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This Should Change How You Think About Shampoo and Conditioner

Woman buying shampoo

There are some people who cannot bear to leave the house without squeaky-clean hair, which means they wash their locks daily.  On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find those who absolutely dread having to make the extra effort to wash (and dry) their hair, and perform the entire process grudgingly. Just where any one person happens to fall within this range, as it turns out, has a lot less to do with the general health of your hair than you might have previously believed.

How’s That (Shampoo and Conditioner) Workin’ for Ya?
Can you really tell if and how your go-to brands of shampoo and conditioner are working? The effectiveness in cleaning your hair and the level of protection it provides are often two distinctly opposing issues. Often, the superior performance of one even cancels out the other. You can’t always rely on the volume of hair that winds up in your hairbrush, either, as there are too many peripheral conditions that could factor into any brush hair tally.

How Shampoo and Conditioner Are Frequently Evaluated at the Store
A whole lot of women either mindlessly reach, grab and take their regular brand–usually the same brand, matched set, or, they are drawn first to the packaging–and often to the placement of the products. For instance, it is not uncommon for stores to segregate their high-end hair products away from the larger mass of mid-range products. Being located in the high-end section has very little to do with assuring quality and value. But next to the packaging, the wording used to describe shampoos and conditioners weigh in, pretty heavily. Most women are searching for products that will perform specific results and remedies. So, if the labeling says so, it does…right? Then, what comes next–and can even sway an almost done deal away from becoming a purchase–is the scent of both products. In shampoo and conditioner especially, scent is very critical. Just is. This is why you might find some of the product on either side of the bottle or around the rim. This is from shoppers removing the tops and giving the bottle a firm squeeze, in the interest of getting a whiff of the scent. More often than not, the squeeze is a bit too firm, resulting in product overflow, at which point the shopper replaces the cap, and returns the product to the shelf. And this is even when they decide to buy. They will characteristically next go for a virginal bottle. Regardless of any exact rating methods, most fall short of being anything more than a waste of time.

There is no One Best Product
It’s great to get reliable recommendations from friends who understand or share your same product performance requirements. Your stylist understands your hair and what type of products are needed to supplement its weaknesses and downplay any less wanted attributes. Scores of commercials for WEN seem to proliferate the Internet in an endless stream, and if you listen to their claims, they’ll convince you to feel awfully guilty every time you reach for that bottle of shampoo, for eternity. Now, WEN claims to be all natural, and emphasizes that the evidence is in the absence of suds-which would have you running from every other shampoo, if you were to buy into this. The original list of key ingredients for WEN has been modified, and any company queries now produce vague redirection, at best. Against claims made by manufacturers of this product, WEN contains petrochemicals, sulfates and some that even come with warnings regarding use. Feel better now? Good!

DIY Hair Products
For the die-hard DIYers, you can make your own shampoo at home. This clay shampoo is reportedly good for all hair types. It is definitely all natural and it won’t strip the hair. It won’t keep–(no preservatives, OK?)–so you can only mix up a week’s worth at a time, and you’ll be responsible for bottling/packaging. It’s so gentle, you don’t even have to follow up with conditioner. Ingredients and sources below.

Recipe, Directions and Sources:
In small glass bowl and nonmetal mixing utensils, combine well:

  • 1 heaping Tablespoon bentonite clay. (So natural you can even eat some non-commercial forms of it, but not this one. Sold at most organic retailers and sometimes at WalMart.)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar. ( Available at your choice of grocery stores.)
  • 1.5 Tablespoon raw honey. (Buy at organic and health food stores.)
  • 5 Tablespoons filtered water–can be diluted as needed, but do not decrease water. Filtered water: (Sold just about anywhere.)
  • Optional–as desired, you can add one or a blend of essential oils. Among those best known to promote hair health are thyme, cedarwood, lavender, lemon and rosemary. (Buy at organic and health food stores.)

Pour mixture onto dry hair (it can be rather runny,) with small amounts evenly distributed. Rub the mixture into the scalp as you proceed. Let sit for five minutes, but add more mix as needed to prevent it from drying on your head. Feel free to use as a face mask at the same time, but let the mask fully dry. Finish up by thoroughly rinsing in shower with warm water. Adjust proportions as needed, from results. Too dry? Reduce amount of clay.

