Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Video Hairstyle How-To: Wrapped Hairstick Bun Updo

This style works for hair shorter than mine and hair much longer than mine. If your hair is longer, you may need a longer hair stick, and also you will make more wraps around the bun, before completely inserting the hair stick.

It's a versatile hairstyle.  You can leave the ends sticking out as I did, or you can pin them neatly into place.

I hope you like it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Canada

On Thursday, July 1, it's Canada Day, the one day of the year when we Canadians allow ourselves to speak our patriotism out loud. This is the day we celebrate July 1, 1867 when our country was formed as a nation.

I have realized over the years that the citizens of even our closest neighbour, the U.S.A, don't really know much about Canada.

Canada is a vast country-- 5000 miles from coast to coast.  Our land mass is huge, but our population is only about 31,000,000 people. About 90 per cent of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. Further north it is much less populated, but here in Ontario, there a many huge national parks and lakes, and in the summer many people head "up north" to cottage country, where it's cooler and not so crowded.

It's a beautiful country, with many leafy trees as well as fir trees. The country is very diverse, culturally, geographically and with regard to the weather.

I live in Southern Ontario, in a city that was built beside Lake Ontario. I live an hour away from Toronto in one direction and Niagara Falls in another.  It takes only about an hour to get to the U.S. border from where I live. Where I live is actually south of many U.S. cities. In fact, it's further south of the entire states of Minnesota, Washington, North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, and most of Idaho and Oregon.

While we are officially a bilingual country, in reality, relatively few English speaking people speak French fluently. We do take French class in school, until High School after which it becomes optional. Unless one is immersed in a French community, it is not easy to learn French just from classes at school.

I had an American friend who thought that I, living in Canada, lived close to Alaska.  In fact, it would be about a 4000 mile car journey to Juneau, Alaska, which is one of the closest Alaskan cities to my home.

Which brings us to the weather. Like most of the northern U.S., we have 4 distinct seasons. Also like the U.S., the weather has a lot to do with geography.  We didn't experience very much snow this past winter, and the temperature rarely went much below the freezing mark.  We have lovely springs and autumns, where I live, fairly hot humid summers. It can be hot for a good 4-5 months.  We also usually have some rare days in March when it's warm enough for shorts and t-shirts.

However, depending on where one lives in Canada things can be different.  In the prairies and the plains further west, it can be extremely cold in winter. However, they can have hot summers too.

The thing that most visitors to our country notice the most is that the people are extremely polite. Obviously, not everyone is polite, but as a nation, we generally are. The other thing visitors notice is how clean our country is, in general. Further north there is a lot of beautiful unspoiled country. Even the populated areas manage to keep a lot of green space.

We celebrate diversity here in Canada, and while it may seem paradoxical, diversity is a huge part of our identity as a nation.

I was born in the city in which I currently reside, and I will likely be here for the rest of my life.

I love Canada. Happy Birthday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hair Inspirations In the Movies and Television

I was thinking today about some of my childhood hair inspirations.  When I was a kid there was a plethora of movies from the 1930s to the 1950s running frequently on television. It was then, watching those movies that I discovered the power of beautiful hair.

The first woman that I ever saw in the movies who made me really aware of how important lovely hair is was Rita Hayworth. I remember that even though I was seeing the movie, Gilda,  in black and white, I didn't know that her hair was red, Yet there was no mistaking that her hair was an intrinsic part of her beauty and allure. I remember a couple of memorable scenes in that film that inspired me. One was a moment when she was leaning over and then tossed her hair up, her luscious hair falling perfectly into place. Another was when she was singing and dancing to "Put the Blame on Mame". Those movie moments are burnt in my memory forever.

Another early movie actress whose hair really made her look was of course, Veronica Lake. She was such a tiny little woman; I believe about 5 feet tall, and very petite, She had a pretty face and figure, but I just couldn't take my eyes off her peek-a-boo hairstyle.  It's no wonder that many women tried to emulate that look back in those days.

I also remember watching Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  I loved seeing her put together her hairstyle in preparation for going out on the town. Of course, I now realize that it was movie magic that allowed her to do an elaborate style in just a few seconds, but the image never left my head.

More realistic was Peggy Lipton in Mod Squad. She had the perfect late '60s/early '70s hair.  It was long, straight, blonde and parted in the middle. That was a look that I could have achieved had I been able to grow out my bangs, but my mother kept my bangs cut. Also, I was very young then and didn't really understand that the hairstyle has to fit the face.

When I was in my teens, it was all about trying to achieve the Farrah Fawcett look, even though 99% of the population hasn't got the kind of hair she had. Especially me.

It took me way too long to really understand that I didn't need to emulate anyone else's look.  Even in the '90s I can remember getting a Meg Ryan cut.

It really wasn't until I hit my 40s that I really "got it". There was no longer any point in trying to wear someone else's hair. It took much too much work to achieve the various looks, and of course lots of damaging products and styling tools to get them.

I finally realized that my face is my face and my hair is my hair, and that's the way it's meant to be. Why couldn't I have seen that in my youth? 

At least I've got it now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Almost Update Time

Although in the past, I have admitted to experiencing a certain girlish glee when it comes to my monthly progress updates. This month, not so much.

I have mentioned that I trimmed the "v" from my hemline.  Although I really only trimmed a small portion of my hair to do that, it made a real impact on what my length will be.

It seems so silly, in a way.  I know I've made growth progress this month, and most of my hair will be longer, but the very centre of the back of my hair will not be.  Yet, I still keep feeling that my hair is so much shorter.

I don't really know why this bothers me.  The "v" had to go some time, so it was probably better sooner than later and is it really reaching a new length milestone when just a tiny "v" of hair reaches a certain point, but most of the hair doesn't?  Not really, in my opinion.

I think my negativity today has a lot to do with the fact that I woke up at an unholy hour this morning, so I'm a bit sleep-deprived, we are under a severe thunderstorm warning, and I have quite a bad migraine going on. Also, I've had more than the usual number of hot flashes today, likely to do with the humidity.  Even at this hour, it's very hot out, and the air is so thick with humidity that it feels as though you could cut the air with a knife.  It's very humid in the house too, even with the A/C.

