Wavy Nation Citizen Interview #1!

Hello, Nation! From time to time I will ask wavies to tell us a bit about embracing the wave, their tips, and assundry wisdom from their experiences.

THollyNeedsavacationoday we have a Wavy Nation Citizen Holly Needsavacation with us to share her wavy journey and a fantastic video on refreshing hair.

Holly has had an amazing journey with hair that was brutally damaged by a keratin treatment. You’d never know it now. Her adherence to the Curly Girl methods has grown out her tresses to some amazing waves. See Holly’s interview after the video. You won’t want to miss it!

WN: How long have you been “embracing wave”?

About 3 years now

WN: Tell us a little about what have been the most successful changes for you.

HN: Not flat ironing or blowdrying with a brush really helped my hair heal.

Using a diffuser and scrunching in my products helped what wave I do have stay longer.

An understanding of what the ingredients in my products DO for my hair has helped me understand what can be improved and work better or what to avoid.

WN: Do you find you need to change your “product wardrobe” through out the year?

HN: I don’t know if it’s a seasonal thing, or I just am a true product junkie. I like my hair most days but I cannot resist when I see a new product or there’s a stellar recommendation on a certain product, I immediately need to try that product then too!

WN: What are some of your “HG” products?

HN: Allissa Ponders FSG!!!! (WN note: That would be Sweet Curls Elixir products on Etsy!)  Sealing with jojoba oil, Herbal Essences Set me up Gel, Salon Grafix volume hair spray.

WN: What do you think are the most successful techniques to use for your hair?

HN: Squish to condish (WN: This is a technique from Melissa Stites  “There Once was a Curl” blog, entry Squish to Condish ) really moisturizes my hair, oil sealing to prevent frizz, clipping for volume.

WN: What is the most surprising thing you have learned about your hair since embracing the wave?

HN: My hair is as moody as I am. It looks THE BEST and biggest right after a good hard run- but the rest of me then needs a shower!

WN: For anyone new, what tip would you most like to share?

HN: It is hard when you want gorgeous voluminous waves and you are new and unsure what to do. It can be overwhelming, but I assure you, make it your hobby, have a creative mind and budget and explore the hair world and what works for you!

WN: Is there anything else you’d like to share with The Wavy Nation?

HN: Your hair is as unique as you, no one product or routine will work for all of us- and don’t dare to do different!

 

thank you

Thank you, Holly for sharing with us your tips and doing that fantastic video! Let’s give Holly a hand, everybody!!

Frizzitudes

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Nation, we need to have a talk about frizzitude. Frizzitude is the overamplification of one’s own frizz. Over and over I have people say to me “OMG I’m just a huge FRIZZBALL!” and I peer at their head and see a little halo frizz. I see something that says “my hair is naturally curly/wavy”. It says, “I have real hair”. It’s almost never something that I would even notice if they didn’t say “OMG! OMG! FRIZZ! Look at the frizz!”

I believe that the root is in the commercially presented perfect and shiny model hair that has been ironed flat, siliconed to perdition and then curled again. Fake curls. Fake waves. Presented as “You TOO can have this hair if you buy X”.

Everyone needs to learn to discern a real frizztastrophe from some halo frizz. Can you aim for even less halo frizz? Sure. Trying to tame your frizz is laudable. But, I think it is equally important to come to terms with not looking ONLY at any frizz you happen to be experiencing.

Because this only leads to thinking that this:

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Looks like this:

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Just stop it.

I will freely admit, I don’t have the kind of frizz a tighter wave or curl is prone to. I’m of the ilk of the pokey frizzer.

photoBaby, kinky hairs poking straight out into the universe. But that said, I am surrounded by women who say “The frizz, look!” and I just see some very light curls over the surface of their hair which to me are reminiscent of a lovely croquembouche. I wouldn’t even really notice if they didn’t point it out. I’m just focused on the lovely curls inside.

So, thank you magazines and tv shows, for warping our image of curly wavy hair to about as realistic of a view of frizz as I have of good skin. Or normal thighs. Re-organizing our way of imaging our hair in our mind is hard and takes the eradication of something that took a lot of work, straightening and re-wavying to look perfectly natural from our good hair day goal.

