01 February 2015

The Hair Affair OR Surviving Humidity Island

I live near Houston, TX.

Our humidity gives us a sub-tropical climate and our low northern latitude gives us plenty of heat.  I can remember wearing shorts in winter (and yet we've seen the occasional snow flurry on Christmas).

Being that I also sport long, thin, curly hair, I have various shortcuts for dealing with those summer doldrum days, as in how to put up my hair 24/7 without destroying those thin strands.

I get most of my hair complements on the day after I wash my hair; letting it dry on the pillow overnight.  While my curl is natural, the weight of my hair (and gravity) pulls curls into waves after 24 hours or so.  So my hair offers little in the way of "grip" for any hair accessory.

I cannot handle my hair on my neck and down my back for most of the summer ... I'd say June-ish through mid-September.  All of July and August are scorchers requiring the lightest of weight and the highest of bun!

While I don't notice it as much, my hairstylist lists the damage seen at each visit.  With my length, they are few and far between (I may go several years between haircuts ... or cut it myself).  Regardless, with assistance I have found out which accessories do the greatest damage to my hair and which do the least.

French hair clips and most bands are a big no-no.

On to the best ...

Starflower Silver - http://www.etsy.com/shop/starflowersilver

I have a size medium bronze lemniscate from this shop.  I hemmed and hawed over size ... as I always do.  My experience found the medium a little small to hold up all of my hair.  It is a little big to do a half-up.

Her metal selection is unparalleled in my experience.  She works in Copper, Bronze, and Silver.  I've been drawn to her chignons several times, but have yet to take the plunge.

Some of her pieces look very "handmade" on-line.  All of the pieces I purchased looked well finished on-line and in person.  If you want the very personal touch to your piece, you can find it.  If you want a piece that looks like it came from a local store (though better designed with better metal and with much greater longevity, etc.) you can also find such in her store.

WickedlyWired - https://www.etsy.com/shop/WickedlyWired

I ordered 1 pair of copper wavy hair pins in 4 inch length by 1/2 inch width.  I cross them in a bun, and they hold for a good 24 hours.

I enjoyed them so much, I went back for a silver and brass pair 8 months later as a present to myself. 

Saraband - http://www.etsy.com/shop/sarabands?ref=seller_info

My saraband headband is a work of art.  I emailed Sara several times regarding fit and likelihood of working on my thin hair and got a "try it and pay later, IF it works."  How often do you get an offer like that?

I do have to adjust my saraband a couple of times throughout the day.  It works its way forward a bit through six + hours of vigorous movement.  Having said that, I need to point out that I am worst case scenario for this hair accessory ... thin and easily broken hair strands.  I have not noticed an unusual amount of breakage with this headband.

I love that she works in copper (of course), and she is offering different etching patterns as well as no pattern with her headbands.

Most especially, I like that I don't feel mutton dressed as lamb in her band. 

Medium will hold up a half section, IF through a bun

XL Clip, cannot hold a bun, but can clip through the center of a figure 8
ZannClip or SpyralClip or something else - http://www.zannclip.com/index_cre.php?cPath=2

These have both positive and negative aspects.  I have purchased four total and received two as freebies.

I purchased two mediums first - brown plastic and gold.  They were too small and I waited to find out what size the Extra Large was, I emailed several times and was ignored three out of four attempts (one occurred during a site and name change ...)

The only response I got was, "let me call you to explain the difference."  Um, not very helpful.

You see, the large and extra large clip had the same size specifications every time I looked.  Seemed suspicious to me.  Finally, her XL gained an 1/8" in length and the comment ... "By popular demand, we now make an Extra large clip for those of you with Uber thick locks! It's a tad longer than the large and a bit wider at the base to accommodate for thicker hair."

Notice that "a bit wider at the base?"  I jumped on that and purchased two XL, in brown and gold (see a theme yet?)

Upon arrival I was disappointed, compared with my medium clips, the base was no wider, which made the slight length difference less helpful.  The XL cannot hold up my hair in a bun since it is too short and too narrow at the spiral width.

Neither the XL nor the Medium can hold my hair in a ponytail without slipping precariously throughout the day.  I start off with a tight ponytail and end up with a hair hat halfway through.

This is a neat idea that has not attained the breadth of size that it needs, nor the breadth of color that it needs.  The color options are anemic, especially for a warm colored gal.

Additionally, reading that production moved to China from the US ensures that I will never buy another ZannClip again, which is too bad.  I think this idea taken to the next level would be awesome.

Alentejo Azul - http://www.etsy.com/shop/Alentejoazul

Olivewood Hair stick.  I've never had success with hairsticks until my purchase of this wavy-legged product from Alentejo Azul.  I decided to try this wooden option out, because one stick had a skull matching curve to it and several waves within the stick that "might" hold my hair.

Indeed, it works beautifully.

I like unique pieces that aren't made in China.  I am not a fan of cheap hair things, because they break at the worst time, don't work in my hair, and destroy my thin, easily damaged locks.  While I am sure the Chinese can build beautiful, long lasting products ... our local companies are not interested in beautiful or durable, simply cheap.  Hence the vast majority of "Made in China" goods I've seen at the local market are not worth my money.

Honorable mention to
Twining Vine Designs, Out of business - formerly http://www.etsy.com/shop/TwiningVineDesigns

Her designs are so interesting because she includes an optional "wavy" stick, which gives better grip on thin hair.  I have purchased both a medium butterfly and a medium circles bun holder ... but I really need a larger size.  As a stylist told me a long time ago, "You have pretty thin hair, but there's a LOT of it!"

The unevenness of the hand-made process is more obvious in the circles bun holder, while the butterfly must have a neat little form upon which it is wrapped.  It has a more "finished" appearance in the hand.  Both pieces work beautifully well, holding my hair up off my neck well for a vigorous six hours of moving and working.    

I also like that she worked in copper (in addition to silver), for us warm toned individuals.

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