Any one of these things on its own might make me feel somewhat down, but with all of it, I really do have the blues today. Of course, whenever I'm blue, it tends to magnify anything that I'm not happy with about myself.  Well, it's just past 7:00 PM, and to be honest, I'm counting the hours until I can go to bed, hopefully get a good and full night's sleep, and perhaps everything will look better in the morning. I hope so.  I hope to be more cheery when I write tomorrow.

I also hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend.  Love to all.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Messy Bun Updo

First of all, thank you AutumnLeaves and Schnauzermom for your nice comments about my daughter's hair.  And A.L., you are correct. She has my hair and figure, but she gets her face from her dad's side of the family.

Today I wanted to try something a little different, so I fashioned this messy bun. It may just be a bit too messy.

I made a ponytail and I only pulled the ponytail through a little less than halfway after the last loop of elastic. Then I took pieces of hair and pinned some over and others under the elastic.  It was very easy. It is funny though that it takes me a bit longer to make a messy bun than to make a neat-looking bun.

I think the next time I try this, I'll make braids with strands of hair next to my face, or I'll French braid the sides. Perhaps I'll part my hair on the side, and make the bun assymetrical.

Anyway, at this point, it's a work in progress, and this was just a test run.

After a couple of days with a lot of family and a lot of chatter, I find myself with an evening alone.  Everyone else has somewhere to be. As usual, I'll likely watch a movie. One of these days, I really must talk about some of the films I've enjoyed. I really am a movie buff.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Saturday, and I wish you a good Sunday.

Love to all.  'Til tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Daughter's Hair and Benign Neglect

Here is a photo of my daughter's hair that has just reached BSL. Her hair is very much like mine; fine, and very straight. Her hair colour was very light blonde as a child but now it's a dark blonde, occasionally covered with a temporary red shade.  I think it looks lovely.

As for me, with the hot weather and having been busy, I've just been practicing benign neglect on my hair this week.

That simply means that while I haven't been going out of my way to do deep treatments or anything in particular to enhance my hair's health, I've just been putting it up, forgetting about it, and doing it no harm.

Since I touched up my roots on Sunday, I've been able to go three days between washings, as seems to be the norm immediately after colouring.  After about a week and a half, I do find that I need to wash every other day, as I've mentioned before.

It's actually quite nice to be in a benign neglect phase, because it means I'm not thinking about my hair's length, progress, or its condition.  At the same time, just putting it up in a protective updo is making sure it doesn't get damaged.

When it gets hot and humid like this, I am very thankful that I don't live down south in a place that has this weather for much longer than we experience it.  I know that a lot of people love the heat, but while I love summer, heat and humidity really does make me wilt.

I do love the changing seasons, as well.  I wouldn't give it up for anything.

I wish everyone a lovely and happy weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Still Hot and Daughter is Home

This is just a quickie today, due to special and happy circumstances.

It's still extremely hot and humid, but I'm happily sitting here in the air-conditioned house with my whole family.  My daughter arrived home for her visit this morning.  After taking an overnight bus to get here, she went to sleep shortly after coming home and is now well rested, and looking happy and healthy. What more can a mother ask for?

We're all a little tired here today, actually.  I couldn't fall asleep until 1:00 a.m., and I woke up at 4:30.  I did have a little nap, but it didn't seem to help much.  Yet it's a lovely day, and we're all together.

My daughter received a royal reception from both the cat and the dog, as well as from her non fur-bearing family.

I was surprised to see that her hair has just now reached BSL.  It grew really quickly, and it looks lovely.  She's not a crazy hair person like her mother, but she does know that I enjoy seeing how much her hair has grown.  Even she didn't realize that she's at BSL. She thought she had further to go.

Unlike me, she doesn't use permanent dye, so her hair is looking extremely healthy.  I'll post photos later, because she doesn't feel that her hair was picture-ready right now.

Anyway, between all the excitement and the lack of sleep, I'm having a hard time concentrating on writing, so I'll sign off now.

I hope to be able to post a photo of my daughter's newly BSL hair before I post tomorrow.  Love to all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sometimes It's Too Hot To Think About Hair

And today is one of those days.  It's been hotter temperature-wise than it is today, many, many times, but with a humidity of close to 80 per cent, it's pretty rough stuff.  It's been a day of hot flashes and lots of sweats for me, and my hair is the last thing on my mind, except for keeping it off my neck.

This is truly one of the advantages of long hair.  One can put it up and get it out of the way in seconds, and simply forget about it.  I am sitting here typing this with my hair pulled up in the simplest of buns, held by a hair fork.  It looks fine, and it's about as cool as you can get without having a Mia Farrow circa Rosemary's Baby pixie cut.

It's been an unusual day.  Although it has not rained, the humidity is such that the roads are slippery.  While it's bright and sunny now, we're expecting thunderstorms any time now.

Also, there was an earthquake in the city where my daughter resides, of a 5.5 magnitude, which is extremely rare here in Southern Ontario.  Although she lives 300 miles/500 km from us, the earthquake was definitely felt here.

After the quake, we looked up on the Internet to find out where the epicenter was, and we were quite surprised to learn that it was very near where my daughter is.

Fortunately, I read on the 'net that the power was out there after the quake and the cell phones weren't working, so I didn't panic when we couldn't reach her for a couple of hours.

I finally spoke with her, and all is well.  She did get a fright, but that was about it.

Tomorrow she'll be home, and that is such a treat.  However, she's travelling overnight as all traffic will be waylaid tomorrow due to the G20 Summit taking place in Toronto, beginning Friday, which is the major switching point for travelers between my daughter's city and here.  Everything starts to close off tomorrow, and travelling after that will be very difficult for the duration.

I'll be delighted to have her here safe and sound, even if she will likely need to head straight up to bed the moment she arrives.  It's a happy time.  I can't wait to see if her hair is at BSL yet.  She and I were about even on that score, last I heard.

