Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Creative Process

V's got a NEW hairstyle again!  Today I thought I would talk a little about the creative process involved in deciding what styles I am going to do.  Like a little peek into my brain.  Are you scared?

Inspiration #1 - Free Hair

I have mentioned before that the mother in the Happy Girl Hair blog had been inspiring me to try more "free hair" styles on V.  Not only are these styles adorable, but I really like how she talks about wanting her daughters to get familiar and comfortable with their natural hair.  I have always been a bit afraid of "free hair" styles.  Once V's hair was long enough to be in braids and cornrows I started doing less and less puffs and afros.  The longer her hair got, the more difficult managing little puffs of free hair became, and I didn't dare let her go with a complete head of free hair!  Afros are easy to detangle when short, but the longer the hair is...well, you get the idea!

As it turns out, maybe I was just approaching "free hair" wrong.  I assumed that puffs or afros should be completely detangled every day, because every day that you don't detangle them, they get more and more and more tangled.  Thus leading to a huge headache when you finally go to wash and do a new style.  What I didn't realize was that I have gotten much more adept at working with V's curls as the years have gone by.  I know how to finger detangle, how to easily separate hairs that look hopelessly tangled.  And after watching some videos on Happy Girl Hair about how she cares for her girls afros it dawned on me that maybe it wasn't as difficult as I thought!  I might talk more about how to care for "free hair" in the future, but Happy Girl Hair has lots of great info too!

Free Hair = Awesome!

Inspiration #2 - Cute Simple Cornrow Pattern

I get my inspiration from many places; television, styles I see out and about, photos from the yahoo group, and more recently other blogs and youtube videos!  I have really enjoyed following the Princess Hair Style blog.  I think it is fun to take hairstyles she has done on her straight haired daughter and adjust them for use on my girls!  So my next bit of inspiration came from the Triple French Braids and Piggies style on her blog.  These three braids on top are an exact copy of the braids from that style - except mine are cornrows instead of french braids.
Cute, Simple, Fast!

I Changed it up a bit by adding 2 more braids.  I have one on either side, above the ears for a total of 5 cornrows.  

And of course I also added the three little bangs in the front.  Which I LOVE by the way!  In the last video tutorial I had of V with twisty bangs I got a lot of comments from people who didn't like them.  And I actually kind of agreed.  The bangs were designed a long time ago as a way for us to protect her fragile hair line (I will do a whole separate post about that in the future) but even though they serve a good purpose, I don't always like the way they look.  This time, instead of doing 6 or so bangs all the way across the front, we just did three off to the side, and I think they look super cute!

Inspiration #3 - Pigtail Puffs!

So the Princess Hairstyle did had these simple cornrows going into pigtails, in the past I probably would have twisted or braided up those pigtails instead of leaving them puffs.  But I stumbled upon another mom on youtube, who has 4 curly girls to style, that also likes to do free hair styles!  She has many videos but also a blog called Cherish My Daughter.  One of her Mocha Girls (as she calls them!) is around V's age.  She has a video where she talks about her daughter, Mocha Girl 3, being a little young for afros.  This is where I felt a bit of relief!  I really want to do free hair on V, but my girl is WILD!  She is rough and tumble and no matter how many times I ask, she doesn't usually give a thought to what her crazy playing is doing to her hair!  We also have 3 shedding pets in our house which adds to my stress level!  Anyway, Mocha Mom concedes that at this age, a few free puffs are a little easier to manage than an all out afro!  In one video where she shows how she styles all four of her girls in one day.  She puts Mocha Girl 3's hair into pigtail puffs.  Not only is this adorable, but fits perfectly with the style I was already adapting from Princess Hairstyles!  YEAH!

So that is an example of how my mind works.  I just roam around the internet and find bits and pieces of styles that I like and I mesh them together or put my on spin on them.  Most of the time this is very successful, but I have to say that this style was MORE than successful.  Look at the smile on that girls face!  She was SO excited about these big, beautiful puffs, and that makes my heart SO happy!

See her hands over her heart - that means she really loves it!
In case you need a little bit more instruction on how to do this style, I have a few more pics.

