Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hair That's Fit To Travel

A little late, but Happy New Year from Syd and friends!
 At the end of last year, Syd and I drove from our home in the Midwest to South Carolina (15 hours away) to ring in the new year with some of our dearest friends. Since we only had a few days to spend there, I didn't want to waste a moment doing Syd's hair for our New Year's Eve celebration. So I needed to find a style that would survive 15 hours in the car and still look fabulous on New Year's Eve, which was 2 days after we arrived in Charleston.

I decided on cornrows for the trip since they could easily survive a 15 hour drive without frizz or tangles. I gave her a braided hair headband by putting 2 cornrows all the way around her hairline. They met at the nape of her neck. Then I put the remaining hair into 6 cornrows going straight down. To spruce up the cornrows while they were in, we pulled them into a low ponytail and added a giant flower, but I forgot to take a picture of that. Oops!

When New Year's Eve rolled around, I removed the 6 cornrows that went straight back and left the 2 that formed the braided headband. Cornrow removal only took a few minutes and the result was a braid out that looked great for NYE.

In this picture, you can still see the parts from where the cornrows were. Just a little fluffing of the roots with my fingers took care of that.

Random sidenote: It's tons of fun to tickle your kid while taking pictures. =]

Monday, February 21, 2011

Two Strand Twists

Syd and I are in the middle of a hectic couple of weeks. Our calendar is packed and we don't have a lot of time for hair. I didn't have much time for hair tonight, either, so I decided to put her hair into 2 strand twists. This is one of our go-to styles because it's easy, much quicker than the more complex styles, and well....Syd loves her hair this way.

She co-washed her hair while she was in the shower and came to me so I could do the style. I made a small side part in the front and then started just grabbing sections of hair to twist. I detangled each section as I went instead of detangling all the hair before I began. I didn't part out these sections, either. I just grabbed and twisted, working from one side of her head to the other.

To each section, I added a very small amount of Darcy's Botanicals Madagascar Vanilla Styling Cream, followed by a bit of shea butter. I combed it through with a denman and twisted.

We'll probably remove the twists in a few days so Syd can wear a twist out for a day or two. One more reason I love twists...we'll get a bonus style when the twists come out!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hand over the Hair Care

Moms with curly girls put a lot of effort into keeping the hair healthy and looking good. But let's face it - there will come a time when these girls are going to be washing, detangling, and even styling their own hair. 

Several years ago, the mere thought of trying to teach Syd to care for her own hair was overwhelming. She has so much hair on her head, and it can even take me a long time to wash, detangle, and style it. How would she ever be able to do this herself?

Then she got a little older (9, maybe?) and I knew it was time to really start teaching her to help care for her own hair. I can't do it for her forever. I figured I'd teach her in steps, starting in the beginning...washing. I wanted to share some methods we've tried, problems we've encountered, and solutions we've come up with in this rather lengthy (sorry!) post.

When she first tried washing her own hair, she had a lot of trouble getting the shampoo all the way to her scalp where her hair is thickest. So then I had to get creative. We got an applicator bottle with a nozzle - I actually used a picnic-style squeezable ketchup bottle for a while - and filled it with a 50-50 mix of shampoo and water. This thinned the shampoo out a little and she was able to stick the nozzle of the bottle right where she needed it on her scalp. It worked like a charm! There wasn't a thick mass of curls to come between the shampoo and the scalp. She has since been able to move on from using that bottle and has become a pro at shampooing her scalp.

We tried many times to have her wash her hair while it was in 6 loose braids, which was something I did from time to time to prevent tangling back when I was still shampooing her hair. I found that she wasn't always able to rinse the shampoo completely from the braids, so we scrapped that idea and moved on to the routine we are currently using. Here is what our ever-changing routine looks like at the moment:

1) I remove a style, lightly detangling and removing shed hair as I go.

2) Syd separates her hair into a right half and a left half, no straight part required. She loosely braids each half without using anything to secure the ends. It's ok if the braid isn't perfect or if it unravels a little...the purpose of the braid is just to prevent as much tangling.

3) Syd washes her hair in the shower. She unravels the braid on one side, shampoos and rinses, then rebraids it and repeats the process on the other side.

4) She goes back to the first side, removes the braid, adds conditioner, uses a shower comb with very wide teeth to gently comb it through her hair, starting at the ends and moving up. She rebraids with the conditioner still in her hair and repeats the process on the other side.