Well, I'm sure I'll have more hair-related talk tomorrow, but for today, well, the title says it all.

Love to all.

'Til tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Weather, Pets, and Other Things

Well, it's the first full day of summer, and here in my part of Southern Ontario, it's been nothing if not unpredictable. It's been very hot, sunny and humid for the past few days, but there have been thunderstorms in frequent intervals throughout.  It's hard to know from one hour to the next whether it will be sunny and cloudless, or if the thunderstorms will start. Black clouds invade the blue sky almost without warning. While thunderstorms are hard on me migraine-wise, they are beautiful to look at, and it's very cool to have to turn on the lights in midday, just in order to see properly.  It's especially cool when the rain, thunder and lightning suddenly stops, and the sun comes out in full again.

I honestly don't know what we'd do without air conditioning.  While the A/C does remove some of the humidity, it's surprising how much humidity remains in the house, and how it affects my middle-aged body.  Even when the temperature is steady in the house, as it is with central A/C, it's really easy to work myself into a hot flash with minimal exertion when it's so humid.

I often wonder what it would be like to live somewhere with dry heat and no humidex. I suppose there is good and bad to both.  One thing for sure, my skin doesn't dehydrate the way it would if it were dry.

I notice that even with the constant temperature in the house my dog Barclay is panting more than usual, so I guess it effects him as well. As I write this, the cat just walked past the dog, and as usual, she gave him a hiss, and as usual, he just ignores it good naturedly.  One might think that after three years of living together, the cat might give up on the hissing, as it clearly goes unnoticed, but that's just her way, where the dog's concerned.

The pets are both sensing something is about to happen. They seem a bit more alert and excited than usual.  And they're right.  My daughter is coming home later this week, and the family is expectant and excited and the pets seem to be as well. She lives 300 miles/ 500 km away, so the visits are more rare than they would be if she only lived an hour away.  I am really looking forward to this visit, and I hope we have some good quality time to chat and have fun, She does have some events to attend, so she won't be here every day, but we'll have enough time together. We always manage that.

Thinking about the cats, as I was earlier, I always wonder what the attraction is for them with a clean basket of laundry. I'll leave you with a couple of photos of our cat, Q, enjoying some time getting comfy in the clean laundry.

Love to all.

'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Protein Overload.

An anonymous commenter mentioned yesterday that her hair was feeling crunchy from having too much protein in her hair.  While we need both protein and moisture in our hair, we can overdo it at times.

Products with protein can be a lifesaver for people with over-processed hair.  If you have a perm, or if you've coloured your hair one too many times, your hair may feel spongey or sticky when it's wet. This is a sign of protein loss. If you stretch a wet hair and it doesn't spring back to shape, then your hair is likely lacking in protein as well.

There are a lot of excellent products that contain hydrolyzed protein and help to make protein-deficient hair look and feel more healthy. One of the best upscale products of this nature is Joico's K-Pak.  It's a deep moisture and protein treatment. The protein in it is hydrolyzed, meaning that the protein has been processed in such a way that it can penetrate the hair shaft. There is protein hidden in many other regular drugstore brands too.  If you look at an ingredients list and see the word "hydrolyzed" in it, then it's likely that it contains a protein.  Some proteins come from soy, silk, whey and wheat.

While protein is essential to hair, if you don't need protein, and you continually use protein products, you can end up with protein overload, which will result in your hair feeling crunchy at the ends or having velcro-like ends.  This is much the same as the result of silicone build-up.

A lot of people are baffled when their hair seems to have a lot of buildup, even if they don't use silicones.  Too much protein is frequently the culprit.

If you have protein overload, then it's a good idea to clarify your hair as I described in this entry. Then make sure to moisturize well with a deep treatment, like the conditioner and honey treatment described in that entry as well.  Make sure that the conditioner you use to make the deep treatment contains neither silicones or protein.  There are several inexpensive conditioners that do not have silicones or protein, so it's not an expensive proposition to use this deep moisture treatment.

Once you've rinsed out the deep treatment, then you can use a silicone conditioner if that's your preference.  Discontinue using any conditioners with protein until and unless you need it.  And remember, if you do use silicones, you will have to clarify and deep moisturize from time to time.

I wish to extend my thanks once again to my faithful readers and to my new readers.  You will never know the depth of my gratitude. Love to all.

'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I wish a Happy Father's Day to anyone who may be a father, to your partners who are fathers, and the fathers of anyone reading this.

It's a balmy, beautiful day here, and I've had the day to myself.  I currently have a head slathered in coconut oil, and I'll be touching up my roots in a short while.  I've been colouring my hair for so many years that I really have the touch-up process down to a science and it doesn't take me very long to do. It's not an inconvenience to me as it is to some people.

I am in a happy place again with my hair.  Trying a couple of styles that I hadn't done in a while this week and playing with curlers took the edge off not being able to do hairstyles that require more length.  It's funny how little it takes sometimes to get past a stumbling block.

My impatience has been put away again, at least for a while.

Today I've been wondering yet again just how long I'll be able to grow my hair with it still looking healthy. I do hope that I can get past waist length, because I've been looking at some beautiful hairstyles that I want to try that will require that kind of length.

It's a mysterious journey in a way, because while I have short-term goals, I really don't know what my final destination will be, or even if there will be a final destination.  Perhaps even if I reach my "secret" goal of tailbone length, there may be things that I will still be able to do to improve the condition of my hair.  I may want to grow out my bangs again, or maybe not. My journey may have to end at waist length or at hip length. I really have no idea. Whatever will be will be, and it's exciting not to know what the outcome will be.

I truly am enjoying the whole process, even though I do have days during which I feel a bit discouraged.  The discouragement always seems to pass, and before I know it, I'm back on track, looking forward to my next goal again.

