Saturday, August 1, 2009

New hair tool!

In Bellevue there was recently a small arts fair. I wandered around for a while, and a girl who looked alot like me caught my eye. She had her hair pinned up, and it looked much like mine did when I wore relaxers, except hers looked way better than mine ever did back in the day. So I stopped to catch a closer look at her hair. By then, she'd gone into a booth, and when I made my way up to it, she was letting a vendor demonstrate a hair comb on her hair. Heck, I hadn't even noticed the combs, but he had one wall of his booth covered in large, shiny metal combs in all kinds of beautiful metal-worked designs, in bronze, copper and silver (as well as combinations of all three).

As I watched, she undid her hair, and he began to style it. At first I was struck that he didn't try to run his comb through her hair. He simply twisted it gently up, and slid in the comb. It went in easily. It stayed in. She commented how light it felt, how secure it was. Then he slid it out, and did another style. And another. And another. Each time the comb came out easily. There was no frizz. And the comb was sturdy enough to hold her hair. I was impressed. But cautious.

The woman and I bonded over our hair for a while and marveled at the combs before she headed on her way. I cautiously entered the booth, and looked over the combs. I asked what they were made of, and the guy said they were actually made of copper, bronze, or German silver (which he said is a very strong type of silver). He said there was a lifetime repair on these combs. I touched one. It was smooth and heavy. He offered to do my hair, but being not only stubborn but paranoid, I declined. No one touches my hair. But I had liked what I saw, so I picked out a comb to buy.

I took it up to him, and bought it. It was pricey—I won't lie. But worth it. Then he asked if I wanted to put it in a bag, or wear it. I hesitated for a moment (since I'd seen how gentle he and the comb seemed), and then I decided to live a little , and said "wear it". So he had me sit in his chair, and he began showing me many of the styles for this comb. He didn't even try to comb my hair. The styles easily went from one to the other. The comb slid in easily, held firmly, and came out without catching. Usually my hair is too heavy for me to put up comfortably. But this comb was big enough to evenly distribute the weight of my hair, so my hair actually felt light. He showed me about 6 styles in 5 minutes. He would have shown me more, but when he asked "Can your hair be separated?", I said that it couldn't (it can, but not easily, and I didn't want to take the chance of it being pulled apart). But I really appreciated that he asked. I had seen the half up, half down styles he'd done on a few other people who stopped by his booth, though.

He asked what style I'd like to wear out, and I chose what he called The Figure Eight Bun, which I'm calling a Split Bun. He simply swirled my hair into a high bun, split it in half, and slid in the comb. Below, I'm including some pictures of this style, along with a few others so you can get the idea of what this comb can do. (The first four photos show the Split Bun at different angles, including from the front. Two are the right and left sides of a French roll, and the last one is a loose bun I swirled around and pinned with the comb.)

Down the road, I'm thinking of collecting a few more of them. They are more like works of art that will most likely last me the rest of my life. For more information, you can check out his site (where you can order a comb, as well as check out many styles and the instructions for creating them) at


BeyondBeauty said...

it looks really cute, I I like the styles, the last one looks like a tiara. Is it easy to do by yourself?

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, those styles look great. Now I want one.

Mamabelle said...

Very exciting! I especially appreciate your discussion of how he handled the hair without separating it. I'm gonna check out the site.

Anonymous said...

T, your hair looks so cute pinned up like that.

Congrats on the book coming out next year! And congrats on the positivity and hair self-acceptance of your site!


Anonymous said...
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Janis said...

*BOGGLE* My gods, your hair actually isn't substantially curlier than mine. Ho-lee POO ...

chickem said...

yes i love this hair design piece

Deadra Morrison said...

Teri I adore you; the combs are amazing! and I can't wait till my hair is long enough to wear one! Your hair is so gorgeous--go girl! I hope you're going to include photos of these styles in your book.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful hair!!!!!!! I have a question! Do you think Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak can be used as a leave-in?

: )

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

Thank you, BeyondBeauty! It is surprisingly easy to do. The bun and the split bun only took a minute, and I did it right the first time. The French roll took some practice, but now that I "get" how to do it, it only takes a minute to do.