*The unbraiding and rebraiding might seem to be a bit redundant. We tried having her condition each side right after she washed it, but found that most of the conditioner from side 1 would be rinsed away when she was rinsing the shampoo out of side 2. So the longer, more drawn out process seems to work best for us - for now, anyway.

5) After her shower, she still has 2 braids and a fully loaded head of conditioner. We divide each half into 3 or 4 sections and work together to detangle each small section, putting each one in a loose braid when we are done with it. By the time we are finished, we have 6-8 loose braids that are detangled and ready to be rinsed.

6) We then rinse the conditioner from her hair while it is still in the braids and she's ready for styling. It's ok if a bit of conditioner is still there after rinsing...we think of it as a little extra leave-in!

This process, when written out, seems like it would take forever but it really doesn't take much longer than when I was doing it all myself. The more she gets used to doing her part, and the better she gets at preventing tangling as she washes, the faster it goes. And if we're short on time, she just shampoos, rebraids, and gets out of the shower. I'll add a leave-in as I detangle and then do a quick style. Nothing is ever set in stone at my house!

Syd can also do her own 2-strand twists, although I do the back part because she can't see what she's doing and she tends to leave a few random strands out as she goes. She'll get there. She also has mastered the art of gently removing braids and twists for braid outs and twist outs.

Here is what her current style looks like now. She took the twists out this morning so she could have a curly ponytail.
Notice the short sleeves...come on Spring! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cornrows and a Pony with a Twist

I removed Syd's box braids last night, and she washed her hair this morning. Afterward, I applied a leave in and combed it through. Then we got ready to style.

I did this style in one quarter of her hair at a time, so I first parted out one fourth of her hair.
 I cornrowed that section going in a straight line from front to back.

Then I moved to the hair in the back of the same side of her head. I cornrowed that section straight from the back moving upward.
 At this point, that half of her hair looked like this
I repeated the same steps in the hair on the other side of her head. Now I had cornrows that met along a horizontal part that goes from ear to ear.
Next, I took the hair on the left side of her head and cornrowed it toward the center of her head, moving along the horizontal part. I didn't go all the way across her head - I stopped in the center where the ponytail would be.
I repeated that step on the right side of her head and put both cornrows in a ponytail when they met in the middle. I then put the hair from the ponytail into 3-strand twists.

Sidenote: I didn't mention any products in this post. I tried a line of products for this style that I have never used before, and I wasn't a fan of how they made her hair feel. It doesn't feel as moisturized as I would like, and only time will tell how much hold it offers. I usually try 2 different styles with a product before forming a definite opinion. I'll be sure to let you know which products I used and what I think of them after I try them again.    

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quick Before School Box Braid Styles

One of the things I like most about box braids is how easy it is to change up the style in just a few minutes in the morning. And Syd loves that she is able to add accessories (she loves flowers) and do some simple styles by herself. There were a few days that she wore the braids down with no accessories, but here are the simple ways we dressed up her look during the last week and a half. I think all of these took 3 minutes or less - perfect for busy mornings!

I french braided the sides, connected them at the back, and let the rest hang in a pony.

Syd pulled just one side back and held it in place with a purple flower.

We pulled the top back and added 2 flowers to hide the ouchless band.

One low pony with a big flower.

All the braids gathered into one french braid.

She slept in 2 french braids (sorry, I forgot to take a pic). In the morning, we removed the braids and pulled half of it up.  

I'll be removing these braids tomorrow, which means they lasted just under 2 weeks. Box braids usually last us 2-3 weeks before they get too fuzzy for our liking, but I gave Syd a new hat a few days after styling and she has been wearing it A LOT. That made the fuzz show up a lot faster than it usually does. But hey, the hat is cute and she's a happy kid, which is so much more important than making the style last longer!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Give Up!

Sometimes you have to alter someone else's hair care and styling tips to make them work for you. It can be frustrating when a style doesn't work out after you carefully follow someone's instructions to the letter. As much as we wish it weren't so, no two heads of hair are alike. This means no two routines are going to have the same results every time. Here is the story of how I (finally) learned that lesson.

I have had quite a few people ask me how I got Syd's curls to look like they do in this picture, which is also found on the right at the top of the blog.
This was actually done by using Teri Laflesh's tightly curly method. We did the style for my niece's birthday party last summer, and it looked great, but that wasn't always the case. In fact, I almost gave up on this method completely when our first try produced some pretty disappointing results.

