Saturday, January 29, 2011

Style Notes

This is my girl's hair style this weekend.

And because I love to show her off, here's a photo where you can see her face too.
This style was inspired by a recent post by Katie at Keep Me Curly. It's only the second time I've tried a full-head cornrow style. Here's a photo of the first one I did, about three months ago.

So, some notes for took multiple sessions over two days to complete this. The first day was an evening wash and detangle in the tub, followed by trying to part and section her hair. I am always surprised by how long it takes to part my girl's hair. The girl does not keep her head still for a moment! She slept with her hair sectioned in puffs and bantu knots and went to 'school' like that the next day.

When I got home from work I was all set to plunk the girl in her high chair with some PlayDoh in front of the TV for our first cornrowing session. But first, I got out the hair stuff and let her have a turn with mom and dad's hair. She LOVED it. Her favorite was the spray bottle. This is one of the things she often protests, too, so I'm glad she got a chance to exact revenge on us with it. :) It was obviously very satisfying for her!

Because she'd had the puffs and bantu knots for 24 hours, her hair was no longer nicely detangled. But there really was no time to go through all that again, so we didn't. It made a big difference in how the braids turned out. They were bulky and a little messy. After braiding two cornrows we had to take a break! I guess I am just super slow and that plus tangled unstretched hair made for a more difficult time than I had anticipated.

When we started the next session just after dinner I decided to do the remaining four sections in flat twists instead. There are pros and cons to flat twists vs cornrows. They look just as pretty (IMO), are easier and quicker to put in, and because I am only handling two 'strands' of hair instead of three, I can tolerate her moving her head around a bit more. However, flat twists are definitely not as durable. She has now had them in for almost two days, but I've had to take them out and retwist them multiple times. They usually look great for about 10 minutes until she rubs her head on something. Here's a shot from the next morning. I've touched up the twists, but not the two cornrows in the center. You can really tell.

In the end we've got a cute style that took a lot of time to put in, that requires at least daily major touch ups. So I think I will continue to do these types of styles just every once in a while, as the mood strikes and when the time is right. And perhaps flat twists instead of cornrows are a smart choice while my girl is still so little, squirmy and (understandably) impatient.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Calico Rag Dolls at

Wanted to share an excellent Etsy find. I stumbled across seller BelindasGarden and her rag dolls a few months ago. I'd been looking long and hard for a doll for my girl for Christmas. I was specifically looking for a dark skinned doll with ethnic looking hair. This is the one I bought. Isn't she great? Nani loves her.

The dolls are completely customizable, handmade, and one of a kind. Visit Belinda's store and check out her latest listings. I am planning on adding more to our doll family soon. My girl has a birthday coming up...


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sleep Caps?

My girl so far has not regularly used a sleep cap. She goes to bed with her hair in whatever style it's been in during the day. We always have to touch her hair up in the morning, whether it was loose in bed, or whether it was 'up'. It gets rubbed and matted or fuzzy while she sleeps.

I know it's pretty common to use a sleep cap, but I have always had my doubts. I'm not convinced they really do much for the hair. Besides, my girl is a toddler, how would we get one to stay on her? Months ago we did try a bonnet style sleep cap and this is what happened.

The cap ended up down over her eyes and nose while she slept. Yikes! Even though she can easily breathe through the fabric, it still made me nervous. We haven't used it again.

So, I am open to hear your arguments, for and against. Do they work? What kind do you use? If you don't use a sleep cap, what do you do instead?
Help a new mom out!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Product - Darcy's Botanicals

I am a big fan of Darcy's Botanicals hair products. Especially their Daily Leave In Conditioner and their Natural Coils Curling Jelly. I use them on my girl's hair regularly. During the post-Thanksgiving sales I stocked up on both, and Darcy's sent a sample of one of their new products along with my order. I just got around to trying it out this past week.

It's called NEW Curling Gel Cream. The sample packet was good for three generous applications. By generous, I mean about half-dollar sized dollops. It's a liquidy cream. Very comparable to the Curling Jelly in consistency and results. To apply it, I squeezed some out onto my palm, rubbed my hands together and scrunched it into my girl's hair, then ran her curls through my fingers to spread it out from root to tip. It was easy to apply, nice and slippery, and coated the hair well.

As her hair dried the curls shrunk a lot, so I wonder if the cream is water-based. It also dried stiff in the areas where her hair is very smooth and fine. The stiffness doesn't bother me at all but it's worth mentioning because lots of people don't like crunchy hair. It did a great job of moisturizing and defining the curls for her loose hairstyle, and lasted all day. My daughter is a toddler, so no hairstyle lasts more than one day on her, no matter the product. After her nap I sprinkled the back and sides of her head with water and scrunched her curls with my hands to get them back into shape and that's all they needed to look fresh again.

I would love to do an ingredient comparison between Darcy's NEW Curling Gel Cream and their Natural Coils Curling Jelly, but strangely, I can't find the Curling Gel Cream anywhere on their website! I have an email in to them and let's see what they say. In the meantime, here are photos of the results - her hair is halfway dried:

Wow! Look at that curl definition.

This (above photo) is the part that dried stiff.

Great curl definition here, too. This area is usually frizzy.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Girl's Curls

In my browsings of hair blogs and hair products sites I have come across a couple of methods for classifying curl patterns and hair texture. The most popular classification system seems to be Andre Walker's. Apparently Mr. Walker is Oprah's stylist which no doubt helped make his system as well known as it is. Problem is, everywhere I've seen it, it's described slightly differently. There's one modified version of it described here. I used this version to analyze my daughter's hair.

For my little experiment I cut four strand samples from different areas of my girl's head, washed them, and let them dry to examine their texture and curl pattern. Interestingly, the strands were all slightly different. The tightest curl is at the nape of her neck. The finest hair is at the top front of her head - you can see that easily in the photo. Scroll down for the pics and tell me what you think.

Best I can tell, my girl has 3C/4A hair. It is fine and mostly smooth with just the hint of a kink or two when a single strand is run between my thumb and finger. It forms an S pattern with a random angle here and there when stretched, and forms coils or Os when left to curl up. Curls are smaller in diameter than a pencil, but larger than the spring inside a pen. It is not coarse or wiry. It has about 70% shrinkage.

I think knowing the characteristics of my girl's hair is going to help in choosing products and styles for her. It was definitely an interesting experiment.

So, a couple o' things I'm wondering:
1) Why is hair different on various parts of the head and is this true for everyone or just curly hair types?
2) What do people think of hair classification systems?