Knowing that the negative days pass and give way to the positive is a wonderful thing. It's a good thing to remember about non-hair related issues too.  I've said it before, but I'm learning more and more valuable life lessons along this long hair journey

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Curls: The Day After and Other Things

Yesterday, I did that 90-minute damp set of spiral curls.  Since then, I've brushed and oiled my hair and put it in my bedtime bun, and had a nap. It's also more humid in the house than usual. Yet here is a photo of my hair after all of that, 30 hours later.  Much to my amazement, I still have some curls!  Also to my amazement, I can run my fingers through my hair, and my ends feel soft and smooth.  That really is some amazing hair gel.

I rarely could get my hair to look as curly/wavy as it does in today's photo back when I did heat styling.  Curls just fell out of my hair, even with hairspray.  I wouldn't touch hairspray anymore.  I like my hair to be touchable, which hairspray does not allow, and most drugstore hairsprays are quite drying.

I will reiterate that nothing makes a curl last better than a damp or wet set.

On another note, I was on the lookout for split ends today.  I still can't find any.  I suppose that they will be inevitable by the time I reach waist length, but wouldn't it be nice not to have splits? One can dream, I suppose, but I also have to be realistic.

I don't know whether my hair is suddenly getting even more silver, or whether my hair is growing faster, but it's 4 weeks tomorrow since I last touched up my roots and my roots are huge already. I will likely have to touch them up tomorrow.  I used to go 6 weeks  between touch-ups. I'm not thrilled with this development.  If my hair had more curl and therefore some height, it wouldn't be as obvious, but with my hair being so flat, my part really shows up.

Also, I want to mention to any trimmers that according to The Almanac, today and tomorrow are best day for cutting hair to encourage growth.  So if you are in need of a small trim, or even just a dusting (that's when you trim off so little, that it's just like dust), this weekend is a good time for it.

'Til tomorrow, and love to all.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Curling Hair Without Heat: Spiral Curlers

As I mentioned earlier this week, I've been in a bit of a style rut, so I've been shaking it up a little by trying new styles, and also doing some things I haven't done for a while. Today, I decided to make some curls.

In an earlier entry, I discussed making loose waves without heat. Today, I'm going to talk about making curls without heat. There are a lot of methods but today, I found use for some old flexible rubber sticks, called Hot Sticks,  that are meant to be heated and worn until they cool, like hot rollers, but they are thin and long in order to create spiral curls. 

Of course, I don't use heat of any sort on my hair anymore, but I do know that those sticks give a nice curl, so I decided to use them in a damp set. I'm sure that there are similar curlers sold to be used without heat, but since I already had these, I wanted to have use for them.

My hair was dry, and I spritzed it with a bit of distilled water to make my hair very slightly damp. I put a tiny dab of gel on the tress that I was about to roll. 

I don't use drugstore gel anymore, because I haven't found one that is not very drying, that doesn't dull my hair, or that doesn't make my hair feel crunchy.

I use Morrocco Method Blood of the Dragon Styling Gel. I first had a sample size of it that I received when I bought another product.  I was amazed at how it had great hold, but with all natural, non-drying ingredients.  It also keeps my hair shiny and bouncy.  It's perfect for use as a setting gel for damp or wet curling of the hair. Yes, it's expensive, but so little is needed, and I don't use it that often, so it's been worth it for me.

After dampening and lightly gelling my hair, I rolled each tress in a curler.  The flexible sticks  have a clasp to close them up when you're done rolling.  I only rolled my hair to about ear level.  Another time I'll try making the spirals right up to the top of my head.

I ended up just using 7 curlers.  It only took about 5 minutes to set my hair. Of course, for tighter curls, I would use smaller sections and more curlers.  I left the curlers in my hair for just over 90 minutes, as they were dry at that point.  Here is a photo of the result.

I was quite pleased with how the curls turned out and hours later, the curls are still in my very stubborn, hard-to-curl hair many hours later.  As much as I used to like heat styling, nothing beats a damp or wet set for longer lasting waves or curls.

It's Friday!!!!  I wish everyone a lovely weekend.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Video How-To: Using Hair Sticks In An Updo

It was only a few years ago that I learned how to put hair sticks in an updo to actually hold the bun, not just as adornments. For many years I thought that when a woman in a movie took her hair down by removing just one stick that it was a movie trick.  I was delighted to finally learn how to use them properly, and hair sticks are now among my very favourite accessories.

I know that I am not alone in needing help learning just how to make hair sticks work, so I made this video.

It could also be titled, "How To Make A Cinnamon Bun Updo", as that's the hairstyle I'm using to demonstrate the hair sticks with.

I'm using Mei Fa Hairstyx in Viola for this updo.  They were my very first pair of "good" hair sticks.

Yes, I know that the bun ended up a bit off centre, but I hope that for those of you who are new to longer hair, this video is helpful.

If anyone can tell me why this video is not centred on my blog page the way my last one was, I'd be most appreciative of any help you can give me. :)

Sending out love to all who read this.  'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mayonnaise Treatment For Hair

Chances are that you've heard about using mayonnaise as a deep treatment for your hair.  Chances are that you've never tried it. I remember first reading about mayonnaise treatments in my teens, and I did try it back then on my perm-damaged hair. I liked the results then, but I forgot about it along the way until just a few years ago.

A mayonnaise treatment is an excellent choice for when your hair is feeling dry or damaged. It has a perfect balance of moisture, protein, oil and pH level. Some people think it works like a miracle. I wouldn't go that far, but it is a great go-to treatment for when your hair is stressed for any reason. It's also very easy to use, as it's pre-mixed and you don't have to have any preparation time.

I do suggest this treatment for when you're home alone, unless you share a home with people who don't mind your minor eccentricities.

The next time you see Hellman's (or Best Brands) Mayonnaise on sale at your grocery store, pick up a jar. Consider marking the label with an indelible pen, so that you remember that this jar is for your hair only. This is purely for sanitary reasons.

The treatment is best done on clean, damp, but not wet, hair. If you use silicone-based products, be sure to clarify first, as I described in this entry.

When your hair is damp, just start slathering on the mayonnaise from the roots to the tips of the hair.I always use more than is probably necessary, but that's okay. Your hair will only absorb so much.