The Basic Shopping “Need to Know”
Whatever products you go with, stay away from parabens and sulfates. There are some particular hair qualities that require special attention. The following are the most common:

  • If your hair is fine: Go for a good volumizing shampoo.
  • For curly hair: Shampooing with a product formulated for dry or chemically treated hair will help you tame those curls and make them easier to style.
  • When your hair is dry: Shampoos that claim to deliver more intensive moisture therapy and replenishment are the best bet. Look for naturally derived oils among the list of ingredients, as these are the most readily absorbed by your hair. Some top emollients are found in the oil from avocados, rapeseed oil and argan oil. The very best? Coconut oil..all the way.
  • For oily hair: Stick with shampoos designed to handle oily hair. Avoid label descriptives like “moisturizing” and “conditioning.”
  • When dandruff is an issue: Stick with products formulated expressly for dandruff. Ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide are important ingredients to look for.
  • Color treated and chemically processed hair: Look for products that are geared for extra protective performance for the specific processing in your hair.

You don’t have to wash your hair every day. Every other day, and sometimes every three days is sufficient. The shorter the hair, the more often it needs washing.


Easy Holiday Hairdos

Within the myriad of responsibilities and deadlines that multiply exponentially at this particular time of year, don’t you dare forget about you. In terms of all the most important seasonal specialties, you factor in there, and prominently. One of the best gifts you could ever possibly give to your family and friends–the people who care about you–is the gift of you. Now, while that certainly has some grounding in the special time that you purposely set aside to spend together having fun and celebrating the holidays, it won’t happen if you’re not up to it. One of the biggest mistakes people make–and during the holidays especially–is self-neglect. Contrarily, one of the nicest things people can do for others is to show up looking fantastic, and as well-rested and de-stressed as humanly possible. There is just something about the general condition of others and how it can affect our mood. When you are around friends and family who appear to have put some effort into their appearance, it makes you feel better. So what ideas do you have, in planning your holiday looks, and how realistic are they? Believe it or not, there is a whole lot of mileage you can get out of a few hairstyle changes that will make sure you rock every party, event, school and work function on your calendar this year.

Go Big or….?
Why not? It’s the holidays! Why not allow yourself the freedom of doing more than switching the direction of which you wrap your hair around the barrel of the curling wand. There are so many innovations that have been hitting the Internet and salons everywhere, to continually deliver new style and impressive beauty in a distinctive holiday measure that goes a little further than simply transitioning from a half-up to a ponytail with a red bow around it. Wanna know more? Here are a few of the nicest trending hairstyles for this holiday procession:

Bob hairstyle

Going Ornamental
This hairstyle is definitely for a dramatic entrance, but you can be sure that it will be copied. It begins with a bob–preferably jaw length on down to just below the shoulders, although with a high ponytail, it could rock some uber-long ends, as well. When you’re out shopping–and particularly at those big box arts and crafts stores–you are going to be looking for smallish, but statement-making items that could be or could double as holiday ornaments. Now, what a holiday ornament might be is all up to you. Whatever you end up buying, make sure they are no bigger than one inch in their largest diameter, and you’ll need a minimum of 8, with a maximum of around 15–some will depend on how thick your hair is. Take ‘em home, and prepare your ornaments by using a hot glue gun to attach each one to its own elastic hair band–you know, the smaller ones that are about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter? Once you’re done, just set them aside for the next occasion requiring a hairstyle.

  • Begin by evenly sectioning the hair in half, then sectioning the halves into halves and so forth, proceeding until you have reached the number of equal-in-size sections equaling the number of ornaments you have waiting.
  • Fully straighten your hair.
  • Here is where you can be creative: Using the elastic bands glued to the ornaments, proceed to gather each section of hair, securing with the ornamented elastic band. The gathering points can be at the same place, forming a visual horizontal line of ornaments, or they can be staggered. Suggested levels are midway down and one or two inches above the ends.
  • When your gathers are midway down, you can finish off with some beachy waves that begin at the ornament and proceed down to one inch from the ends.
  • If you use hairspray, be careful if you need to protect your hair ornaments.

Dip dye hair.