First:  Do an ear to ear part to separate the front of the head from the back.
Second:  Part off a small section at the forehead and put in three two-strand twisty bangs.

Third:  Put in the 5 cornrows on the top as previously discussed.  I did not braid these cornrows all the way to the ends of the hair like I normally would.  Instead, I put little rubber bands at the point where the cornrow finished
Fourth:  Part the back of the hair straight down the middle.
Fifth:  Combine the 3 cornrows from the right with half of the hair from the back and make a puff.  Take the 2 cornrows from the left and combine with the other half of the hair in back for second puff.  I used big soft terry cloth holders for this.

While styling her hair I was using my watered down TW spray for moisture and then adding a bit of my Coconut Oil/Shea Butter mixture to seal in the moisture.  When I was working on the puffs I made sure to get the butter worked into her ends very well.  I also used a bit of Tate's gel around the hairline and base of the braids to see if that would keep them looking tidy.

I think that these "free hair" styles max out at about a week.  I put this in yesterday (friday) and plan to put in a different style on Thursday before we leave town for the weekend.  For daily maintenance I will spray her whole head with our TW spray and then spray the puffs and kind of finger comb them and shape them a bit, but I won't worry about detangling.  If the area around her neck in the back starts looking rough I might spray it, add a bit more gel and comb the hair up toward the puff gently.  (looks like I need a boar bristle brush - another future post topic!)

Before I go....just one more pic of my happy girl!  Little E wanted in on the fun as always!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Gettin' Into It - G's Story, Chapter 2

So at the end of G's Story Chapter 1, G has been home a year or so...year and a half. I have done tons of puffs in every kind of arrangement, lots of box braids, twists, piggyback braids, and some veil styles. I never really did master cornrows. I could do them but they seemed to give my hand a cramp. I wish I had given it more of a  solid try! Here were my first actual cornrows. They were really not bad-looking, objectively speaking. 

I think the hard part for me with her hair was that it was still pretty short in the back.  Because I cornrow like Katie does, by gripping the hair with the pinky and ring fingers as I go, the short hair was hard to keep a hold of. If I could have cornrowed with my fingertips, like I see many people do, it might have been easier.

I also have always liked G with some height at the back of her head, which is why I love puffs or styles like what I did with the cornrows...leaving it free in the back. Same with this veil style, below. Of course leaving the hair free brings its own challenges too! You have to stay on top of detangling it. And at this age, the "roll around on the floor, play with the dog, get in the sandbox and weeds and twigs" age, free hair seemed difficult. As a single mom, I always seemed to be in a hurry, so having her sit through detangling and combing every day never seemed to work out. And I did not want to be one of those moms who wouldn't let her just be a rough and tumble kid all because of her hairstyle.

Looking back, I think what I lacked in actual hairstyle ability, I tried to make up for in beads, snaps, and yarn falls LOL. I loved trying out new products I bought to sell on Snapaholics on G first. I was lucky in that she was at an age and is of a personality that LOVED to have bright colors, lots of beads, the rainbow look, etc. Pretty much anything i wanted to try, she was game for.

So we continued in our blingy bliss until I started seriously thinking about locking her hair, in the spring of 2008. I loved the way long small locs looked, and I thought she'd love being able to have her hair long and swingy. I mean, how gorgeous is this?!?!

and this?

Almost unreal, isn't it??

The other big thing for me is that I liked the idea that you could tighten locs whenever you like; for an hour a night, skip some nights, do two hours, do a half hour, whatever. With unlocked hair, for me, once I committed to taking a style down, I had to put it back up in some kind of style right away. This was a big time commitment, and one other reason why I did so many puffs! 

The final, and most important, reason that I wanted locs for her is that I figured by the time she was maybe 10 or 12, she would have such long, lovely hair that she would NEVER want to chop them off, start over, and get a relaxer! So I guess I'm hoping it's a bit of "natural hair insurance."

I knew that starting locs with twists would not work for us, since she swam a LOT, and neither of us wanted her to wear a cap. So braidlocs it was, or, as I have come to call them, Mommylocs!!! New braidlocs will not unravel....once they are tightened with a latch hook, they will stay, as long as the ends are either secured or tightly twirled. 