After the mayo is worked through your hair, loosely bun your hair on top of your head and cover with plastic. I like to use plastic grocery store bags that may be hanging around the house, because I can handily tie the bag up with the handles.  Sometimes, I then cover the bag with aluminum foil.  This really helps hold the heat in, and allows for even better absorption.

Cover the whole mess with a towel, and as with the coconut milk soak, it's a good idea to have an extra towel to drape over your shoulders, to catch any drips.  And there will be drips.  This is not pretty.  The results are worth it though.

Try to keep the mayonnaise on your hair for an hour or so.  Then shampoo out with your regular shampoo. If you use conditioner only, you can also use just the conditioner to wash it out.

You may want to shampoo it twice.  Don't panic if your hair still feels oily after the second shampooing. Shampoo does not get oil out of the hair as well as conditioner does. While it sounds counterintuitive, oilier products actually remove oil better than shampoo does.

Make sure that you use a lot of conditioner.  You'll need it to remove the excess mayonnaise.  Work the conditioner into your hair well, and try to leave it on as long as possible.

Rinse for at least three minutes with lukewarm or cool water, and follow if you like with an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.

That's it!  I suggest keeping a jar of mayonnaise on hand for one of those days that you feel like giving your hair a treat. You will find that your hair is smooth, shiny and healthier feeling for it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Breaking Mental Blocks and Other Things

My goodness, if any day could be described as perfection it would be today.  The sun is bright, there's not a cloud in the sky, there's a gentle breeze, and everywhere I look, I see green--the lovely green of late spring. We're expecting thunderstorms before too long, but right now, it's the epitome of a beautiful June day, not too hot, and not too cool, and I'm loving it.

Only another few days, and we will be at the Summer Solstice. I simply cannot wrap my head around that, as it seems as though the last Equinox just occurred. It really is true that time moves more quickly with age.  Especially after having my children, both of whom are now young adults, time seemed to take on a new, speedier form.

I can't even begin to imagine how quickly time will pass once I have grandchildren. I'm going to be 49 in a month, but didn't I just turn 40?

Well, on to another subject.

The title of this entry says "breaking mental blocks". That's what I did last week when I made my first hairstyle video. It's the first video I've ever posted on the internet.  Although I've had my hairstyle/hair care website for a couple of years, and I kept saying that I would post video tutorials, I never was able to get myself to do it, much to my embarrassment.

I suppose I get a bit camera shy and then when I watch a video back, I am very self-conscious about my voice. However, since I've begun writing this blog, I gradually gained enough confidence to just go ahead and do a video. It didn't turn out perfectly by any means (especially the way my French Twist comb isn't completely inserted at the end of the video), but it was okay. And I actually had the nerve to post it despite the fact that it's not perfect.

For some people, this would not be a big deal. For me, it really was. Not only did I have to overcome my shyness, but I had to put my perfectionism aside, and just go with what I considered "good enough".

So this blog isn't just helping me keep on track as far as my hair goals are concerned, but it's teaching me some other lessons as well. I thought that the only real lesson I would learn is the discipline of writing every day, but there has been so much more good that's coming out of it for me.

That is just pure bonus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Time And A Place For Everything

Yesterday I was talking about being in a hairstyle rut. I decided I'd try something different today and I wore milkmaid braids.

While teens and young women can get away with wearing messy milkmaid braids just about anywhere, it's not a style I'd feel comfortable with for every day outings.

For me, it's something that I could wear around the house or to go for a walk, or perhaps during a day at the beach.

It's an easy style to put together.  I just made double braids and pinned them up with regular bobby pins.  At my length a few stray ends are inevitable, but I prefer milkmaid braids to look sort of thrown together. If they're too perfect, it looks a bit contrived.

In any case, it was fun to change it up a little. It did break the rut.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Need Hairstyle Inspiration

I'm in a rut.  I think it's because my hair is just at that length where it's growing out of many of the shorter styles that I love, but it's still about two or three inches too short to do some of the many updos that I've been waiting so long to do again.

Also, my hair is thicker than it ever was previously at this length.  I attribute that to better hair care leading to less breakage.  That's a great thing. I dreamed of having thicker hair and actually having it means that my hair care is really paying off.

However, thicker hair means needing more length to do many updos that I used to be able to do at this length. I can't yet do a Celtic Knot, except in a half-up.  The same goes with the Infinity Bun and one of my favourites, the Rose Bun.  There are many others too numerous to mention.

I was looking at my website longingly today, seeing the styles that I have done before, but can't yet do again.

Really, there are many alternative hairstyles that I can do at this length, but nothing is really grabbing me.  So I end up in the same old French Twist or Cinnamon Bun most of the time.

Does everyone hit a length when they get bored with their hair? I hope it's not just me, and I really hope that it passes very soon.

Maybe I'll run across a new hairstyle to try and become inspired again. I really hope so, and soon, because feeling as though I'm in a rut is not helping my patience level at this point.  And as I've mentioned many times before, even yesterday, patience needs to be my best friend in this long hair journey.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another Exercise In Patience

It seems as though if nothing else, this long hair journey is going to teach me patience.

Shortly before I began this blog, I thickened and widened my bangs, because I wanted a bolder look, and I wanted my cheekbones to show more.

However, I've come to think that maybe I cut back too deeply, so I'm growing out part of my bangs, so they won't be as deep from my hairline or as wide.

Eventually, the grow-out will become face-framing layers, but right now, the sides just look neither here nor there and they are starting to look a bit awkward. The tips of the grow-out are just now touching my cheekbones.  It will be months now before they are down to the edge of my face, or to the length of my chin.

I did give it a lot of thought before increasing the size of my bangs--more time than the 2-week rule that I've mentioned before, and I did like them, but I realized that too much of my hair was being used for bangs.

So on top of having the patience to trim regularly, which will delay my overall long hair journey, now I have these face-framing layers to grow out.

I am not at a point of frustration with it as yet, but as the length of my side bangs becomes increasingly awkward-looking, I am quite sure that I will need all the patience I can muster to keep growing them out.