If you have any tips that work for you to tame frizz, please share, because I’ll admit, I don’t have answers. But also remember, most likely you are the only one noticing your frizztastrophe. If anyone does point it out, just smile and change the subject. After all, it’s really none of their business.

 

 

De-mystifying the Diffuser

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Nation, I see many posts on Naturally Curly asking about diffusing. I remember being totally intimidated by what looks like a torture tool from some 50s hair salon. Since then I have come to view it as a wavy’s SO. Many of us simply can’t live without one. This is a Wavy Nation Public Service Announcement!

Diffusing is a Wavy god send. Besides allowing you to leave the house in the dead of winter without freezing our head off, it can cut drying time by huge chunks and, for 2as like me, you just can’t get much boing without one. That’s OK for some looks but when you want the most of your wave, it’s a time battle between water weight dragging out your waves and getting that gel cast to set.

You see, products kind of act on a wavy like a “set”, only instead of a curler, the product holds the clumps together and reinforces the wave crest. If your pattern is strong enough (you have a LOT of boing in  your wave – usually shorter wave crests) that wave is going to hold to some extent without pulling out before the strands/clumps dry. You can air dry with equal ease if you wish. You may still get more boing for your buck (see what I did there?) with a diffuser, but that is just a perk.

I use two kinds of diffuser. I have both a bowl diffuser (modeled by my beautiful boy, Sage):

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and a Devafuser “Hand”.

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I think some may find that odd, but how many people do you know who have different kinds of curling irons? We use more than one product (usually). There is nothing wrong with more tools in your toolbox where diffusers are concerned either.

Like everything about hair, diffusing is going to take some experimentation. There are many videos on diffusing to be found on YouTube and they are great. I even made one!

Probably the single most effective technique some beautiful person invented is pixie diffusing. That is where, with your dryer off, you place a section of hair in the bowl (often while upside down or leaning side to side, depending on if you need some volume up top at the crown) and turn the diffuser on, letting the section sit in the bowl without moving the dryer for X amount of time (I like to do about 30 second chunks of time), then turning off the dryer and moving it to a new section. It sounds laborious but you will love it because it keeps your clumps from pulling apart and for the frizz prone, cuts down on frizztastrophes. Or even just frizz squalls.

How long you diffuse is entirely up to you. In general, try to go no longer than having your hair get to 80% dry or then even pixie diffusing will not save you from blowing your clumps apart. You want to air dry the last bit of the way before scrunching out any crunch also to be seen from here forward in this blog as “SOTC”.

Over time, I’ve gotten to the point where I can usually leave the house with my hair at 90% dry and I do not look like some Jean-Paul Gaultier statement. I can SOTC when I get to work. I can also (as I am doing as we speak) turn a fan on low, place it some feet away and let that help get a little more “diffuse” power to help the last bit dry (My thanks to the ladies on Wavy Hair Community for bringing this up some months ago!)

Plopping (piling your hair in a flour sack, t-shirt or micro fiber towel and tying it up) before you diffuse will also help a bit with dry time.

I have seen some folks use those flat diffusers with fingers but I can’t get that to work for all the tea in China. I think they are either more useful for certain effects for wavies or better suited to much curlier tresses.

There is a dryer out there that looks something like a lolly pop that I have seen but don’t know how effective it is. I really like the bowl effect for maximum wave. Some people use a sock diffuser when traveling or a folding diffuser. I love the Deva Hand for some finishing work and getting some extra volume at the root.

To recap:

1) Anyone can try diffusing

2) Pixie diffusing is the best technique to avoid frizz

3) Only diffuse to about 80% dry

4) For hair health, use low heat/low speed settings

5) Bowl diffusers will encourage more wave

6) Deva Hand diffusers can be useful for a different effect or finishing off

I would love to see your comments and tips in the comments! Until next time, keep riding the wave!

 

Inaugural Wavy Nation Post: The Hair Identity

 

Hello, Wavy Nation! This is the inaugural post for those of us who struggle (yes STRUGGLE, curlies) with that texture which is between straight and curly. I have been asked by other wavies to share my experience and insight in a wavy journey. I’m no expert, but I am one of the confused.