Here we are in June...I had already started microbraiding.
I took my sweet time putting the microbraids in. I started at the nape of her neck and went up, then made some bangs. Whatever hair was not locked I just kept in two puffs. As we got closer to the 4th of July (loc-birthday!) the puffs got smaller and smaller.

I ended up putting snaps on most of the loc ends. I think I would have done them all but I ran out of the stars! I always loved hearing her coming a mile away. Tick, Tack, Clicky Clacky!! Although of course for our very first day of a full head of locs, we had to be holiday-appropriate...
As you can see I followed a straight grid pattern, begun with a regular down-the-middle part from forehead to nape. This is crucial if you plan to put in ponytails with the locs and need a straight middle part. For girls I highly recommend a grid pattern. For boys it's less important. 

For the ends, you just need to braid down as far as you can, then twirl twirl twirl the ends to make a spiral. You can also roll it between your fingers (I call it boogerrolling). Whatever will produce a nice spiral end. like this:

I wish I had taken the time to count all of them, but as of now I still never have! When I look at all the bangs she has in that picture from June, I cringe, because we have lost some bangs over time. Microbraids, especially with thinner hair, are VERY fragile. Kids can be rough (so can cats) and I feel like we have a whole different set of bangs than we started with! I am also amazed to see the growth the locs have had over 2 years. Her ponytails now must be 4 inches longer than that!

To end Chapter 2, I will say this about locs....remember that locs are not really LOCS until they've...locked! So if you are thinking about it, just remember that for a long while they will just be a set of box braids or microbraids (or twists) that you are free to take out anytime if you decide you don't want to loc. Different textures of hair will loc differently. Some may take a long time and some will loc faster. Even if they do start to loc up a little bit, it would not be a huge deal to remove them with the help of lots of conditioner and a rattail comb or any other sharp-tipped object. 

What do you Moms think of locs, do your kids have them? Do they like them? Please comment. Would you consider them, or no? Reasons? Love to hear from you all!

So stay tuned for Chapter 3....Life with Locs! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Gel or not to Gel???

In order to discuss my thoughts on using gel for my girls I have to back up and give you a little history on myself...

You may have heard me say before that I am a minimalist, that I don't like using a lot of products. I think this just comes from my childhood. My mom never used hair products on us as kids and I don't remember seeing her use a lot of hair products on herself. She also didn't wear a lot of makeup and to this day, I don't wear any!

As a teenager whenever I would get my hair cut the stylist would comment on how beautifully healthy my hair was. I never had split ends. I always attributed it to the fact that I rarely used hair products OR heat to style my hair. One time in high school I attempted to get a perm, this ended up going very badly and caused quite a bit of damage to my hair in the process! So in order to return to my super healthy hair status, I have continued to be a minimalist when it comes to heat and products for myself. I do use them, but not every day, and not in large amounts.

I also suffered from horrible acne as a teenager and no matter what kind of makeup I tried, it always made my skin break out 3x worse! I would love to have hid my zitty face behind a pretty makeup mask, but it just wasn't going to work. So I was forced to accept myself exactly the way God made me. I embraced my skin and tried to step out in confidence every day au-natural! Things haven't changed since then. I still suffer from acne breakouts with rare occurrences of a clear looking complexion, and I still don't wear makeup except for when going to a wedding or special occasion. Then I slap on a bit of mascara because it is the only makeup I own! There is actually a lot of freedom that comes from not having to worry about people seeing you "without my makeup on!"

So that is me. I am so used to this minimalist approach, it makes me cringe to goop anything on MY hair or skin. I find it just as difficult to goop stuff onto my kids! Being prone to having an oily scalp myself, it took me awhile to get used to the idea of SPRAYING OIL ON my girls hair! DAILY! But I have obviously come to understand that they have very different hair and skincare needs than I do, so I have adjusted. And yet, I still balk at the idea of owning and using 20 different kinds of products on them to keep their hair healthy. I like to try to keep things simple!