Time and patience. That's what we who are growing our hair need. Time and lots and lots of patience.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hair Care and Moon Phases

Since I was a teen, I remember reading in The Farmer's Almanac about "Best Days".  They are influenced by the phases of the moon.  Farmers have been following the "Best Days" guide for planting, pruning, harvesting etc, but they also have best days for many other activities, including cutting hair to encourage growth or to discourage growth.  It's easier than ever now to look up the best days since The Almanac has a great website.

Morrocco Method has taken it a step further and has best days to trim for thickness, length, to touch up your roots or to all-over beautify.

I find all of this fascinating, and people all over the world plan many tasks based on moon phases.

While there is really no science to this, I do tend to look up the best days for trimming when I do my regular trims.  Does it work?  I don't know. But it can't hurt, especially since I trim anyway. Who am I to argue with centuries of folk wisdom? Call me crazy, but I don't care.

Here is the link to's best days.  Here is the link to Morrocco Method's Lunar Chart and Hair Care. Even if you don't believe in the idea, it is fun to think about.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How to make a 5 Strand Braid

5-strand braids always get noticed.  Whether I'm wearing a French 5-strand or a simple 5-strand half-up, I always get at least one positive comment.  For me, learning how to do a 5 strand braid seemed as unattainable as finding the Holy Grail.  Yet, with dedication and practice, I did manage to learn it.  It took me at least a week.

As with the 4-strand box braid, I learned it originally in a half-up.  Once I had successfully done it in a halfup, I was able to make a French 5-strand braided half-up and finally, a full French 5-strand braid.

Here are some rudimentary instructions that will teach you how to make a 5 strand braid.  I read many various confusing instructions, and I was never able to really learn it from photos or video. It was when I finally figured out the pattern that I was able to start practicing my braid.  I'll give 2 sets of instructions.  One of them may be easier for you to grasp.

1. Separate hair into 5 strands as equal in size as possible.
2. From left to right, name the strands as follows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
3. Cross strand 1 under strand 2 and over strand 3.
4. Cross strand 5 under strand 4 and over strand what is now strand 3 or the middle strand.
5. Rename strands from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6. Repeat steps 3., 4, and 5, until braid is finished.
7. Tie off braid ends.

Here are the same instructions, but with different wording.

1. Separate hair into 5 strands as equal in size as possible.
2. Take far left strand, cross it under the next strand and over the next.
3. Take the far right strand, cross it under the strand beside it and over the next.
4. Take the new far left strand, cross it under the strand beside it and over the next.
5. Take the new far right strand, cross it under the strand beside it and over the next.
6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until braid is finished.  Tie off ends.

Here is a closeup of what the braid will look like.

Here are some tips.

If you practice the braid and don't get it right after 3 or 4 tries, stop before you get frustrated and try the next day.

Keep trying every day.  Eventually your fingers will learn the technique, and muscle memory will kick in.

Don't give up.  Learning any new braid takes patience.

Remember that it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect.  The only time you need to expect a perfect braid is if you have a professional braider braid your hair.  Imperfections actually make some braids look prettier and softer.

I hope you give this a try. If you do, let me know.

Talk to you tomorrow, my friends! 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coconut Milk Soak

Now that the weather is getting humid, even I, with my usually flat hair find that my hair poufs out a bit, and my new growth surrounds my head like a halo.

For me, this is the perfect time for a coconut milk soak. There are few deep treatments any easier than this one, but it does do a lot for my hair. It’s moisturizing, oil replenishing, and leaves me with very smooth and shiny hair.

This is a treatment that I learned from Stephanie, at The Long Hair Community.

I buy regular full-fat coconut milk from the grocery store. Some people use half-fat, but my hair can take full-fat at this point, especially as I still have chemical damage on the ends. Full-fat really gives the most benefit.

I don’t like getting too much on my scalp. I like to focus on the length of my hair. I would suggest that for people with a dry scalp, you may want to use a full head treatment.

After opening the can of coconut milk, I find that the fat has separated from the milk, so I pour it all in a bowl and whisk it all together.  Then I put the bowl in a sink and dip the length of my hair in the coconut milk.  I gently work the coconut milk into my hair until it is saturated. 

Usually at that point, I gently bun my hair and cover it with a plastic bag, and then cover that with an old towel.

I like to leave it on for an hour or so.  It can be a bit drippy, so I like to have another old towel to put over my shoulders, just in case.

If I am in the mood for a long bath, I will pour any remaining coconut milk in the bath, which makes a very nice moisturizing body soak and naturally, the dripping doesn’t matter.

After I’ve had my hour’s soak, I wash my hair with my usual conditioner only method. Of course if you are a shampoo and conditioner person, by all means, shampoo your hair first. Make sure to use a lot of conditioner though, because conditioner removes the excess oil better than shampoo does.

It’s one of those treatments that is especially good during the change of seasons, when in winter the heat goes on in your home or at work, or in summer when the air conditioning is starting up everywhere, but it’s hot and humid or even hot and dry outdoors.  It always seems for me at least that there is an adjustment period for my hair during these times.

This treatment is so simple, but it really is a treat for the hair. If you give it a try, let me know how you like it.

Love to all!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Off Topic Tuesday: A Little Bit on Getting Older

Well, one of the missing hair accessories turned up, hurray!  However, it was the most easily replaceable of the lot of missing hairtoys.  It is really the two pairs of Mei Fa Hairstyx that was getting to me, but finding the hair fork gave me renewed hope that the hair sticks will eventually be found.  It may take months or years, but one of these days they’ll turn up.

I still wonder what it is that makes things like that drive me so crazy at times.  Other times, I would shrug it off.  This time, I was like a madwoman.  Thankfully, I’ve gotten over the obsession and I’m just going to forget about the missing objects and concentrate on the things I do have in my life.

I suspect that sometimes those obsessive moments have something to do with the fact that I’m past perimenopause and I’m now pre-menopausal. There’s no question in my mind that the changes in hormones have a great deal to do with moods and emotions.