Hi Caramel and Mamabelle, yes, these combs are great to have. I want to get another one, but may have to save up for a while first. I was very impressed with the guy for how he handled my hair. The instructions on the site are pretty good. The only one I had trouble with that I've tried so far has been that French roll. But now it makes sense, too.

Mixie: Thank you for your kind congratulations about the book (as well as your other kind words). Thank you for visiting!

Hi Janis, all your comment cracked me up. My hair looks straighter than it is. At the ends, and when it was shorter, it's actually very very curly.

xBiracialxBeautyx: Yes, I love the design of these combs, too.

Aw, thank you, msdeem9. Actually, your hair doesn't have to be nearly as long as mine for the comb to work. He was demonstrating styles on women with below ear length hair. In fact, my hair being so long made it difficult for me to follow their site's directions for that French roll, because he was showing how to do it with someone with much shorter hair.

Unfortunately, I already had to turn the book into the publishers, so the comb won't be in it, alas. But I will put a link to his site on mine the next time I update it.

purpleblueshoe: Thank you for thinking my hair is beautiful! About the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak, I just looked up the ingredients, and there isn't anything that would hurt your hair in it, but it's mostly just oil, so it wouldn't do much to define or weigh down your curls (well, the way I like to weigh down and define mine, anyway).

Anonymous said...

Your welcome! I do want the clip, but my hair is short! I've recently started growing it out. The style looks very pretty.

Also, a question about the condition only method (curly primer). Is it necessary to comb it out, or can we just apply the conditioner and shake? As a 4b girl, I applied my conditioner on a part of my hair and combed it out with my Denman. But it seems like the denman makes my curls smaller. So instead of smoothing them and seperating, I have to bring them back together. I tried it without combing and my curls looked larger (almost 4a). The only thing is, is not combing the hair safe?

Thank you thank you thank you! : )

Liza said...

I went to his website and the hair combs are very nice. The only thing is the PRICE! Girl, I work full-time and have a lot of money saved, but parting with $75 for a hair accessory...I just don't know! Gotta conference with the hubby on this one!

Natural Hair said...

Teri, your hair looks gorgeous as usual.

I love it when you said "He offered to do my hair, but being not only stubborn but paranoid, I declined. No one touches my hair."

I feel the same way; you wouldn't believe how many people and distractions happen on your way to growing longer hair. Everyone has a new product or treatment for me to try.

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

purpleblueshoes: The guy doing the styles said the comb can also work on shorter hair--but I don't know how short.

About combing: you don't have to comb your hair if you don't want to. I have to, otherwise my hair mats up in about seven days, and it turns into a world of hurt to undo all that. If your hair is shorter, you can probably get away with fingercombing only. At some point it will become necessary to comb, but if you don't need to yet, you don't have to. If one of these days you are fingercombing and you feel mats forming, then you might need to.

For me, I find combing with the Denman "resets" and refreshes my curls, so they snap back. But your curls sound more robust, so again, you totally don't have to comb. What's important is to define your curls in some way, which it sounds like you are doing (that and making sure your hair isn't matting like mine does if I go too long between combings).

Liza: I totally hear you on the price! It is expensive. But for me, this comb will be with me for a lifetime, it's made of good material, and I've been wearing it about three times or more a week. So it ends up only averaging out to be a bit of change a day. I guess it feels more to me like art that I'm wearing, so that also went into my decision. But believe me, when he first told me the price at the fair, I stood there blinking for a while in shock. Then I thought about how over time, it felt for me, it's worth it (also because I don't spend money on other things that that $75 would have gone to as it does for others, like a car or gas or repairs--I don't drive--I can put that money towards the comb). Well, that was my way I justified it to myself.

NaturalHair Thank you for thinking my hair is gorgeous! And I appreciate you liking that I don't let people touch my hair. I've had so many messes made of it at the hands of others. You are wise not to fall for everything out there people are offering for you to try. Too often it only serves to make them money, and keep us damaged and coming back for more "miracles".

Kathi said...

OMG - As the mother of five bi-racial kids, your site is like finding a hidden treasure.

I have three girls and two are grown, while the third is still in plaits. I've never permed her hair, as I did the older two, but since middle school is coming up, we were just thinking about it.

