Tag Archives: techniques

Operation Blow-Out: Mission Accomplished

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10/3/12: And this is Part II.

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It was a success! At least, in my eyes it was:). I’ll admit, I thought that my hair would be straighter and even contemplated getting my comb attachment with the broken teeth out of the donation bag in the car (hmmm, now that I think about it, pretty sure I threw it in the trash while cleaning the house yesterday. Given its damaged state, that would make sense ;)). However, as this was my first time attempting the tension technique blow-out and I wasn’t going for bone straight … yeah, this will work!!

So, I’ll give you a recap of my prep, which I outlined yesterday in Countdown to a Blow-Out:

  • Cleanse thoroughly with a diluted sulfate shampoo (clarify).
  • Apply ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor (strengthen).
  • Deep condition with cool & seal technique (moisture).
  • Thoroughly rinse with cool/cold water.
  • Section hair into 6 sections (2 in back and 1 in front on each side).
  • Apply Roux Fermodyl 619 to each section using spray bottle (porosity corrector/detangler/leave-in).
  • Apply small amount of GVP Potion #9 to each section (moisture and wearable treatment/styler).
  • Apply Aveda Brilliant Damage Control to each section (heat protection).
  • For each of prior 3 steps, comb hair with fingers, then wide tooth comb, then medium tooth comb (detangling).
  • Comb through each section with fine-tooth comb and set hair in 6 twists total.
  • Secure roots with large doobie pins and roll ends on medium/large purple flexi-rods.

After I finished that last step, I tied on a hair net, then a bonnet and hit the sack. I had to drive for about 2 hours to my home office and allowed my twists to dry further during the commute. When I arrived at the office, I pulled them back with a ponytail holder and folded them up into a twisted bun for the workday.

In the evening, I began the blow-out process. My initial plan was to dampen each section with a little more Aveda Damage Control, diluted at a 1:4 ratio with distilled water in a small spray bottle, then blow dry. However, after the first couple of sections, I realized that it was making my hands and hair sticky. So, I just began to dampen my hands with water, smooth them along the section I was working and then blow dry. All in all, I think that the product combination worked very well. The thing with blow-outs and flat-ironing is that I think you almost want your hair to feel naked as oils, butters and creams will weigh it down and make it greasy. My hair felt “clean” of this type of weight and sturdy. I think that I could have gone directly to a pressing comb or flat-iron if it had been my goal to wear my hair straight. And, if I ever want to do that, I will definitely follow all of the steps above and use the same products (with no need for a blow-out). So, that was definitely a learning for me.

Back to the blow-out. I worked my hair in sections using the twists as my guides. I used the concentrator attachment, the medium heat setting and  high speed. I broke each twist into 3 or 4 sections total for the process. Once I dried a couple of sections, I smoothed an itty, bitty smidgen of Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter (CD HHB) down the hair and then moved to the next section. It took me about 2 1/2 hours to finish the blow-out. But, I was stopping to take pictures, flat iron a section, rubber-band sections, etc. I was definitely taking my time. I realized two things as I worked. First, it was better to tilt the concentrator in a downward angle (towards the ends of the hair) while drying as it made the hair lay smoother (versus pointing the concentrator in a straight 90º angle at hair). Second, I realized that I should use the “cool blast” on the dryer after getting hair to the straightness that I wanted, in order to set it.

Now, I’ll give a brief review of the new products, tools and techniques.

Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styler 223X: I really liked this dryer! It was lightweight and easy to handle. There is nothing worse than a cumbersome hair tool and I didn’t have any problem with maneuvering this dryer. The medium heat setting was warm without being hot. The buttons were secure so that I wasn’t changing settings as I was trying to dry my hair (I had that problem with my old Ion dryer). The location/placement of the “cool shot” button was intuitive, so it was very easy to use. Oh, and did I mention? This dryer has a cord-keeper! So, the majority of the cord whips right on up into the dryer handle, making it a breeze to store without using rubberbands or twistie ties. And, you know how cords become all twisted around other articles or on themselves, damaging the inner wires? Yup, don’t think that will be a problem here! I will say this though, the cord is rather short. So, that might be a concern for some who need more “range of motion” based upon their drying location of choice.

Roux Fermodyl 619, GVP Sebastian Potion #9 and Aveda Brilliant Damage Control : I grouped these all together as I can’t really differentiate too much between what did what. So, I will defer to MopTopMaven’s previously proffered explanation of each product’s benefits as she outlined here. I used them in the same order that she did and as I’ve listed them here. I used one vial of the Fermodyle 619 and then applied a hazelnut-sized dot of the GVP Potion #9 to each of the 6 twists. Finally, I sprayed about 5-6 spritzes of the Aveda Damage Control on each section. So, although this may seem like a lot of product, it really wasn’t. I made sure not to go heavy on anything, which is why I combed through each product, to ensure more even and thorough distribution. Again, my hair felt clean, crisp and sturdy during the blow-out process. It wasn’t gunky when dried and my hair was “floaty.” I think I would have gotten very nice results if I’d gone directly to flat-ironing my hair with these products. However, as that wasn’t the plan, I blow dried and then added the smallest amount of CD’s HHB, to smooth it and provide the tiniest bit of moisture, making certain not to overdo it. As I’m getting my hair twisted, I know it has to feel pretty product-less and that was what I was going for here and believe I achieved.

