the Kinky-Curly side.  And the results here completely jive with my impression the week prior of the hair losing some slip and having a different texture once the KCCC was applied.
 After the braids were removed I braided the mostly dry and stretched hair into one cornrow from forehead to nape of neck on each side of her head.  The flower at the nape was a nice touch.  We ended up taking this out the next day to wash her hair, but used the idea to come up with a similar style for the next week.  

Anyway, these results sealed the fate for the afore-mentioned products in this home.

Keepers:  Kinky-Curly Knot Today, Darcy's Botanicals Daily Leave-In Conditioner and Natural Coils Curling Jelly
So long Kinky-Curly Curling Custard.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Full Head of Cornrows, Ethiopian Inspired AND Kinky Curly vs Darcy's Botanicals

This style was inspired by a 6 year old girl I met in Ethiopia.  It looked so pretty and practical and I'd been dying to try it, but was intimidated by the cornrows at all angles on the head.  But, ooooh, I am so excited about this hairstyle!  I started with freshly washed and conditioned hair, and cornrowed while the hair was very wet.  I think braiding wet hair is the main key to longevity for hairstyles for us.  Anyway, there are several reasons why I am happy with this style and the making of it:

1)  The girl mainly sat still for it.  THANK YOU TV!  I don't know what took me so long to discover this distraction technique.  A couple of the girl's fave shows and 2 snakcs...It worked like a charm.

2)  It only took me an hour and 15 minutes to complete.  Much less time than I expected.

 3)  The cornrows were short so I didn't run into the problem of the hair that I started braiding with first, running out of length in the middle of the braid.  It is always tricky for me to hang onto the hair and deal with dry and slightly tangled ends when that happens.
 4)  I had to braid several of the cornrows upside down...but it worked!  I stood, bent over at the waist and held her hair out of the way with extra fingers as I went.  I thought this was going to be very difficult, but it wasn't.  The hair being wet helped immensely.
 5)  The style has lasted a whole week so far.  I could make it last longer but I think I'll take it out tomorrow and try something new.  Suggestions?
6)  And last but not least, I tried a little product comparison experiment during the making of this style.  Prior to styling I washed the girl's hair with Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Shampoo and conditioned with AO's Honey Suckle Rose Conditioner.  I rinsed the conditioner out.  Then, on the right side of her head I used Kinky Curly Knot Today as a leave-in detangler.  As I braided that side, I added Kinky Curly Curling Custard to each section.  On the opposite side of her head I applied Darcy's Botanicals Daily Leave-In Conditioner before detangling.  As I braided that side I added Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly to each section.

Now, this would have been a more appropriate product comparison to do on loose hair.  The only loose hair she has in this style are her puffs.  And they have looked exactly the same the entire week.  Both Kinky Curly and Darcy's products have about equal hold.  The braids on both sides of her head became equally fuzzy as the week wore on.  The only difference and preference I identified was during the styling itself, specifically the detangling phase and the braiding phase.

During detangling, the Kinky Curly Knot Today (KCKT) had significantly more slip than the Darcy's Botanical Daily Leave-In Conditioner.  KCKT has been my go-to for detangling ever since I tried it a few weeks ago.  And this experiment sealed the deal.

During styling, the feel of the Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly was much smoother and the hair retained slip.  Instead, as I applied the Kinky Curly Curling Custard to the opposite side of her head, the hair lost its slip and it felt more difficult to smooth into place with my fingers.

In summary, a winner style.
My choice for best detangling product is Kinky Curly Knot Today.
And my choice for best styling gel/serum is Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly.

Happy long weekend everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales on Hair Care Products

Katie at Happy Girl Hair published her 2nd annual blog post on post-Thanksgiving sales.  I've been waiting for this so I can plan my shopping. :)  Unfortunately Aubrey Organics is not listed.  There's nothing on their website either.  If anyone knows what sales they have coming up, please leave a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cornrowed Spider Hairstyle

My girl wanted to be Spiderman for Halloween this year.  I got an amazing toddler costume from and then you can imagine how excited I was to find a corn-rowed spider hair style here at Beads Braids and Beyond and here at Keyative Styles hair blogs.

