Friday, January 1, 2010

Straw Set

**Quick update: The straw set worked great! We kept it in for 4 days before it started looking a little fuzzy. If I had wanted to put more time into it, I could have fuzzed with the curls and probably made it last a little longer, but I didn't want to put that much time into it. The only downside is that I used the Mimosa Hair Honey every morning to smooth the curls and prevent frizz, so by the end of the 4 days her hair looked very glossy but took two rounds of clarifying shampoo to get all of the hair product out.**

The quest to find the perfect hair products and perfect hairstyle for the Ethiopian princess continues.

Rosie's hair is very curly, but the curls are tighter at the crown and at the base than they are on the rest of her head, and we get so much shrinkage when it drys that you can't really see them, which tends to leave us with a bit of a mess these days. Her longer length doesn't take finger coils very well anymore, I don't want to put in pony tails every day, it isn't long enough for french braids, but just leaving it loose in this dry, cold weather leaves the ends looking messy and at risk for damage.
While reading reviews for hair products online, I stumbled across some photos of "straw sets", which looked great. Straw sets basically consist of rolling hair on drinking straws, holding it in place with bobby pins, and letting it set. It produced beautiful tiny curls, about the diameter of Rosie's natural ringlets.

The websites I visited said that it works on kinky, curly, natural, or relaxed hair. So, in the hope that this would help me provide a hairstyle that would look good and last for more than 12 hours, we decided to give it a try.

For my fellow ET adoptive moms looking for styling ideas, here's how:

You will need: shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, spray bottle with water, styling gel or other product with hold (use one specifically formulated for African hair), a wide-toothed comb, a rat-tail comb, large clips for holding hair out of the way, 100 straws with bendy bits cut off and cut in half, end papers, and at least 200 bobby pins or hair clips.

1. Wash hair. Rosie and I have found the easiest way to do this is in the sink where I have access to the sprayer.
2. Apply a high-quality conditioner (my current favorite is Tui Hair Smoothie from Carol's Daughter) and use a wide-toothed comb to comb through.
Just a hint: make sure the teeth of your comb are very smooth with no ridges or manufacturing lines. These really do catch on textured hair.
3. Apply a shower cap and allow conditioner to set (5-15 minutes depending on amount of conditioning needed).

4. Rinse conditioner thoroughly and while hair is still sopping wet, apply leave in conditioner (we are currently using Some of Marguerite's Magic by Carol's Daughter) and a product with some hold (we tried out CurlyQ's Princess Glaze from

5. Using a rat-tailed comb, make a part about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the hairline and then clip rest of the hair up and out of the way. Divide off small portions of this separated hair, comb through to ensure the section is very smooth, put on an end paper to keep ends smooth, and then spiral wrap around a straw. Use a bobby pin on each end to hold in place.

For this first attempt, I used quite small sections, so I was getting 12-15 straws across each row, and I put in 8 rows. I did see some photos using larger section, but this didn't leave neat-ending roots. (Just a hint: make sure hair stays very wet while you are working with it.)
Here we are with all of the rollers in, FINALLY! We had 3 short stretch and potty breaks, but it took us 4 1/2 hours to get them all in. That did include washing, conditioning, prepping the straws and end papers, but it was still a major undertaking. It shouldn't take so long next time since I won't have to cut all of the straws and end papers the next time, and I found I was getting quicker with the rolling as we went on. In the end, I used 115 straws.
6. Let the hair set until it is completely dry. You can either let it dry naturally or use a hair dryer. Then, carefully remove rollers. Here's photos of Rosie with the rollers out, but nothing else done to her hair.
Here is the back straight out of the rollers.
This looked okay, and I thought about just leaving it like this, for fear of spoiling them, but I decided to go ahead and play a bit. So, I took a glossing product (Mimosa Hair Honey from Carol's Daughter), spread it on my fingers and grabbed each curl with both hands, divided it into 2 sections, lightly coated each curl with the creme while stretching it downward, and letting it go.
And presto, the most oingy boingy curls ever! Look at her. What a beauty she is.

I am considering this style a HUGE success! It looks great and so fits her personality. Now, I'm just hoping that it is one that will last for several days.

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