Nation, I am one of the many. Curly Hair Artistry and stylists suggest 65% of hair is wavy, curly or multi-textural.  Probably most people just whip out the straight iron and pray there is no humidity. Even among The Wavy, there are degrees and differences in properties that put us more in line with the True Curly or the Imposter. I count myself among the Imposter. I cannot treat my hair like the Pure Straight but neither am I the True Curly. I do not experience the curly frizz but rather the straight frizz. Untreated, my hair looks just puffy.

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High dewpoints are more likely to make my wave limp with straight babies sticking straight out with some wild kinky pattern that looks just bizarre.

Nation, I have seen the sad disappointment of the stylist who only wants to straighten my hair. Give me smooth shiny hair by burning the cuticle into submission. I have left the salon looking something between the beach babe and itinerant seaweed surgline babe until I can get home and style my own hair. I have pixied in hopes of looking like Juliette Binoche and permed in hopes of Hollywood princess coils. I understand.

Why do we do so much to achieve The Look we crave? Hair is probably more integral to our identity than any other feature of our person. Industry revenues across the spectrum prove this. From promising straight flowing tresses to perfect curly perfection, billions are made from us searching for The Look each particular person envisions. Hair is personal. Hair is VERY out there. It seems to project …. something to other people. Right or wrong, conscious or subconscious, we project a perception. Though perhaps more perceived about and by women, some of this applies to men too. From the derisive soubriquet of “long hair hippies”, to the much more historically traumatic struggles of the African American Natural Movement, to the ideas that sleek is responsible and curly projects some kind of frivolous nature, people seem to associate that the way our hair grows out of our head and how it is worn somehow reflects our whole person. As though it contains the answer to who we are instead of what just grows on our head. But it IS personal and is something probably most people struggle with in some way. I guess everyone has bought in to the myth that it Means Something. Does it? Or have we bought in so much that instead of embracing it how it is, most people think it should be Something Else.

For me, I wish I was a True Curly. Always have. Maybe it was because that was what was lauded by my Shirley Temple era mother. When that was not achievable, my hair was generally pulled so tightly back and hair sprayed into submission that my scalp screamed when I finally let it out at night. Next were home perms.

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Ooo. Yeah, home perms. Several hours of scary chemically experimentation that resulted in uneven results at best. Then came the salon perm. After a couple of bust fry outs, I learned to be emphatic enough to insist on the largest rollers and a 3 minute process time. Stylists resisted, insisting this would not produce the desired curl, but they always came away looking astonished when they checked at 3 minutes. Sometimes, that really came out ok.

But then, coloring became (I thought- more on that in another post) necessary and I knew that both coloring and perming was going to be a short trip to hair that looked like I had wandered the desert for 40 years. I gave up perming. Since I never sought the Pure Straight life, I fought with curling irons. But that way was fraught with total failure. Unless the highest heat was used and scary steam came off my hair, my wave was juuuuust enough to push out any imposed curl. I ended up looking “straggly” is the best way to describe it.

Enter, the pixie. IMG_6283

My friend for probably 15 years. Wash required daily. Products galore. Spray wax (which took days to remove), root lifter, still the curling iron so that at it’s shortest it did not just flip under to helmet head or, longer, look like I was standing in a stiff wind with ends flipping out in random directions.

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Then I stopped cutting. Time, lack of caring, basically just giving up, I didn’t get my hair cut. I got past the awkward stage and one day it occurred to me, maybe my hair isn’t a real problem. Maybe it’s just wavy. I decided to try the Curly Girl method which I’d seen mentioned on the internet as I looked for The Answer to my weird hair. Low and behold, I found better results than I got with any curling iron.

So. Weird.

It turns out that my Hair Identity was to try to help it do it’s own thing. It has required a lot of experimenting and a lot of acceptance but I’m getting there. And because some people think I have a way with explaining things and ruminating on things that might help other wavies, I opened The Wavy Nation and I welcome anyone who cares to read and comment and maybe we can all find The Look our hair wants us to achieve. I’m no professional, but if anything I have learned as I try to find out what my hair wants to be helps someone else, I’m glad to share.

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