I attempted to copy the spider part of the style.  It turned out really big.  So big I couldn't even capture the whole spider in a single photo.  Here's the best I could get:

I didn't even try to braid the intricate spider's web with the rest of her hair.  Instead, I braided it all into a head band cornrow.  Unfortunately the finished product only lasted four days.

The following video is almost not even worth watching, it's so dark.  But I posted it for documentation purposes.
Happy Halloween from Batman, Supergirl and Spiderman!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sleep Bonnet

I finally found the answer to our sleep cap dilemma...the sleep BONNET!  This is a drug store cheapy in the photo.  I tried something similar when the girl was 1 year old but it would fall down over her face.  Now, it mostly stays on.  

So, actually, this photo is a few weeks old, and my next post will be a nice variation of the bonnet that is my favorite and working really well.  Got to get a couple photos first, but if you want a sneak preview, check them out here.

Ciao ciao!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hair Shine

I just read this great post on The Natural Haven.  TNH is a natural curly hair blog that features the science of curly hair, curly hair care products, etc.  But it's not like reading a science textbook.  It's interesting and so informative.

The post is about shiny hair, why hair is shiny and does shininess equal hair health.  It's also got a great diagram comparing curly hair to kinky hair.  If you were ever wondering what the difference is, or what kinky means exactly, then check out the post (here).


Monday, October 10, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kinky-Curly Knot Today and Curling Custard Early Review

There are a handful of curly hair care product brands that I see mentioned over and over again in the cyber curly hair care circles.  Kinky-Curly is one of them.  After a year of consideration I finally ordered two Kinky-Curly products, Knot Today and Curling Custard.  What held me back all these months?  Several things.  

First, I have to order online and had a hard time finding a site with reasonable prices that would ship to my location.  

Second, I'd read on hair care forums that there is a very particular method of application for Kinky-Curly products.  They don't mix well with other products and have to be applied to dripping wet hair.  

Third, we wash my girl's hair once a week in the evening.  I won't put her to bed with soaking wet hair so I wouldn't be able to use the product properly at all.  

This summer it seemed our tried and true products weren't giving us the same results anymore and I decided to bite the bullet and order the Kinky-Curly line.  I'm not sorry. Here's how it went for our first trial.  

We washed the hair, applied Knot Today to dripping wet hair and detangled.  Here are our detangling tools used in order from left to right.  
Here's the hair after application of Knot Today.  We didn't rinse it out.
After the hair was detangled we added the Curling Custard loosely following the Tightly Curly method and shook the hair out.
Here it is after it had been drying awhile.
She slept with a bonnet on (more to come on the sleep bonnet) and the next morning I just spritzed the hair with water and pulled the smashed curls apart a bit with my fingers.  The Curling Custard has great hold but allows the hair to shrink up.  The hold lasted all day, even through 3 hours of rubbing on a car seat, a nap, and a few minutes of rolling around on the floor with cousins.
Next time I use it I will wash and condition with our favorite Aubrey Organics shampoo and rinse out conditioner, THEN use the Knot Today as a detangler and leave-in conditioner.  I need to use these products for a few weeks to determine if they are adequate for keeping the girl's hair moisturized.  But so far, I like the Kinky-Curly line.

Happy long weekend!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sleep Caps 3...still searching.

We've got quite a collection of various sleep caps.  We've tried them all and none of them stay on the girl's head all night.  This is frustrating to say the least.  The other day I picked up yet another sleep cap at the local drug store for about a buck fifty.  It's shaped like a hood, the back of which ends in two long tails that are wrapped around the head and tied off. 

 Here's what it looked like just after we put it on.  It fit nicely and even looked cute.  I really thought it was going to work.