My first attempt at this method resulted in this in the front:
But this in the back:

Her hair looked so good from the front! But there was definitely a problem with the way the back turned out, and here's why.

If you can't tell from these pictures, Syd has several different hair types on her head. The hair on the sides is thinner, the strands are finer, and the curl is looser. As you move toward the back of her head, the hair gradually gets thicker, the strands get more coarse, and the curls are much tighter. The very back of her hair is very tightly coiled and very, very dense. It is nothing at all like the sides and front. This means I will never get the same results on the front and back of her head if I treat all of her hair the same.

A few months after the first attempt failed, Syd and I decided we were going to try again for my niece's birthday party. We could always throw her hair in a ponytail if it doesn't work, right? But this time, I put some thought into how I could keep from getting the same results again.

I used less product (normally Herbal Essences Hello Hydration for this method) on the sides of her hair, because that hair isn't as dry, course, or tightly curled as the hair in back. I gradually used more and more conditioner as I got closer to the back. I used a LOT more in the very back to help give the curls some more weight and keep them from shrinking so much more than the rest of her hair.

To my surprise, that actually worked! Here is another picture of Syd's hair from that day.
The curls look much more uniform and the whole style just looks better when I took the time to pay attention to the diversity of her curls. The sides aren't weighed down and the patch in the back hasn't experienced twice as much shrinkage as the rest.

I guess what I'm saying is this: Don't get discouraged when you don't get the same results as someone else, even though you're doing the very same steps. Pay close attention to the needs of the hair you are working with, and don't give up if something doesn't work the first time. A second or third try can lead to some pretty great results!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Box Braid Updo

Someone asked me last week if I had any updo ideas for tweens. Since Syd's hair is currently in box braids, my first instinct was to say that I would work on an updo style as soon as the braids come down. But then I had another thought. What about girls who are wearing braids when it comes time for a school dance or other formal event? Surely we can find a pretty style to do without having to remove the braids!

So I sat down with Syd and started experimenting. For some reason my mind almost immediately went back to this style that Katie did a few months ago over on Happy Girl Hair. I basically followed the same steps Katie described, but I used all of Syd's hair instead of just the top, and this is what I came up with.

Believe it or not, this was actually a pretty easy style. First, I took the top section of her hair and tied it in a knot like this:

Then I took the hair that was hanging down from the knot, added a bit of hair from each side and tied another knot like this:

I repeated that step two more times until all her hair had been incorporated. I added an ouchless band at the base of the bottom knot and then tucked all the remaining hair up under the knots and secured it with a couple hair pins. This style can easily be dressed up with some sparkly accessories or flowers.

I think I'll try this style again sometime in the future when her hair isn't in the braids. I'm interested in seeing how that would turn out!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Birthday Party Hair!

We celebrated Syd's 11th birthday today (although she won't actually be 11 until the 11th). We needed a quick and easy style this morning because there was so much to do, and this is what we came up with.

I pulled her hair (still in box braids) into a side bun, secured with 2 spin pins. Then I used hair pins to add ribbons that matched the party's gold theme. Who knew gift wrap could double as hair accessories?!? Definitely a fun and unique addition to the style. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Your Thoughts: What do you want to see?

Hey guys! It was great to see right away that so many people would be interested in this blog! Since the site is brand new, and you are the first followers, I'm asking you to get involved. What are you hoping to see most often on Tweeny Hair? Styles? Info about hair care? The ability to share your own styles and tips? Question and Answer posts?

I know everyone has different opinions and preferences, and I'd love to hear them all. Thanks in advance for all your input!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Small Box Braids

It's no wonder that we like box braids. They are incredibly versatile and they can last for weeks! Yesterday I put 89 box braids in Syd's hair. I know the exact number because she wants me to count them every time we do this style...LOL!
I used half-moon shaped parts instead of actual "boxes." The process goes a lot faster when I'm not trying to achieve perfection in the form of completely straight lines and perfect little squares.
Even using this method, this style took 5 hours to complete. Of course, there was an hour long break in the middle so we could go sledding and have a snowball fight! :)
We'll moisturize her hair every morning (especially the ends) and she sleeps in a satin nightcap to preserve the style. It should last about 2 weeks before I reach the end of my fuzz tolerance.I'll post pictures next week of all the styles we can do with these braids.


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