Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How I straighten my hair, and a deodorant update

The following series of photographs is not flattering. But it's information I wish I knew long ago, so I'm putting it out there. Even if it makes me cringe.

If you knew me eighteen years ago, you may remember this look:

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I didn't know what to do with my hair. It has quite a natural curl, and the only thing I knew how to do was to make it even curlier with a blow dryer/diffuser combo.

The first time I ever tried to straighten my hair was at my friend Kathlene's house. (Do you remember that, Kathlene?) It involved an iron — not a hair iron, but a clothes iron. The result was less than spectacular. My fuzzy hair, stiff and somewhat straight, fluffed out at the ends. It was slightly kinked in places, like a hair sculpture of a pyramid. It was a good attempt, yet still a massive fail. I gave up the straight hair quest and worked on perfecting my ringlets.

Eventually, I tried again — this time, I attempted to straighten it with a blow dryer. Seventeen told me to do it this way, therefore I couldn't go wrong. While not quite as angular as the clothes iron attempt, my hair was still unmanageably puffy and wouldn't lay straight. The problem area seemed to be right at the scalp, where my hair tended to kink the most, and at the frizzy ends. No method I had ever tried was able to get the hairline straight.

Over the years, I tried a slew of different products and methods. Finally, I figured it out. flat irons weren't the answer; they were too flat and led to the pyramid effect. A blow dryer just wasn't effective enough and was very time-consuming. I needed a curling iron to straighten my hair. I bought the widest barreled iron I could find and tested it out. At last, I was getting somewhere.

So, without further ado, for my curly-haired friends who have recently asked me how I straighten my hair, here's the scoop.

First, I wash with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner, and spritz the 3 inches closest to my scalp with volumizing spray.

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Then I let my hair dry naturally, to let it rest before the heat torture it is about to endure. I usually pull it into a pony tail while it dries; it pulls the hair a little straighter and makes the ironing portion go pretty quickly.

When it's dry, I brush it out and turn my wide-barreled curling iron on to high.

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(I can do the pony tail dent like no other!)

Then, starting alongside my part, I take a section of hair,

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and brush it out.

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Here's the secret. In order to get those tiny curls next to my scalp, I need to get the curling iron right down there as close as possible. To prevent the iron from burning my head, I pull the hair opposite of the way it's supposed to lay, clip the iron on top, and the hair acts as a buffer between the iron and my head. Added bonus — ironing the hair in the opposite direction this way increases volume, which I need when my hair is this long.

I very carefully clip the iron right at the base of my hair, with the barrel on the top and the clip underneath, and pull it across and away from my scalp, like so:

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I slowly pull the iron along my hair, making sure that the iron is turned a little bit so that the hair gets a little curl, all the way to the ends.

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("It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.!")

Then I roll the hair back up for 5 to 10 seconds to give the ends some additional curl.

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Then I use my fingers to separate the next section of hair, ironing it across the part the same way I did the first section.

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This looks like I'm torching my scalp, but I'm pulling the iron over my head a little bit at the very beginning to put that layer of hair beneath the iron.

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I thoroughly brush out each section as I go, before ironing it, to prevent kinks from getting ironed into place.

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Working my way down the side of my head... pulling the hair across, maintaining the curve of the curling iron....

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curling the ends....

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For the bottom swath of hair, instead of pulling it up and over, I flip the curling iron over and pull the hair down and curl it outward:

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There! A third of the way done!

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(I was super tired when I did this. Can you tell?? Ugh. Sorry for the dead-pan shots.)

I then repeat the process on the other side of my head, pulling the hair across the opposite way:

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When I'm done on both sides, I start down the back of my head.

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I do one section of hair in the middle,

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and then one on each side.

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Middle... right... left... middle... right... left...

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the view from the back:

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(The things I do for my readers!!)

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When I get toward the bottom in back, instead of pulling it up over my head all the way down, I take the last few sections and iron them out sideways instead:

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Done!! This ironing process, once my hair is dry, takes me about 15 minutes — depending on how thorough I feel like being with it.

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Then, just flip all that hair out of the way,

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separate it out a bit,

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and there you go!

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Now, about the deodorant — I took your advice, and bought me some Dove antiperspirant. I am in love! And my pits are dry! I like a lot of the scents and had a hard time choosing just one. In the end, I picked the one that matches my body wash.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting ready to deck the halls!

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Are you ready to do some decorating at your house? Have you already started? Here are some holiday images from years past at our house.

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I'm NOT decorating for Christmas just yet, but I do have some ideas in mind for fall!

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This is one of my favorite times of year in blog-land — I love seeing how everyone decorates for the holidays!

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Coming soon — fall at our house. Now if the weather would cooperate, this 90's business is just ridiculous!
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