Dip Dye the Dark
This one is the least permanent when rendered to darker shades, so if you have light colored hair, and especially if it has been chemically processed, this may be a color you’ll be living with for a while, but this aspect is up to you. Dip-dying the ends of hair is a fun trend that can be accomplished from different dye solutions that include manic panic (permanent) to Kool Aid. Go full on with one color, all the way around, or alternate colors, all the way around. This is one to try out first, before the day of. Just sayin’. But it’s a lot of fun, and will share a lot of holiday spirit.

Woman braiding her hair

Winter Hair Inspiration

In the heat of summer months, the best relief always comes from the newest updos we can get inspired to try, and thanks to the rich tutorials on the Internet, there is no shortage of them. By the time winter comes around, with its chilly temps, longer locks that cover our heads and protect our necks from the icy winds are a great default style, however we put our hair into fancy updos almost as often during the cold days and nights of winter as we do in summer, although for different reasons. We seek the trendiest forms of fashionable styling more in an effort to dress “up,” There are a lot more updos seen during winter evenings, as a result. There are some new techniques that at first glance, threaten to go untried, even by the most proficient DIYers of hair, but every one of them just needs to be broken down into bite-size chunks, then practiced, then they’ll become a standard component of your hairstyling repertoire! Check these out, for some true winter hair inspiration:

Woman braiding her hair

The Awesome Knot Braid
This looks like an impossible feat for the home hair DIY novice, but it’s actually a lot easier than you think:

  • Section out a triangle of your hair at the hairline going back toward the crown, as if you were going to do a French or Dutch braid. Divide that section into two equal halves and tie the first step of a knot.
  • While securing your knot with one hand, by holding onto both ends in your right hand, with your left hand, pull some hair in from your left side to add to the strand.
  • Divide this newly added-to strand into two equal parts and tie the same knot as in the first step.
  • Now, hold the hair ends from the new knot and grab a section of your hair on the right side with your right hand and add that to the working knot braid. Halve, then knot, just as before.
  • Continue this adding and knotting process all the way down, either tying off at the nape of your neck or proceed all the way down to the ends of your hair and secure with a tiny elastic band.
  • Where you tie off your knotted braid, take a small section of hair and wrap around and around to hide the elastic, and secure with a hidden bobby pin.
  • This is the exact same principle of the French and Dutch braids, but really easier in many ways! And it looks amazing and difficult, at the same time! Don’t tell ‘em how easy it was for you, just smile and say “thanks!”

Go Big, With Real Looking Extensions
When you add extensions to your own natural hair the correct way, they add gorgeous volume that rocks any hair style, with added thickness and also the length, if that’s your goal. This is the ticket for opening the door to many hair hacks you previously felt were not within your range of possibilities. You just need to know how, and get yourself the right extensions, and it’ll be your little secret for glam hair you’ll have everyone wondering about. While the heat of summer may have you wanting to reduce the volume of hair you have to deal with, the colder winter months make extensions a great way to bulk up with volume from some extra hair extensions. The best spots to add in extensions are any places where you are placing a clip, headband, tie or elastic band. This is the way to conceal where the extensions begin. Once you have a few signature hairstyles that incorporate extensions, you can cut the ones you use for one hairstyle–so they’ll turn out the right length, and then you might have other extensions you leave longer for other styles. Make your own hairpiece headband with uniquely braided extensions that you can just slide or clip on and go! Ponytails, braids, knots and buns are all ideal for volumizing with extensions, and no one has to know!

Woman with curly hair during winter.

Get Set for Winter With Hot Curl Hacks
Adding new, fun ways to enjoy even more use from your heated styling tools is always a good thing, and you can never learn everything there is to know about using these devices for an infinite journey into new and fun hair shaping sessions. Here are a few hair hacks to try out this winter:

  • Ditch the clamp and wind hair onto the barrel from the roots outward.
  • Twist each section of hair before you wrap it around the heated wand.
  • Take your flat iron and run it down braided sections of hair for unique and quick waves.
  • Create any size waves or curls, but leave your ends (about 1-2 inches) straight–uncurled.
  • Something rarely thought of–but always a great idea: wear a glove.
  • For looser waves, gently pull on still-warm ends of each just heated section as you go.
  • Easy as pie, if you first pull all your hair into a high ponytail, you can heat-curl sections of the ponytail. Once cool, remove the elastic band and loosely run fingers throughout for gorgeous waves.