So let's talk about GEL. When I first started doing cornrows on my girls I was following all the recommendations from the mom's on the yahoo group. They suggested using gel for styling, so I used it. I really liked using Jamaican Mango and Lime (JML) Locking Gel because it felt light and non sticky and it smelled yummy. I was using other JML products at that time too. (Steph used to sell them at Snapaholics until they changed their ingredients and added a bunch of yucky stuff!) Eventually I got sick of using the JML gel because I felt like it caused a lot of gunky buildup around the base of her braids. Which led to a lot of difficult detangling and removal of product when we took her style out. Which did not seem healthy for her hair - especially around her delicate hair line.

So, I decided to see what would happen if I went without it. I found out that if I wasn't using gel I definitely need to be sure the hair was VERY wet when styling or it would look really messy - even right after I finished styling! It turned out, using just water, or water and coconut oil, seemed to be a good option. Her hair looked great when I was done styling it, and I didn't have to deal with the gunky buildup when I took the style out. And I remember thinking at the time, that the braids stayed looking nice just as long.

But somewhere along the line I started to notice a difference. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention before, maybe something changed, I don't know. But now when I style V's hair without gel her braids seem to get fuzzy very quickly. I like to leave her styles in for 3 to 4 weeks, and they have only been looking nice for a week or less! Not good!

So I have now tried the Taliah Waajid (TW) Lock It Up gel when cornrowing a few times and I have been very pleased with the results. I don't feel like I get as much yucky buildup with the TW gel and I get a lot more longevity with my styles. This is a good option and I will probably continue to use the TW gel in the future, but that isn't stopping me from doing a little more experimenting...
(This post is being edited to note that this TW gel is NOT an ALL NATURAL product. It contains Carbomer 940 and a few other things that may be questionable. I am still comfortable using this on my daughter, but if you want a 100% natural product, than this may not be the right choice for you.)

The last time I styled V's hair, in the Criss-Cross Cornrows with a twist, I tried something new. I had made a body butter out of Coconut oil and Shea Butter. It was my first time making anything like this and it was very simple and turned out well. But I didn't like using it on the girls skin because it takes FOREVER to soak in. I didn't want them to sit on or touch anything for an hour! I decided to see how it would do in V's hair. When I put in the "Blast from the Past" style I used the body butter and her hair looked SO healthy and shiny. When I took the style out two days later to put in the cornrows her hair felt super healthy and soft! So I used the body butter again when putting in the cornrows. Again, her hair looked super healthy when I finished the style, but unfortunately, about four days later it was a fuzzy mess! I think the body butter is great for styles that are going to be in a short time, and is really healthy for the hair, but it doesn't have the staying power that gel has.

So, I am looking forward to trying the Tate's gel on V this weekend when we put in a new style. I will keep you updated as to how I think it works!

Do you have a gel that you have used and love? Something with natural ingredients that still does a good job?


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday

Welcome to Tidbit Tuesday!  This is a new segment that you can expect to see almost every Tuesday. We will be sharing short posts on anything from quick hair tips, to silly random facts.  It will go something like this:

Did you Know????

That my name isn't really Katelynylyn?  What?  You had already guessed that?  Well, would you be surprised to know that it isn't even Katelyn?  Nope!  It's just Katie.

Katelynylyn was just a nickname that my best friend's boyfriend gave me in high school.  Truth be told, I think he only called me that once or twice, but he had made me a tape (yeah, like a cassette tape, I am older than you think) and he wrote Katelynylyn on it. It was around that time that I got my FIRST EVER Email address and I thought Katelynylyn was unique so I used it!  Then I continued to use it as my name for many online things after that.  (ya know, like my youtube channel)

If you have ever wondered how to pronounce it, I'll help you out with that.
It is KATE-lyn-E-lyn.

With a short name like Katie, people are always wanting to add to it.  I get called Katelyn and Kathrine and all sorts of things.  I don't mind.  But now you know the truth!

My Uncle took this pic of Me with Little E last weekend (now SHE calls me MOM!)