I'm SO excited to try the hair care suggestions - baby girl's hair is down to her bottom and I hate the thought of anything breaking it - but won't she be thrilled the hours-long Sunday morning hair care fight from washed into plaits will be over.


OMG - I'm SO blogging about this!!

And congrats on your writing success from a fellow author! Isn't it a rush?



Kelly Virella said...

I just discovered your tightlycurly site. It. Is. Awesome. I love the clear instructions you give for combing curly hair -- gonna do exactly that the next time I wash it. But I have one concern about your site and your blog. It feels like you're putting down the mushroom hair, or the afro. Not all curly black hair clumps together and lays down. Some -- like mine -- clumps together but the coils are so small that it's natural shape IS a mushroom cloud. Perhaps I'm misreading you and I apologize if I am. But I think it's important to make space for everyone in the diaspora, since we're all in this together.

Janis said...

Just bought a Victoria hair comb from that site. Yikes. It's GORGEOUS, though ... I can't wait to get it!

Deadra Morrison said...

About the price T; Oscar Wilde was quoted as saying one should either wear a piece of art or be a piece of art ;)

I agree about the average price on an item and I plan on buying one of the combs--I just hope I can figure out how to use it!

Janis said...

Just saw the video:

1) ZOMG you are SO CUTE.

2) I've got to try this. I have a three-day weekend coming up with Labor Day, and I'm going to see if I can't get home early enough to wash my hair on Thursday night, section it (which may take some time), and then sleep on it and let it dry overnight. That's always a good way for me to ensure that my normal curls are let out to play.

And I'll see what it's like when I get up. :-)

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I was here several weeks ago and lost your link... In the interim, I have not combed my babies hair, but have been spraying a mixture of balsam, olive oil and a little water on it and finger combing it. I have subscribed to the comments and posts and want to thank you for the service you have done for me and my girls.

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

So sorry to take this long to reply to everyone's wonderful comments. I've been on deadline so my time seems to get sucked up by that. On top of that, when I went to post my comment, Blogger was having issues. Okay, enough excuses…

Kathi: I'm so glad to hear from you, and I really hope the site can help you! I'm so happy you haven't permed the little one's hair. Congratulations on being an author too! What is the title of your next book? It sounds really interesting.

Kelly Virella: Thank you for checking out the site. I totally appreciate your comment, and after reading it I did stop and think for a while. I absolutely didn't mean for it to sound like I'm anti afro. I think they are absolutely beautiful. Few things catch my attention when I see someone with a big, gorgeous afro. I guess what’s coming through when I talk about my afro is I had a terrible experience with mine when I was young. First, when my hair was an afro, it wasn't actually my natural hair. I had double processed hair (a Jheri curl on top of a straightener on top of my natural curl), so the hair I experienced was not soft, lovely natural hair. It was stiff and crunchy, the softness of a loofa pad. So when I talk about how unhappy my hair was, and how unhappy I was with it, I’m talking about the chemical hair (but at the time I mistakenly thought that was my natural hair.

I love our curls, and I want to make sure everyone can see how beautiful they are in all their forms. For me, I also wanted choices in how I wore my hair. But at the time I didn't know how to care for my natural hair, and I damaged it even more by dry brushing it. That and it was double processed, so it was a mess. What I had in that photo was chemical hair, not my natural hair. Back in those days, I thought having natural hair meant my only option was that crunchy hair I once had (not realizing that actually wasn't my hair, but the chemicals that had been put in it). I don’t want anyone else who experienced what I did to think that is what our natural hair is like.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I love our hair in all it's beautiful forms. I didn't like my hair back then because I didn’t know how to care for it, and felt I had no choice about it. And since it was terribly damaged by chemicals, it wasn't a soft, pretty afro but loofa-hair, so my experience with it was bad (and unfair to it). All I want to do is to show people with curls there is a way to love and care for their natural hair. Too often we think our only choices are an afro or braids (or other styles considered “political” that may not be appropriate on the job—not that I agree with that) or to straighten our hair. I want to help those who very much want to celebrate their natural curls. The techniques I describe emphasize our stunning curls, no matter how tight they are, all of them are beautiful, and that is what I’m trying to express.