Curling wand hold formula to memorize: horizontal for tight curls, vertical for loose curls.

Woman getting her hair roots fixed in a salon.

Quick and Easy Route to Fix Your Roots

Woman getting her hair roots fixed in a salon.

Funny, isn’t it, how you seem to be able to go for a good little while after having your roots done, but then suddenly, you look into the mirror and can not believe your eyes! If you didn’t know better, you might be inclined to believe that your hair doesn’t grow gradually, in a sort of consistent process, the normal way that everyone else’s hair grows–no, you have hair that grows in spurts–with these erratic and sudden blasts of about a half to a full inch or so at a time. Now, if this rather crazy growth had any predictable sort of pattern to it, you could schedule touch up appointments to appropriately coincide, and avoid ever being forced out into the public with telltale roots again.

Heaven Forbid it Should Ever Happen to You
You try to keep ahead of the root-race, because you’ve seen women who haven’t. These women evoke highly opinionated thoughts of others who either pity them, imagining “Oh, she must not realize how bad those roots look,” or “Poor thing, she just doesn’t have the time to care for herself like she needs to,” or more inflamed thoughts like, “Why does she even bother coloring her hair, if she’s not going to keep up with those roots of hers?” Such conclusions can often backfire, as life has a way of feeding us back those words and thoughts of admonishment, and if–no, when you discover that more than too much of your high-contrasting roots are visible, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. “Day-ruining,” in terms of whatever actual period of time lapses between your root discovery and consequent application of a chemical solution to resolve the issue satisfactorily.

Factors to First Consider
The ease by which you might fix those roots will depend on the method of color fix you use, and the method you use will be influenced by whether you are going lighter for dark roots, or darker for light roots. The term “light roots” encompasses gray hair, as well as all the other lighter shades than your signature color choice. Think about how long you hope your quick fix will last, as there are different ways to get color help that will last for different time periods.

The Do Away With Gray Way
One of the chief reasons for women to color their hair is to cover the appearance of gray. Now, gray hair is associated with old age, but it really shouldn’t be, with so many people in their twenties first noticing a strand or two of the gray matter among their otherwise full of color locks. While there are many shades of gray that are absolutely lovely, there are just as many if not more that are unsightly. These do nothing to flatter anyone’s appearance, and the only humane thing to do is to cover them, and resolve to forever banish them to obscurity.

Home Fixes Between Salon Sessions
There are a few ways you can extend that time between professionally rendered color for new growth.  There are a number of products you can purchase at the drugstore–and these often go on sale, so be on the lookout. The best way to “get your feet wet” is to start out using a semi-permanent color. Match it closely to your colored hair, and if this means going lighter, then when using a semi-permanent product, choose one that is a shade or two lighter. The semi-permanent products don’t have the intensity of lightning power as one with bleach might. As for the products sold expressly as “root touch-up” formulations, these are basically a waste of money. There is really nothing different about them, and you get less product for more money. If you decide to go with a permanent color at home, you can get by with applying purposefully rendered streaks of color, particularly to soften the color edge at the demarcation line–that point where one color ends and the other color begins. In general, efforts to go lighter with roots are subject to more limitations. There are some new powder products that effectively lighten, but they can be pricey.

Going Darker
When you are treating lighter or gray roots, you have more options. Aside from the semi-permanent hair color kits at the drugstore, there are liquid toners you can apply every time you wash your hair, as a final rinse. There are forms of hair color that are designed to be sprayed on from aerosol cans. These wash out, like the toners. There are some easy to apply root touch-up products that look and perform exactly like mascara. Style hair first, then apply to any visible roots. A little secret of more than a few savvy women has been to use actual art markers on their roots. Because these markers come in so many distinctive colors, there is a nice range for matching any hair shade. Thankfully, there have been a few hair coloring products to catch on, and now offer the art marker type of coloring for roots–and it has been formulated to be safe and effective for such use–unlike regular art markers. When you are going darker temporarily, if you will be sleeping on your temporary color, protect your pillow, as the darker colors can rub off during sleep.