Conair Ceramic Comb: So, I got this comb to round out the ceramic tools;). The medium-tooth side and parter tooth worked great. The fine-tooth side? Not so much. But, that was okay as I had my rattail comb that worked very well to finish the job.

Tension method: I don’t believe I perfected this ;), however it turned out pretty nicely for my first go at it, I think. I do know that despite the fact that the technique involves the word tension, it caused far less of that on my hair than the comb attachment would have. I was pleased that the only hair that I seemed to lose appeared to be shed hair. I was also satisfied that it was a pretty easy process. It was time-consuming, but I think that was only because it was my first time and I  was doing other things. I definitely don’t think that it would take any longer than using the comb attachment for someone who’s done it a few times. So, the tension method gets the thumbs up!

To wrap this up, I put a few drops of my Essential Oil Mix on my fingertips and massaged it into my scalp. Then, I put my hair into one big braid down the back (secured at the end with a silicone elastic) and donned one of my satin scarfs to hit the sack.

Welp, that’s it! I’ll share a few more pics of the finished blow-out … and a pic of a section that I carefully flat-ironed to see the “true” length.

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I really do feel rewarded for my diligence, because this is the longest that my hair has ever been in my life. And, to tell you the truth, it’s really not all that hard or time-consuming. I spend far more time working on the blog then I do on my hair. However, that being said, I can NOT wait for Wednesday. Why? Because I’ll be in a full set of Afro puffy twists, which will make my day to day styling so much easier … no bad hair days! No wet twists! No failed TnCs. Yea! Just ready for a little break! But don’t worry, I’ll still be playing around with styles and will be doing a post on winter protective styling options and care tips too! Check ya lata gatas!!

Step Away From the Towel!

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Tips & Tricks: Number Three

You’ve washed, detangled and conditioned your hair, rinsing with lukewarm, cool or cold water. You step out of the shower or lift your head from the sink and reach for your bath towel. STOP!!! Put your hands in the air and step away from the towel! You see, that seemingly innocuous, standard shower necessity could destroy all your hard work!! The surface of most standard bath towels disrupts the cuticle layer, separates the natural “clumping” of curls and contributes to frizz. However, there are several options out there for absorbing excess moisture from the hair that reduce/eliminate the drippies without robbing the hair of too much moisture or roughing up its surface.

We’ll start with the “high end” options and work our way towards the items that are probably already in your house … so, you know, “free!!”

First up are the Hotheads Hand Dry Hair Towel and Hand Dry Hair Gloves, both around $25. In this post, CurlyNikki listed the Hair Gloves as one of her top five styling tools for “blotting excess moisture prior to applying styling conditioner.”

Next up are the Curls Like Us Curl Cloths pictured far above. These handy, dandy little towels come in a two pack for $24. I actually own a set and have been using them for about a year now with much success. They do what they are supposed to do, are nicely absorbent and the two pack means that you can throw one in the wash and have another ready to go!

Another option is the Aquis Mimi’s Diva Dryer Hair Towel, which runs for $11-13. This is a microfiber towel that claims to be super-absorbent and dry “hair in half the time, so there’s less blow-drying and fewer split ends.” Now, I have no experience with this towel. However, I’ve always been leery of microfiber as it looks like velcro to natural hair. So, this is a product about which I’d love to hear your experiences. Curlmart doesn’t have any reviews of the product, but Amazon has 28 here. You’ll have to be the judge on this one!

The DevaCurl Deva Towel is another microfiber option that costs about $12 online. It seems to have a lower pile than other versions. Now, y’all know I swear by DevaCare No Poo and DevaCare One Conditioner has been one of my staples for years. However, as many of us know, you may love one thing in a line and hate another. With that being said, the reviews I see on this towel are mixed. Some love it, but find it overpriced online (seems you might be able to find it on the ground for cheaper). Others didn’t like it at all and found it no different from any other microfiber  towel. However, regardless of whether they liked it or not, most reviewers indicated that it was too small and would be better in a larger size. However, it is an option, so I wanted to list it. Someone may be looking for a nice, convenient, travel size microfiber towel!! *lol*

Now, although some of the options above are great, there are also a couple of lower cost alternatives that are just as effective.

Though not as pretty, the smooth surface of an old, cotton T-shirt was the inspiration behind Curl Cloths. So, just grab a nicely worn tee (preferably free of heavy, excessive screen print or adornment) and blot away. And, if you want the shape of the Curl Cloths, simply cut off the top portion of the T-shirt to remove the neck and sleeves as demonstrated below. (This is also a nice back-up option when both of your curl clothes are in the laundry! I know from experience! LOL!)

Last, but not least, some good old-fashioned paper towels will always get the job done!!! Of course, you may go through an entire roll if your hair is very wet and you have a lot of it! Now that I think about it, in the long run, this option could be more expensive than any of the above, reusable tools!! Regardless, they work in a pinch!! But, you’ll want to make certain that you are using lint-free towels! A head full of white lint would not be the look ;).

Finally, whatever option you choose, remember to blot and squeeze your hair to absorb excess moisture. Never scrub or rub.

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How do you “dry” your hair damp? We’d love to hear your experiences with any of the above tools or recommendations for others!