As I approach my fifties, I think often about who I wanted to be at this age.  I had hoped that by the time I hit my late forties, that I would be more mellow, and take things in stride a  bit more.

While it’s true that some things are of little importance to me anymore, I still do sweat the small stuff at times, and I really want to learn to let those things go, so that I can concentrate on what’s really important.

There really are a lot of things I like about being older.  I no longer feel compelled to follow the latest trends in clothing, hair or makeup. I wear what I like, and I’m good with that. 

I notice that I am far more understanding of what I perceive as people’s failings than I was as a young woman. I’ve grown to realize that when I meet a stranger who is in a bad mood, there may well be a very good reason why that person is unhappy.  It’s finally sunk in to me that everyone carries burdens, and naturally, sometimes it affects their behaviour.  It doesn’t make them a nasty person; it could be someone who has just had some really bad news, or perhaps someone mourning a loved one.

I guess I’ve learned to give people the benefit of the doubt more.

What I do not so much enjoy about getting older is starting to notice some changes in my body such as my face beginning to sag. I was just talking to a friend about this today.

Once in a while I catch a glimpse of myself with a neutral expression.  Sometimes it will be an accidental photo taken when I forget to set the timer. It’s been quite a shock to see that what used to be a blank expression now looks like an angry expression, as my mouth turns down at the corners a bit now.  Gravity, I guess.

I see the beginnings of jowls, and I don’t care for that much either.  However, smiling takes care of all of that, so there’s a good reason to smile more.

I do notice that I’ve had to change my makeup application a great deal in the past few years. It’s really interesting how makeup that looked good at 38 just looks wrong at 48. Yet it’s not too hard to adapt. I just had to use common sense and reassess my cosmetic application.

All in all, it seems as though the things that I find somewhat unpleasant about ageing are merely the superficial things.

I hope that with more age, I continue to gain some wisdom.  There really does have to be an upside to this aging thing.  Wisdom, I’ll happily take.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Video Hairstyle How-To: French Twist

Today I'm posting my first hairstyle tutorial video.  I decided to do a French Twist, because my hair has just about grown out of it, so it was now or never.

As you'll see, it's a very quick and easy updo, and it is suitable for hair that is shoulder length hair to about where my length is now.  There is a different technique that I use when my hair is longer.
The French Twist is an excellent protective updo, and is a good everyday style, or it can be dressed up for evening. In this video I'm using a France Luxe French Twist Comb in black.

I hope that I can improve my video technique in the future, but I think this was okay for a first effort.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Mystery of the Missing Hair Accessories

Over the past four years, I have amassed a fair sized collection of hair jewelry and hair accessories.

From time to time they tend to wander.  I do have a special spot for each and every hair stick, barrette, hair clip and hair fork, but from time to time I get lazy when I undo my hair and I put my hair accessories in a “safe place”.  Apparently the place is so safe that even I can’t find it.

I am in that world of lost hair accessories today.  I was looking for a lovely pair of Mei Fa hairstyx that I really wanted to wear, and they are not with my hair stick collection.  What’s worse, is that the other pair that I got at the same time is missing as well.  Clearly, I put them somewhere for safe keeping, and I played a joke on myself and forgot where that somewhere is. 

I decided to look through my collections, and I realize that I am also missing a much loved barrette and hair fork.

The Mei Fas are irreplaceable, as they are no longer to be found in that size and style.  Aside from that, I can’t afford to replace them.

The barrette and fork are replaceable, but again, I am not shelling out good money for something that I am quite sure is somewhere in this house.  But where?

I looked in all of the likely places and even some very unlikely places.  All to no avail.

Now, I have to admit that I do have many other lovely hair sticks, barrettes and forks, but these missing items are eating away at me.  What’s worse is that I now realize that they must have been missing for quite a long time before I noticed that they aren’t where I thought they were. 

This makes it even more problematic, because who knows what I may have surrounded them with after putting them somewhere for safe keeping.  I may have a year’s worth of items camouflaging them more than they already were.

So okay.  Lesson learned.  No matter how tired I am at night, or no matter how much of a hurry I may be in, I must remember to put any and all hair accessories in one place and one place only, if I can’t put them in their proper home.

I don’t know why I’m so upset about this today, but it’s driving me mad.  I think hormones may be at play here, but it really doesn’t matter.  I don’t need this aggravation that I clearly caused myself.

Well, I’m going to do some activities to distract myself from this obsession I’ve had today about these missing items.  And I have to remember that one day, when I least expect it, they’ll turn up.

Tomorrow I hope to have a new tutorial for you.  It’s an easy but elegant protective style.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I don’t want to have to come here tomorrow as I did on Friday and say that I can’t make a style work yet again.

Now, I’m just going to breathe deeply, relax and perhaps another movie is in order.  It really did the trick the other day.

Love to all!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thought For The Day: Audrey Hepburn’s Words

I adored Audrey Hepburn. I loved her in every movie she was in, and even in her final years, I thought she was the epitome of grace, beauty and womanhood.  In a pixie cut or in the long hair of the later 60s, she was always stunning.

I still remember as a child, seeing Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time.  Whether she was wearing pigtails, or a glamourous updo, I remember being fascinated by her hair in that film.  I was thinking about her today, and I remembered reading this quote several years ago.

I read it again today, and I want to share it with you.  Really think about the words, and I hope it strikes a chord with you, as it does with me.

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness;
and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

I’ll let you ponder this, as I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Today Is a Bad Hair Day

All I really wanted to do today for my blog was a style tutorial.  However, my hair is not in the mood to cooperate.

My hair is just too slippery today.  I tried a French Twist, and it slumped.  I tried a Figure 8 and it fell out.  I did a 5 Strand Braid Half-up, and it just drooped.

I won’t say I’m not frustrated, because I really am.  Yet as I wrote in this post, we all have bad hair days from time to time. 