Fingerwave hairstyle

Hair Fashions of the 1930s

Fingerwave hairstyle

With the American nation buried deeply in a paralyzed economy of the Great Depression, a toll was taken on every aspect of life as it has been during the high times of the Roaring Twenties. There was nothing left unscathed, from the way everything had been done and even thought about. Hope was a scarcity when so many American families could not afford to buy anything, often missing much-needed meals and sufficient warmth from chilly winter temps. Thankfully, the end of the preceding decade had ushered in a new form of entertainment that surely sustained many a survivor of the Great Depression–and this new charm was the talking movie. Talking pictures were what they were commonly called, but these sound on movie films offered a wonderful escape to moviegoers from all walks of life. It is highly likely that the precise state of having so little prompted moviegoers to dive into these talking pictures with even more zeal. The leading ladies or heroines of screen fame became the representations of glamor and beauty. Wise directors knew that these new women of film and screen had to appear authentic–from attire and hair to the environment. Had these leading ladies been less believable or too fancy, they would have lost attendance and ultimately served to discourage moviegoers everywhere.

From the 20s to the 30s
Disappearing from female heads were those oh so adorable shingle bobs and fingerwaves of Flapper fixation, as hairdos made way for a less polished look, with far less “fuss.” Anyone in search of the prominent hairstyles of the 30s need look no further than to any of the leading screen stresses of the decade, who served as the iconic representation of styles that were certainly both achievable and functional at the same time. For many a 30s woman, staying blonde required a good measure of craftiness in using Clorox bleach, peroxide, Lux soap and ammonia to achieve the colorless color previously much easier for the public to come by. Softer curls were now brushed, and thus stood out further from the head and face, and the headbands that had previously been adorned by jewels, sequins and feathers were now replaced by more modest headwear in the form of hats with contained features and brims.

Typical Defining Elements of 1930s Hairstyle Features
Being blonde was big, along with fingerwaves that progressed downward in perfect uniform alignment–all to the right, then back to the left and again right, left and so forth, until the ends of the hair. The general range of hair length was always somewhere below the ear, with most cuts occurring somewhere along neck level, with a few memorable stars flaunting long, slick and straight hair that curled beautifully on the ends. Bangs and bang-less styles ran neck in neck, however, the side part was found in every styling effort now. Another standardized hairstyle component of the 1930s was the manner in which the hair would proceed from the part, flat and as straight as possible, until at some point it suddenly sprang to life in whatever manner of curls–waves or other deviations from straight–were the objective.

Hopi women

Elaborate Hairstyles of Hopi Women

Hopi women

The manner in which Native American women has remained the same, traditionally speaking, through time, with the most commonly displayed basic one or two braids comprising the standard, and with specific placement and ornamentation further serving to define a manner of details, such as marital status, age, social position and more. Often, the precise way in which the hair of both women and men of any tribe is styled will communicate to you about which tribe the individual belongs to. A bit rarer, the women of some tribes distinguished themselves by total signature hairstyles of their very own that were absolutely impossible to confuse as coming from any other originating tribe.

A Few Signature Women’s Tribally-Identified Styles
The Seminole women, for instance, wore one of the oddest forms of hairstyles with their hair wrapped around a flat, disc-shaped board worn on their heads. The Creek and Chickasaw women wore their long, black hair twisted into a variety of styles of buns and topknots. More ornate hairstyles were stiffened by applications of bear grease and clay, and sometimes adding in soot to make the hair appear blacker. The Native American men actually had a good deal more options for wearing their hair, with some even being fully or partially shaven clean.

The Hopi Distinction
Among the Native American tribes known for the more distinctive hairstyles worn by their women, you’ll find the Pueblo Hopis of Arizona, whose form of styling the hair of the tribe’s unmarried women once they became of the age to marry. These were referred to as Squash Blossom Whorls or Butterfly Whorls. The closest thing you could compare them to from today’s culture might be Mickey Mouse Ears. After they married, these women would proceed to regularly wear one single braid down the back. The effects for unmarried Hopi women could get pretty elaborate, with the young woman’s mother winding her daughter’s hair around and around a curved piece of wood. This would give the tightly wound hair a distinctive shape, in different finished sizes, depending on the young lady’s hair volume. After the winding was completed, the wood was removed. To the Hopi Indians, squash blossoms represent fertility, and they hold an annual Soyala winter solstice ceremony, wherein squash blossoms are used as the decorations.