Janis: Aw, thank you for thinking I’m cute! I’m still getting used to making the videos. I'm glad you got the comb! I thought of you when I got it and I kept meaning to write you and tell you about it. I'm glad you got one. It's perfect for your hair.

I do have to say I can not recommend sleeping on wet hair. Mine would be a total mess when I got up after sleeping on it wet. It would not reflect what it can really look like if allowed to dry before being slept on. But I do wish you lots of luck over the weekend.

msdeem9: What a wonderful quote—thank you for that. Wilde knew what he was talking about! I do agree that the comb does take a bit of practice, but it’s a fun process, and the styles take under a minute once you get the hang of them.

jerseytjej: I'm so glad to have helped in any way at all! I'd be wary of balsam. If it's the same balsam I've researched, it's actually a resin, so can build up over time and make our hair brittle. Thank you so much for subscribing to all my stuff!

Unknown said...

Hi Teri. I must say that finding your website has been a revelation for me! I have been using your methods for just over a week and I can already see a difference in the definition of my curls ( although colleagues at work asked me if I had cut my hair, and I was hoping it would look longer rather than shorter!). I am wondering if I'm doing anything wrong though because my hair does seem to be a little bit crunchy and I find my scalp is getting quite itchy too. Could I be using too much combing conditioner. I was also wondering what you thought about actual leave in conditioners- do you think they are worth paying the extra money for? I used to use Bumble and Bumble leave in conditioner (which is a bit pricey to be honest) and have recently bought Mixed Chicks leave in conditioner- have you ever tried them or do you know if they are good for my hair? I've always wanted my hair to grow as long as yours and I would do anything to get it looking as beautiful! I very rarely trim my hair and it has looked the same length for over 10 years! I'm looking forward to your book!

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

Hi Sabrina: I'm glad using this method has made a difference with your hair! To answer your questions, my hair is always a bit stiff for a few hours after it dries, but this just means my curls have set. But after a few hours, or the next day, my hair is fluffy again. I do have to say this method won't work with any conditioner. So if you are using another conditioner, I can't guarantee the same results.

I think products marketed as leave-ins are pricey, and depending on the market they are targeting, are little more than water, or tend to be very greasy.

About the Mixed Chicks, I've found ingredients that don't make me comfortable in most of their products, so I do not use them.

What keeps us from growing our hair long is damage. Unfortunately almost everything we are taught about how to care for our hair causes damage. Once we learn to care for our hair without hurting it any longer, and the damage grows out, your hair will grow and grow.

Oh! And thank you so much for looking forward to my book! I can't wait for it!

Babydoll said...

Cool!! Looks hard though.

Kelly Virella said...

Well said, Former Mushroom Child. Your childhood hair -- one part Jherri Curl, one part perm -- did sound interesting! Thanks again for the wonderful hair care tips, especially the denman brush. That has changed my life. It is so easy to comb out my hair that I've been wearing my fro, like it's the thing to do! Kudos on the book too. Hopefully that will persuade other women interested in natural hair to give it a whirl.

sandra said...

you look nice in the updos...and down dos also...You know, that company could design a comb licensed just for you; something to think about...also I wonder if they can help you design a certain tool so individual hair coils can be seperated at wash...something to think about...

Vera said...

OH boy those really are spendy, but I can see it is well money spent. My hair is shorter again, but I'm definitely holding on to this link (or will be looking for them in Eastern WA) for sure!! Not too mention they are so dang pretty :O

Eagle Ascent said...

I stumbled on your blog today which I came across from your tightly curly site which I stumbled upon from youtube video recommending you. Now I have come across a potentially new comb. All in a day's reading! Thanks for posting!

P.S. Was this the gentleman that gently styled your hair? If so, it's sad that he passed away before I could possibly trek to get my hair styled. If not, it's still unfortunate that he passed away.

P.P.S. It's unfortunate that you had to go through all that hair drama, I saw some of the pictures. I lived through some hair abuse (chemical/mechanical induced hair loss,) but if I didn't see the transitional pictures, I wouldn't believe your current healthy, happy hair was once so tortured. I usually maintain my natural via weaves, braids, and the like, but you have me inspired to try the out and loose look.