Why is my hair so slippery today?  I washed the same way, with the same conditioner that I always do, and I thought that I had rinsed it as long as usual, but for a reason that eludes me, my hair just doesn’t feel the way it usually does.  That’s just the way it is today.

So, I’ve settled for just wearing a messy Wrapped Hairstick bun, which is one of my bad hair day go-to styles.  One really can’t go too far wrong with this one.

It’s meant to look messy.  One day this month, I’ll give instructions on how to do the Wrapped Hair Stick Bun, but for now, I’ve had enough of attempting to style my hair. 

I’m pretty sure that if I tried to document this hairstyle step-by-step today, I would get more frustrated than I already am.  I’m not about to do that. 

I think I’m going to forget about anything to do with hair for the rest of the day, and just watch a movie.  Yes, that is just what I’ll do.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Feeling Good About Reassessing My Goals

I woke up this morning, had a shower and washed my hair.  I was very pleased with how my hair looked when it was dry.  The trim really helped.

As I’ve discussed before, the chemical damage on the bottom few inches of my hair is driving me crazy.  The hair is still shiny, due to the good care that I give it, and the damage isn’t always obvious in photos, but I can feel it. 

Anyone who has damaged areas in their hair knows just how different that damage feels than the rest of the hair, especially when wet.

In days gone by, I would not have had the patience to even keep my hair as long as it is.  I would have cut out all the damage even if it meant a pixie cut.

However, I am slowly learning a bit of patience.  It is taking a bit of trial and error though, to figure out just how much to regularly trim. 

I had really thought that cutting 1/3 of my growth every three months would be a good enough compromise, but I really watched my hair over the past two months, and I realized that the damage catches up to my ends more quickly  than that trimming regimen allows.

So now, as I mentioned yesterday, I will be trimming off half of my growth until the damage is gone.  It’s going to be quite easy for me to both see and feel where that damage ends.

It’s made me have to readjust my timeline, and it’s going to be much longer to get to my next goal, which is BSL.  I was already getting impatient to get there, but I really have to remember that this is a journey, not a race.

I charted my projected growth and trims with my new trimming plan, and I should still be able to get to BSL by the end of the year.

I will be able to reach waist length and longer by the end of next year for sure.

While it’s disappointing to still pay for damage that I did to my hair over two years ago, it’s been a learning experience, and I know that however long it takes, I will reach my goal.  It’s just going to take longer than I’d hoped.

I’m not going to try to kid you or myself; it’s not going to be easy to be as patient as I need to be, but it’s a choice between long, nice-looking hair in the long term or long raggedy looking hair in the short term.

To me, it’s not contest.  I’m always about quality over quantity.  I just need to keep my eye on the goal and exercise more patience than I had originally thought.

I’ll tell you a secret though.  If it wasn’t for this blog, I would have been sorely tempted to get rid of all of the damage, which would have taken me just around shoulder length.  I know I would have regretted that, so again, I’m so grateful to be accountable to you who read this.

‘Til tomorrow, my friends.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It was time to trim my hair today. I’ve mentioned before that I planned to trim one third of my growth every three months.  This is to remove the old damage, of which several inches are left, and also to keep my ends from looking raggedy.

However, when it came time to trim, I realized before I even took that first snip that I was going to have to trim off more than just a third of my growth.

My hair had been cut in a very sharp v-shape, and I want to start leveling it out a bit.  If I just cut off 3/4 of an inch, almost none of the length would have been trimmed.  There was such a tiny bit of hair at the point of the vee, that it was almost pointless to trim it and expect that my ends would look less jagged.

So I thought about it for a long time and ended up doubling the amount that I trimmed.  So in essence I cut off about half of my growth of the past three months. I really didn’t want to lose the length, but on the other hand, my ends looked terrible.  I would rather have hair an inch shorter than planned than have longer hair with ends I despise.

A really important part of growing my hair is doing my best to make sure that it remains as healthy looking as possible.

If it takes me double the time to achieve my goals, so be it.  This is really where patience is going to be needed.  The sooner I get the rest of the damage cut out, while still managing to keep growing, even a bit, the better.

So, I’m not exactly ecstatic with losing more length than I hoped, but it did beat the alternative of having ends that I was unhappy with.  That past damage is really coming back to haunt me more than I thought it would.

I must admit that I do hope that this is a good growth month.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: June

June is here! I love the month of June. However for me, it was ushered in both pleasantly and unpleasantly. 

I had been unwell for several days, but I thought I was on the mend. I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night, and I was shocked to wake up before 2 a.m. I was cold and shivery, and it immediately hit me; I have a fever. D’oh!  I needed to use the bathroom and take some Tylenol for the fever, but I was so chilled and chattery that I just couldn’t get up the nerve to get out from under the covers.  So there I lay for an hour and a half, until finally, I got up the gumption to get out of bed and put on some warmer clothes. I took my temperature.  101.9. I was not happy, to say the least. I took Tylenol and an anti-nauseant, as I felt that I was extremely nauseous, and I used the bathroom.

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, but when I turned on the TV, I quickly realized that I did need to go back to bed, where I fell asleep for almost another two hours.

So it’s been another wasted day around here, with my fever going up and down according to my Tylenol level, and I feel very nauseous and ill.  I seem to be in that altered state that comes with fever and I don’t feel entirely lucid. Not an auspicious start to the month.

However I may be feeling though, June is certainly here in all of its splendour.  It thunderstormed in the night, but today has been beautiful, sunny and warm.  Although I’ve been too unwell to really get outside and enjoy it, it’s so lovely to see the June sun shining on the lush green leaves of the trees as they sway in the light breeze we have today.

Days like this take me back to childhood, and the promise of summer holidays just a few weeks away. Even now, all these years later, I still feel that elation that June brings with it. I imagine I’ll feel that way all of my life.

Today I’ll leave you with a recent photo of my dog Barclay. It’s a favourite photo of mine.  We’ve always suspected that something was up with him, but finally Barclay we caught in the act of being a secret agent, using his shoe-phone to report on the cat.  We blew his cover.

Thank you again to everyone who reads my words, and please know how much I appreciate it.