The Hopi Squash Blossom as Inspiration in Broader, Modern American Culture
The elaborate Squash Blossom Whorls have become the source of inspiration behind well-known public imagery. The way Bjork’s hair is eloquently styled on the cover of Homogenic–her album finds its origin from Hopi creativity, and the iconic Princess Leia, whose trademark hairstyle was those two, rather space aged side buns that we can not forget, no matter how hard we may try. Unlike the myriad of ways in which we wear our hair today, the Hopi women, as well as the whole of the Native American Tribal Nation took hair and the exact manner of styling as it varied from tribe to tribe, very seriously, with nothing but meaning behind every element.


Hair in Native American Culture

Woman with bun hairstyle

Most people are familiar with the multitude of infomercials selling the product Wen, lauded by celebs everywhere as the only safe way to care for your hair. If you happen to be among the masses of people who, upon seeing the commercial, were compelled to purchase the product, with visions of more healthy, more beautiful and more full hair than ever before, you may or may not have been delighted with your purchase. This is because Wen is nothing like any form of conventional shampoo you’ve ever used. It may not, to many people, even feel like it’s capable of actually cleaning the hair, being devoid of those characteristic detergent styled performing aspects. No suds, no squeaky anything and perhaps no noticeable difference at the beginning. Users of Wen who choose to go on using the product mostly become fully enamored with it, and how it improves the condition off their hair over time.

Wen-less Hair Care, the Native American Way
While Wen is not the brainchild of Native America, it is, in many ways, representative of the way that Native Americans look at hair care, and what they look for, and expect–in terms of performance. There is no desire to see or feel a bunch of bubbly suds as they wash–and more than a few tribal methods of hair cleaning would not even qualify to be categorized as cleaning at all, under the prevalent U.S. standard definition today. Native American hair cleaning ranges from the unadulterated water-only method, on up to include an assortment of botanical extracts and all-natural components that have proven their hair beautification power, and passed along by tribal elders in educating their young Native fledglings.

Native American Hair Styles
Here again, there are none of the hair styling products used prevalently by so many. It’s only naturally occurring herbs and plants that become hair styling ingredients. There are concoctions using plant extracts, which are combined with grease rendered from animal hooves and such, that are lauded among Native Americans for their power to beautify hair. Store bought products pretty much begin and end with Vaseline–that’s right. They use it particularly when a hair styling effort is needed to stay put, as such is a requirement in tribal dancing. Native American hairstyles are more or less limited to one braid down the back, two braids–with one to either side of the head, hair buns and unbraided, straight and unadorned hair. Native Americans regard the hair as part of their spirituality, and because of this, frown on cutting of the hair, instead praising long hair that is not cut.

Not Your Thing?
You may not find anything here that you are particularly drawn to, but just remember this: Of all cultures, Native Americans experience hair anomalies like male pattern baldness and hair thinning significantly less than other cultures, and they have typically the thickest, healthiest hair around. Perhaps it’s time to think again.

Woman with braided hair

Top Native American Inspired Braids

Woman with braided hair

If you think that hair braiding was invented by the French or the Dutch, think again–hair braiding has been around for longer than anyone might imagine, and it’s some of the oldest cultures that braiding is rooted in. The weaving of hair, from a simple twisting of two or three strands to a highly complex configuration of intensely woven braids that come together to create larger braided styles, in addition to special effects that can be created with partially braided sections integrated with other distinctive effects are all a form of hair styling that has been in practice–in one form or another, for longer than anyone even knows. Today, modern women (and men) braid their hair mostly as a form of forward fashion, or to create an attractive way of securing their hair away from their face and neck, when they need it out of the way or when it’s a cooler summer coif.

