everything I've learned about growing, maintaining, styling, and loving long hair

style how-to’s

lose the towel!

A big issue with long hair is damage.  The more damaged your hair is, the harder it is to gain (or maintain) length.  Also, the longer your hair is, the easier it gets damaged.  Some of that, you just can’t help.  It’s nature.  But there are some things that we commonly do on a regular basis that actually cause damage to the hair.  Towel-drying is one of those things.  In case you haven’t noticed, towels have a very rough texture.  This texture grabs your hair and pulls and tugs it in different directions.  This can cause breakage.  And please tell me you’re not rubbing the towel over your hair to dry it!

Several years ago, I stopped using towels on my hair.  I learned first about plopping and started doing that with my towel with great success.  But a towel is heavy and hard to secure in a plop.  When I heard about using a t-shirt, I tried it immediately and never looked back.  A t-shirt is very soft (usually 100% cotton) with a smooth texture that doesn’t grab at your hair.  I had a lot less frizz, and over time, less breakage.  I simply love it!

If you have curly hair and you don’t plop, you should try it!  But drying with a t-shirt is not limited to curly girls!  Here are a couple of videos showing how to use a t-shirt to dry your hair.

This one is for those with straight hair that don’t want to plop.  She made this video at my request!  How sweet! 🙂  By the way, she has some great style tutorials so be sure to check out her youtube channel Torrin Paige

This one is for plopping.  There’s a lot of talking at the beginning, but the plopping explanation starts at about 8 minutes, so you can skip to there if you want.  This is basically how I do it.  You won’t need an extra long shirt, no matter how long your hair is. 


fake a crown braid on yourself


I tried this and it works beautifully!

IMG_5754  IMG_5759

I was finishing it up literally as we were walking out the door so I didn’t get to tweak it like I wanted to.  I didn’t realize how lopsided it was until I got home and took these pics.  It turned out that way because I just pinned the braid tails on either side of the dutch braids, and the right one was thicker.  If I’d had more time, I would have pinned it a little differently.

IMG_5765In spite of that, I think it looks awesome and I love the way it turned out!  Like she says in the video, I agree that it looks like I have a lot longer hair because there are 3 layers of braid in some areas.  I will definitely be keeping this one in mind since I’ve never really effectively been able to do a real crown braid on myself.

for Valentine’s Day

How about some heart hair styles….

(click on the pics for instructions)

and from my own gallery (no tutorials)



micro braids

Well, I left my braids in for a full 10 days.  I “washed” my hair 3 times with my braids in.  The first time, as I mentioned before, was just a thorough rinsing with water.  The other times I literally squished conditioner into my scalp and into the braids.  I didn’t rub or massage it at all because I didn’t want to disturb the braids, just patted it on and pressed it in.  I let the conditioner sit for a few minutes and then rinsed it out thoroughly.  It felt really good, actually!

It was so nice having the braids in because I really didn’t have to worry too much about fixing my hair.  No combing, no styling products, no frizz…. My hair was always presentable for me to go out in public.  It’s perfect for this hot summer because the air could actually reach my scalp and keep  me cooler.  I would’ve left them in longer, but I was starting to get a lot of flakes along my front hairline.

I think adding in the yarn was really helpful.  It kept the braids from getting as fuzzy.  It also protected the tips from the hair bands, the yarn absorbed most of the tension so it kept the ends from being damaged.  But, on the other hand, it made the braids much more difficult to undo.  My husband and I had to pick them out with hairpins which took about 3-4 hours.

I wish I would’ve seen this tutorial before I took my braids out.  I would love to have tried it!  part 1  part 2

wedding styles #8 (continued)

Here is a gallery of photos that show many different options for wearing flowers in your hair.  You can also look over my other posts in the series to see more.

wedding styles #8 – using flowers

This will be the last in my wedding series.  I must admit I had only planned on doing 3 or 4 posts, but once I began sorting through all my collection of photos, I had a lot  more content to contribute than I realized!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing this series and I hope you all have been able to gain something from it.

I’m not going to be showing you how to make flowers to use in your hair, there are tons of tutorials already available on youtube for that.  The purpose of this is to explain how I place them in the hair.  I love using flowers in my hair!  There’s nothing like a beautiful flower to make an average day seem special, or a special occasion feel more special.  I have used fresh flowers, artificial flowers from a craft store, and flowers on clips specifically made for hair.  One of the biggest problems I’ve experienced is a stem that is too short.  Whether you use real or fake flowers, make sure to leave a long enough stem when cutting the flower!  A good length of stem is important for securing the flower in your hair!  You can always trim it if it’s too long.

Fresh flowers in an updo –   Cut the stem about 3 to 4 inches long, and make sure that the cut is smooth.  If it’s jagged, the stem will catch on the hair when you try to insert it.  You want it to slide in smoothly.  If the stem is delicate and bends when you try to slide it in, you may want to use florist wire to make it stiff.

First, decide where you want the flower.  Choose a location that has an indentation, or perhaps the updo has a flat spot that needs to be filled in.  Hold the flower in different places to see what looks best.  Wherever you choose, the flower needs a little nest to sit in.  You want the base of the flower to fit down into the updo.  The ideal look is for the petals to rest against the hair.  Next, slide the stem into the updo.  You may have to work around the pins that are holding your style in place, but try to get the stem close to your scalp.  Place a pin at some point along the stem to prevent the flower from sliding back out.  If the flower isn’t sitting well, you can try using more pins to hold it in place, or try a different location.  If the stem is thick (such as on a rose) you will need to use large pins, normal sized ones will just stretch out and probably fall out.  Smaller flowers usually stay in place more easily and don’t always require pins.  Another option, if you have time, is to attach a large flower to an alligator clip using floral wire and/or tape.