And here's what it looked like five minutes later.
Dang it!  Back to the drawing board.
What's your favorite sleep cap?  (and where can I find one?)
Ciao~ Jenny

Friday, September 23, 2011

TWISTS! A First Attempt

I've always thought the girl's hair was too silky to hold twists.  They would always just unravel as soon as I let go of them.  Maybe it's because her hair wasn't long enough, or her hair was too wet while being twisted.  I'm really not sure.  Because the other day I twisted up a section of hair in the front and it puffed up and held rather nicely.  She's been wearing the twists as bangs all week and the photos were taken after a couple of days.

So.  To put in the twists I started with very slightly damp hair and used Darcy's Botanicals Avocado and Wild Plum Twisting Cream.  I divided the hair into square sections about the size of a quarter.  Each section was divided in two strands and twisted.  Simple as that.  At the end of each twist I twirled the two strands together and banded them.  Even though the process was super simple, there must be a couple of tricks I'm missing.  The twists weren't completely uniform and they kinked a bit instead of lying straight.  If anyone has any tips, please leave a comment.

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Seasonal Challenges for Curly Hair Care

The girl really loves the pool and she actually has some talent in the water. At 2.5 years old she jumps in, and refuses to be held while she dives under, swims around, then tries her best to resurface. She stupefies us all.  I can't wait to see what develops out of this love of swimming.

So...we spend a lot of time at the pool during the summers. I never really noticed the toll it takes on her hair until recently. And now I'm wondering if pool water damage is the reason our good ole standby products haven't been working as well?!

Sunday she spent about 3 hours in the water and when I got her home I washed her hair. I used our usual Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose shampoo and conditioner. Aubrey's is the only shampoo and conditioner I use on my girl's hair except for an occasional wash with a sulfate-containing shampoo when we need to strip her hair of product build-up (check out the Aubrey Organics website). But this time after the final rinse her hair felt like wet straw.  Umm...YIKES!  I remembered I had some Herbal Essence Hello Hydration conditioner that I typically use after her deep cleaning washes.  Hello Hydration contains dimethicone, a silicone that coats her hair and seems to make it feel more moisturized.  You can read about dimethicone at The Natural Haven blog in their Ingredients Dictionary.

It worked.

Since then I have also applied some coconut oil and almond oil and those seem to be helping to retain moisture as well.  She's been wearing her hair in one or two puffs with the front cornrowed into sideswept bangs that I band to the side so they are out of her eyes.

Sorry, no pics.  It's been a hectic two weeks.  So anyway, for some reason, last year I didn't notice this type of dryness during the summer.  But maybe that's because her hair was shorter and easier to care for.  I am learning this year that hair care for my girl will be seasonal, and I'll need to change it up depending on the environment.  Not sure what the fall and winter will bring, but I'll be sure to post about it. :)

Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SHEA...ruled that one right on out!

Just popping on to say the trial of the shea product did NOT go well here. It's heavier than the product we usually use and while we did not seem to have a particular problem with buildup, we DID have a problem with odor.

We were all sitting in the living room one day with the girl on my lap and I kept getting these faint whiffs of yucky smell. I made everyone in the room smell their feet to rule out the source of the offensive odor. It wasn't sweaty feet, but I wasn't far off. It was sweaty head! Oh, MAN! Not sure if it was shea and sweat alone, or shea and sweat and chlorine from the afternoon swim, but either way the shea was a common denominator and had to go.

We are back to our usual routine with no more stinky problems. I'm not throwing out the shea just yet because I do think it's fine in the winter time when the girl's head isn't sweating much.

We're still up for a change so I do think it's finally time to order the Kinky Curly products and give them a go. Watch for that review in the next few weeks.

Anyone else have seasonal products? I'm curious...


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Changing Up the Routine

We've been doing the same thing product-wise for a while now, we're bored, and getting the itch to change it up a bit.

I really meant to test out the Kinky Curly products this summer but just haven't gotten around to it. Anyway I think they'll probably work better on the girl when her hair is longer, she's out of the car seat (a BIG curl-killer) and she's able to keep from rolling around on it.