Braids and Their Meaning in Past Times
Throughout history, in many of the world’s oldest cultures, the braiding of hair has been performed as a way to indicate many particular details about the person whose hair is braided, from class and wealth, to military status. Married or single, young or old, braids have historically borne more significance than a trending hairstyle to follow. Braiding for sheer beauty has always been practiced, too, even when braids might have also indicated to which tribe the wearer belonged or to signify the religion of someone. Native American men have often braided their hair in preparation for going into battle. There weren’t necessarily particular types of braiding that belonged to a specific tribe, however, the Hopi women were characterized by their typical hairstyle of wooden rolled squash blossom whorls.

Braiding Progression, Through the Years
For any young Native American from any tribe, the fine art of precise braiding has always been an essential requirement, especially with the way the hair was braided being significantly telling of status and more. This being said, in some tribes, braided hair indicated the medicine man, where only a person of his status was allowed to braid their hair. In a showy effort, young braves hoping to find a worthy mate would braid their hair, adding accents of feathers, beading and leather pieces. All Native American women learned the art of braiding early, as they were, in certain tribes, the only ones responsible for all braiding.

The Braids
More aptly named, hair braiding through the generations might have more aptly been referred to as “hair weaving,” as this best describes the process engaged in by Native Americans. There were two braided hairstyles worn by women in Native American tribes, with one the native Americans referred to as a scalplock, consisting of a three strand braid, beginning at the nape of the neck and running down the back. The other, possibly a more popular form of braiding, was done by first making a concise part in the center of the head, running from the forehead hairline and proceeding all the way down to the hairline at the nape of the neck. The hair from each side was gathered and divided into three strands of equal proportion, which were formed into a braid that began at or just below the ear. Variations would be in the length of the braid-work, with leather strips tying off the end of braiding. The braid might continue down with only an inch or so remaining, or it might end, leaving a nice stock of hair–say, 5-7 ends at the bottom, free and full.

The variations existed more in add-ons to the basic braids. pony beads and wampum beads might be added to the braid itself, but more often beads, bones, feathers and other items from plants lauded by the culture would be added. The items usually signified something, and came from spiritual or medicinal appreciation. Often, these special added decorations were incorporated by being affixed to the thin leather strips that were used to tie off the braid, typically at the end of the strip, to dangle freely. Alternately, the braids might be painted or dyed for certain effects. Men often wore their longer hair in a short topknot style. A significant message was sent in the exact wearing position of two finished side braids, with married women purposely keeping their two braids to the front, to lie against their chests, while unmarried women made sure that their two braids remained behind their shoulders, resting against their backs.

Classic hair tuck

How to Pull off a Hair Tuck

If “tuck” has you scratching your head, add to it, subcategories—which are surely being added to, even as this tutorial is being written. With the basic Tuck, all you need is a headband that wraps around the entire head, some patience, bobby pins and your hands. Once you get the basic Tuck down, you can then move on to discover the wonderful world of hair tucks that are out there, and perhaps even come up with a few of your own!

Classic hair tuck

The Basic Tuck and Roll

  1. Starting out–Step 1. To begin this really romantic do, you’ll need that headband mentioned above. The final product will get a good deal of its ambiance from the size and style of headband you choose. You might attach an antique broach to the front of a rather nondescript headband to provide an elegant style of days gone by, or find a really cool looking headband that requires no further attention to please you. Try purchasing some faux hair or an extension that matches or blends with your hair color (or two) long enough to wind around a plain looking headband. In this hairstyle procedure, rather than wearing it in the conventional manner, you will place the headband on top of your head, pulling it down over all your hair, kind of as if it were a hat.
  2. Step 2: Now, gather all the ends of your hair at the back, and gather them all together, and tuck them into the headband from its top side. Next, begin taking all the rest of the hair (belonging to the ends you initially tucked,) and proceed to roll all of this hair into the headband, along with the ends. You will want this rolled hair to be tight, and going around the headband as you move toward the front. Don’t worry about loose or shorter hair in the front, as you will have an opportunity to roll those strands in, as you work your way around closer to the front. This style improves with at least a few unrolled, loose sexy strands, as the intent is to achieve more of a tousled look.
  3. Step 3: There is no step 3. You’re done! At this point, however, once you’ve mastered the basics, get creative. Here is a fun variation for you to try:

Dutch hair tuck.