Hawaiian look (flower over the ear) – You will need to use something to hold the flower in place.  If you’re using a flower on a clip, it’s really simple.  The trick is to not place it on top of all the hair.  If you do, it will flop around.  Pull the bulk of the hair back out of the way and secure the flower close to the scalp, then let the hair fall back around it.  If you have really thick hair, you may need to work with it a little to keep it from falling over the flower.  If you need to, discreetly use a few pins to hold your hair in place the way it naturally falls, then attach the flower.  If you’re using a fresh flower, it’s a bit more challenging.  I’ve done this look on a few different people and the simplest way I found is to use bobby pins and a snap clip.  The snap clip works wonders!  As long as it’s big enough to close around the stem, it holds much better and is easier to use than pins.  Using the same technique, place the flower over the ear with the stem pointing to the back of the head.  Behind the ear, slide the snap clip into the hair and over the stem, as close to the scalp as possible. (hint: you can crisscross these the same as bobby pins for extra hold!)  Place a pin or two at the base of the flower if needed.  Make sure the hair falls over the stem and hides it.

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For artificial flowers, I like to get small ones that come in bunches.  These are the easiest flowers to use in hair.  They can be found in most craft stores.    >

The stems are usually wire wrapped with tape.  These wires are usually about 4-6 inches long and very thin.  After you separate the bundle, bend each wire in half  and twist it around itself (as in the pic below).  This will give you a sturdier stem and rounded end so it slides into the hair much easier.

You can also use silk flowers.  They usually have wire coated in plastic as the stem.  The wire is thicker and stronger than the ones above so it’s not necessary to bend it in half.  Cut the stem about 2-3 inches long.   Sometimes these types of flowers aren’t secured on the stems very well and may slide off.  If that’s the case, just use a little glue to hold them together.

Any of these small artificial flowers will usually stay in the hair without the aid of pins or clips.  You can scatter them throughout the updo, or place them in groupings.  You have a lot of options.

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If you want something more elaborate, talk to your florist about making a piece for you.  She should be able to create something (real or artificial) similar to a corsage that would be suitable for wearing in your hair.

wedding styles #6

I don’t have videos or tutorials for these, but I can give you general idea of how I would recreate them.

In this post I refer to lace braids, waterfall braids, and fishtail braids.  Tutorials for creating these types of braids can be easily found all over youtube right now.

barrel curls & braids – Follow my instructions for making barrel curls.  Before you get started on the rolls, make a few small braids in random places throughout the ponytail (the shorter your hair is, the more braids you will need).  If your hair is thin, you may wish to attach purchased braids.  Incorporate the braids by looping and pinning as you create the style.  Make the rolls large and very smooth to get this polished effect.

curly french twist – This style works best on naturally curly or permed hair that is around shoulder length.  Section off the center back by parting from behind each ear to the crown area.  (These do not have to be perfectly straight parts because they will be covered up!  It’s best to avoid pulling apart the curls because that creates frizz.  Just gently section it off with your fingers.)  Gently twist this section as if you were creating a french twist, leaving the ends loose and falling over the top of the head.  Secure with pins.  Divide the remaining hair in half by creating a rough side or center part (whichever you prefer).  Gather the left half  behind the ear and gently, loosely twist it towards the back, securing it near the top of the back section so that the curls point upward.  Repeat on the right side.  Arrange the curls.

half up lace braids – Divide the hair in half  horizontally from ear to ear.  Divide the top half by making a side part in the front.  Make a loose lace braid beginning at the top of the ear and braid straight back, taking large sections.  Stop when you reach the crown area and tie off the braid.  Repeat on the other side.  The braids should end at the same point, meeting in the middle.  You can hide the hair bands by arranging and pinning the hair to cover them, or use a decorative hair accessory.

imitating a french braid – This is an extremely simple style!  Make a side or center part (whichever you prefer) and comb the hair down nice and smooth.  You may wish to use hairspray or a little gel at this point to tame any flyaways.  Grab a small piece from the hairline on each side near the temples and join them in the back with a tiny hair band.  Smooth it down into the rest of the hair.  Repeat until you’ve reached the neck.  Make sure all your hair bands line up in the back.  Secure a small decorative hair accessory on each band.

half up diagonal braid – Divide the hair in half from the top of the left ear to the bottom of the right ear.  Begin a french braid near the left ear, braiding loosely and taking large sections.  You can do a lace braid or a waterfall braid.  (This appears to be a sort of combination of the two, not dropping as much hair as a waterfall braid.)  Tie off the braid when you reach the hairline behind the right ear.  Arrange the hair so that it hides the hair band or cover it with a decorative hair accessory.  Optional variation: Braid to the end and coil it into a small bun behind your right ear.

front pouf – Make sure your hair is nice and full, it will need a good amount of volume.  Section off the hair on the top of the head, from the temples to an inch or two in front of the crown.  Backcomb and then smooth the top layer.  Gather the section and push it forward a little to make it puff up more.  Pin it in place by crisscrossing 2 or 3 bobby pins.  This is a messy look, so don’t try too hard to get the pouf perfectly smooth and even.

zigzag fishtail –  Beginning at the front hairline near the temple, make a fishtail french braid in a zigzag pattern.  This takes practice!  It may be easier to make a part by drawing the line you want to follow and taking hair from either side of the part as you add it in.  Braid all the way to the end and tie it off.  Pull at the sections of the braid to loosen it up.  Following the flow of the zigzag, coil the tail of the braid into a side bun and secure with pins.

fishtail bun – This style could probably be created in the same way as the one above.  Rather than zigzaging the braid, begin it around the crown area and go straight down.