It was only a matter of time until G asked to get into the act! Here now is a word from G...this is her very own tip that she thought of to share! I'm sure there will be plenty more where this came from :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

How To do a Fish Tail Braid

After I posted the Loc Style video I had a few inquires on how to do the Fish Tail Braid.

Isn't that pretty?  Well guess what, it's also EASY!  Maybe the easiest braid you will ever try!  Here are a few more pics of B and little E sporting the Fish Tail:

You will have to be patient with me and Camera Guy as we try to find the best place in the house to film videos.  Wouldn't it be nice if we had a studio with perfect lighting!  But we don't, and unfortunately we don't get a lot of great natural light in our house either.  And with 4 kids and 3 animals in our house, we have a hard time keeping everyone quiet when we are filming!  But we are doing our best, so hopefully you can see and hear everything in this video.  (well some things we wish you couldn't hear!)


Saturday, July 24, 2010


OK, for our second big giveaway, the fabulous product Tate's at Truly Pure and Natural, the winners are....

kathy's korner
sarah in the woods


At your convenience, go ahead and email Denise at and she will hook you up with your prize!!! I am still using the Tate's products and I LOVE them. G's locs are squeaky clean and shiny, even after the "shaving cream extravaganza" at church camp this past week LOL

WOW! Denise just emailed us and had this to say! Looks like ALL Keep Me Curly readers are going to get the chance to save at Truly Pure and Natural!

We'd like to offer your readers 15% off of any Tate's product or 10% off of any other product on our website, through Monday, July 26th.  One coupon per customer.

Here are the codes that you need to put in the Promotional Box at Checkout:

kmc10Keep Me Curly 10% off anything on website

Keep Me Curly 15% off Tate's Hair and Body Care

Remember, these codes are good through Monday the 26th of July.

Awesome! Thank you everyone for participating, and when you try the Tate's products, or anything from Denise's website, please come back here and let us know how you like it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Styles of the Day

Yesterday, we had a big family party! I (Katie) currently have a large number of relatives in town and we have been spending a lot of time with them the past few weeks. Yesterday was a particularly fun day at a bounce house followed by dinner at my sisters. The evening weather was lovely and all of our wonderful children enjoyed playing together in the yard until they were completely pooped!

So the big question is... on such a special day, what did I do with my girls hair? Here are the pics!

I finally got around to taking V's twists out and doing a puff. BEAUTIFUL! I love this SO much, I don't understand why I don't do it more often!

You can see her cornrows are looking a little fuzzy already. I didn't use gel when I put them in, but my gel usage is a whole other blog post of it's own! To try and keep it looking as cleaned up as possible I go around her hair line and spray all the little loose hairs and then gather them into little bunches and gently twirl them together to make little curly Q's. This works alright.

I did something new with B's locs too. There is nothing "new" about this style, really. I am pretty sure I wore my hair like this once or twice as a kid. But I hadn't ever thought to do it on B! Like I have said, there are SO many more styles I have yet to try with B, because I just haven't thought to do them yet!

She is sporting some cute flower ballies I picked up at Target the other day. Sorry I forgot the brand name.

Lastly, we had some fun with little E! Steph sent us a fun little package a few weeks ago with some multi-colored pink BGP's (Big Giant Pony beads). We hadn't had a chance to use them yet, so this was exciting! I have been surprised in the past to find that it was much harder to put beads on little E's braids then on B or V's braids. I have had to make sure E's braids were itty, bitty to get the beads on. So I was glad that the BGP's had a bigger hole.

In order to keep them on the braids though, I got a bit creative. I decided to take two braids and band them together at the bottom to make sure that the beads wouldn't be able to slide over the hair thing. It worked!

Oh yeah! I also used the Tate's gel on her braids to keep the little flyaways at bay. I normally hesitate to put hair products on little E, because, well, I don't like hair products! LOL! But since I am so comfortable with the ingredients in the Tate's products I didn't even hesitate to use it yesterday and it worked GREAT!

Do you put extra effort into styling your daughters' hair when attending family gatherings? How does you family react to your fancy styles? We would love to hear from you about your experiences, so leave us a comment!


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