The Dutch Tuck
Flirty and romantic, this style of tuck is distinguished by a braided headband made from your natural hair, the rest of your hair is tucked in and rolled along, as detailed above. The braid can be two braids, each beginning from a middle part, a separate matching color, long extension, or one braid that begins from a deep part on one side of the hair. What is visible of the braid will indicate its proper placement, as the braid itself will form the headband. This tutorial will create a single braid for the tuck.

  1. Step 1: Section off an appropriate front section of your hair next to your forehead, at your hairline, that goes down to just in front of each ear. Twist this, and secure out of the way.
  2. Step 2: Begin your Dutch (aka French) braid with the hair directly next to the hair you sectioned off in step 1. Begin with the hair at one ear, and work your way around to the last of the rooted hair above the opposite ear, after which you will continue to braid the hair in the traditional process.
  3. Step 3: Cross this braid over the hair on the back section of the head, securing the end with bobby pins, right behind the opposite ear.
  4. Step 4: Proceed with the same tuck for the ends of unbraided hair as directed above in the basic tuck, pinning as you go.
  5. Step 5: Perform the rolling, tightly securing and pinning liberally to secure as you go.
  6. Step 6: Part the front section initially separated up front and about 3-5 inches from the part, begin rolling each side in the direction of the other hair, continuing to roll as you move back, and when you reach the larger roll, tuck these new ends into the roll to conceal, and secure with pins.
Woman getting her hair styled.

The Proper Way to Tease Your Hair

Woman getting her hair styled.

While the improper teasing of people has never subsided, probably since the very dawn of time, teasing hair is one of the most awesome ways to bring a whole game-changing array of gorgeous styles for your hair, yet it is often passed up, with many missed opportunities of hair glory, mostly due to how it tends to be perceived by the general public as difficult and time-consuming. There are a bunch of really cool hairstyles currently trending that require teasing, and there is no valid reason why you should be left out, simply because someone told you that teasing your hair is too difficult, or should only be done by a professional. French twist? –Check! Messy bun? –You got it! Bouffant? –Done! Beehive? –Bee-have, Baby! (–in Austin Powers’ style.)There is every reason for you to learn the tricks of proper teasing, and leave the naysayers in your dust–or your hairspray fumes–whichever is nearest.

Various Effects, but All Beautiful
Obviously there is a lot of room for “play,” in any teasing efforts, to achieve differing degrees desired of height. And as women age, their hair begins to lay flatter and flatter upon the head, and this is one of those “certain somethings” that silently contribute to an overall “older” appearance. Here, just a little teasing would make all the difference. Looking back in history, those spoiled and highly pampered Southern belles totally rocked the teased hair thing, with their “go big or go home” notoriously huge and done-up tresses, owing all to teasing proficiency of someone.

The Basic Teasing Tools
There are a bunch of tools you might be able to successfully use to tease your hair. Any old brush with any old bristle type, and any old comb will certainly suffice, however in this tutorial, we are aiming for “best” and “easy,” so get yourself a really good teasing comb. The tools are always the delineating force between semi-adequate and rockin’. Always.

The Basic How-to:
Think in terms of a four-step process that proceeds as follows:

  • Section: Your teasing efforts will focus on a section of hair beginning about an inch or two below the crown of your head. Take the hair in front of this section and gather, twist and clip it out of the way. The teasing section will extend about three inches wide, or 1 ½ in. to either side of the center. This 3 in. wide section to be teased will continue for about 3-5 in. on down, depending on the size of your head and the style you want.
  • Tease: OK, surely you kind of know the deal here–that back and forward–up and down kind of motion to each hair section, teasing no more than 1 in. downward of each 3 in. wide section at a time.
  • Spray: As you complete teasing of each section, give it a light, even spray of quick drying hairspray before you move on to the next section.
  • Finish: This could be the most arduous part, some claim, but the key is to brush the very top layer enough so that the teasing beneath does not show, while not undoing your teasing efforts. A good mirror for viewing both front and back are necessary, and after some practice, you’ll get quicker and better at this. So blend it all together, keep the fullness, and reestablish any curls lost in the teasing process.
  • Bonus Step: Once you’ve finished brushing and smoothing the style, you can come back with the pointed end of a professional comb, pencil or other similarly shaped device and stick it into key places to lift areas that lost too much fullness and even out. Now, spray one more time, and you’re good to go!