Instead, yesterday I found a bottle of Darcy's Botanicals Shea Butter Curl Moisturizing Cream that we haven't used in a long time. On Nani's baby curls the shea was a bit heavy and I didn't like it as much as Darcy's Daily Leave-in Conditioner. Her baby curls are gone, and her hair is thicker and longer now. I decided to give the shea a go. It's been two days and seems to be doing nicely on her loose hair. What I need is something that keeps her hair from drying out and keeps her curls definied and frizz-free as much as possible.

I'll let you know how I like it.
Have a good week everyone.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Evolution of a Hairstyle

Often it takes me several sessions to complete a style. Especially if braiding is involved. This one took me about 5 days. We all loved the end result and it stayed in almost two weeks total. Here's how it went:

Day One: I braided the lower third of the back of her head into box braids, parted off a central section from the forehead to the back of the head and cornrowed. The rest of the hair went into two puffs, one on each side of her head.

Day Two: This style was Ethiopian-inspired. I've seen it on several Ethiopian women. There are alternating thick and thin cornrows going from front to back of head. It's really beautiful. On day two I braided the next two cornrows, thin ones, on either side of the central thick cornrow. Here are a couple of pics.

Day Three: I braided the next two cornrows, on either side of her head. The remaining hair on each side was gathered and banded.

Day Four: I finished the intended style this day. Here it is. I really liked it!

Day Five: The first cornrow was fuzzy by day five so I took it out to rebraid it. I liked the mohawk look the loose hair created so much, that my girl ended up wearing it as a style for several days!

This is my favorite style yet, we'll do it again for sure!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Holiday Hair - 4th of July

This style evolved. It started as a simple puff style early in the week. The girl's hair was divided into four sections by one center part forhead to nape, and one part ear to ear. The sections were gathered into one puff each. Later I made the center part a zig zag part. Today I cornrowed and braided.

The style features red, white and blue star beads braided into the first cornrow, and the same beads hanging from the ends of her braids in the back. The ends of the cornrows are banded with red, white and blue terrycloth bands. I love this look from the front with the zig zag part and a hint of beads hanging in the back. From the back, I don't love it so much.

It's supposed to rain here on the evening of the 4th. If it does, that'll be the third year in a row. Bah humbug!

Happy 4th of July to my American readers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Hair

I really wasn't expecting my girl to have great looking hair at the beach last week. But sea water had a surprising effect. Her hair formed tiny bouncy, springy spiral curls all over her head. She wore her hair loose all week. I rinsed it daily and washed it twice. I used Darcy's daily conditioner in it twice a day and let her play in the sand and water as much as she wanted. I loved the windswept coily look. It fit the environs perfectly and looked beautiful on her.

Detangling did pretty much suck when the week was over. That was the one big downfall. We're back to puffs this week. Nothing exciting - but they do look cute.
Ciao ciao!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Box Braids

I can really see how long my girl's hair is getting when I put it in box braids. I love the look of these, and they lasted about a week and a half, which is a lot longer than styles usually last on her.

It typically takes me at least a couple of days to put these in. This time, as usual, I started at the nape of the neck, sectioned off a row, divided it into boxes, and braided. I think I did 2-3 rows and put the rest of her hair into 2 puffs. The next day I finished braiding and to make it go faster, I sectioned pretty large boxes. She wore her hair like this, and a pink headband dressed the style up a bit.

After a few days I divided some of the sections on top and made them smaller. I really liked the look it gave her with the braids that hung on her forehead. That's her Papi (Dad) in the photo with her.

I took the box braids out the day before we left to spend a week at the beach. The girl is wearing loose hair this week and I suspect I'll be kicking myself within a couple of days for not leaving her hair in a protective style. I'm not worried about salt water and sand. Those can be washed away. It's the tangling that has me preoccupied. We'll see, but I'm predicting a long and tedious detangling session when the week is over!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ethiopian Traditional Dress

The girl's hair isn't quite long enough to get it all back in a single ponytail puff. So I did a headband cornrow that starts at a side part and goes all the way around her head. She wore it all week, and on the weekend I dressed her up in a traditional Ethiopian dress and took some photos. She looked gorgeous if I do say so myself. :)