The PuffCuff: A Review

I’ve been wearing my hair natural since 2000. Worn almost every natural style; twists, locs, braids, afro, twist outs, etc. I don’t consider myself a product junkie, but a couple weeks ago, I saw this Youtube video posted on Facebook about a new hair band for creating afro puffs:

Over the years I’ve worn out too many bra strap hairbands to count creating afro puffs. Plus the bra strap style hairbands have become so hard to find now, I only know of one beauty supply store that still carries them, when I’m in the neighborhood I always stock up. So I was excited to try this new product that would save me the trouble of having to search for replacement hairbands.

Watching the demo video, the creator has about twice the length of hair as myself and perhaps not as thick. I was a bit nervous would this work on my very thick, kinky hair, and did I have enough hair to fit into it. After watching a couple of review blogs and video posts, one of which featured a blogger whose hair was similar to my own, I took a leap of faith.

Let me start off by saying I’m not being paid by any advertisers nor provided with any promotional products, so my review is totally unbiased. I’m a regular customer who did just like any other ordinary consumer would do and ordered the PuffCuff from Amazon, though you can also order it directly from their website as well.

I got the product in the mail a few days later. It resembles a huge banana clamp, except that it’s round. It’s made of the same type of plastic other hair combs are made of, strong enough to withstand ordinary use, but I would treat it delicately as it’s held together by only a small piece of metal at the center when it’s opened.

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Putting it in is as easy as it was shown in the video. Gathered my hair in the center of my hair, added the cuff around it and fastened the hooks. It took me a little while to get used to the look of it in my hair. The site recommends putting it in while your hair is damp, but I had no problem with using it while my hair was dry. If your hair is extra thick like mine, you may want to blow your hair out a bit to make it a little easier. I thought my hair was a little too short and wasn’t sure I liked the look but after a few days of wearing it, it grew on me. And after looking at a couple photos, I like it.

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One plus with the PuffCuff is that you don’t have to have loose hair. It will also work for updo styles if you wear your hair in twists, braids or locs as well. The only drawback I see is that it’s available in only one color, black. At the moment, they only sell it in one size which will tackle even the thickest heads of adult heads. But plans are in the works to add child size PuffCuffs as well. At $12 a pop, some folks may take issue with the price, but I’ve spent more on years worth of headbands that lasted for only a few uses.

I give it a definite thumbs up. I know this will get a lot of use, especially as my hair grows longer, And it’ll come in very handy on those days when I’m having a bad hair day or when I just want something simple and quick.

Fashion Show

I never got around to uploading this video, but it’s a fashion show at Vogue Knitting Live I went to back in January. Some nice inspirational garments and accessories. Enjoy!

Celestial Crown Shower Caps

I had twist extensions put into my hair about a month ago. Like many girls and women who get extension hairstyles they fall to mid back length. I can probably speak for many of those women, and for those who wear locs as well ( I had locs for 7 years) that they’ve had this struggle with regular shower caps:

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I remembered a few years ago going to a local trunk show and meeting a woman who sold oversize shower caps. I bought a couple of them and the worked well, but they had gotten old and I threw them away. After getting the extensions I couldn’t remember who I bought them from. Did a google search and came across a post from my friend Audrey from Miss Moon’s Musings. And voila! I found them. It was from Celestrial Crowns

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The Celestrial Crown shower caps are a godsend for anyone who is a regular wearer or extensions, have long locs, rock a huge fro or otherwise have some kind of big hair. They’re available in three sizes to accomodate all different lenghts of hair. I ordered the medium size to accomodate the length of my twists. They’re very roomy compared to the average extra large shower caps sold at local beauty supply stores.

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I’ve been using these shower caps for about a month and they are a keeper. Very convenient for whenever I wear extensions or have big hair. No trouble getting all my hair inside and lots of room to grow into it.

Essence Ageless Beauties

Found this video via twitter. These women are so inspiring, I wanna look that good when I get older. I’m studying all their tips.

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New finds

Did a walk through last weekend checking out this year’s Harlem Book Fair. Bought a couple of books, but also this t-shirt and earrings from a clothing vendor, 2 Lite Creations I bought one of their “Rock What You Were Born With” t-shirts at a trunk show a couple years ago and just happened to be wearing it when I ran into her stall that day. It’s one of my favorites to wear during the summer, just had to buy another one.

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my natural hair story

A few weeks ago I ran into my friend Mireille who was doing some filming at the International African Arts Festival, held every year in Brooklyn. Check out my short interview I did on the fly about why I went natural for her website, going-natural.com

Woman, thou art loosed (hair)

A week ago, I finished taking down my locs and debuted what was gonna be a twist out that ended up being a fro instead at last week’s Natural’s Night Out event.

This past weekend I went to my loctician / natural hair stylist, Tameeka for a color and style. Tameeka, who’s been my stylist for the past 7 years, is a highly creative person, Which means I don’t have to give much direction when it comes to styling, I like to just sit back and watch and see what she comes up with.

The result: a nice combo of flat twists, coils, twists and cornrows. The color, a mix of bright red and auburn did not come out as bright as expected, but it still works. Folks are still wowed by the results, just the same as when I had locs.

Natural’s Night Out 2012

A lot has happened over the past several days. First, I met a couple of friends at the annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in Madison Square Park. This was my first time attending, think of it as NYC’s version of “Memphis in May” minus the competition. If you’re used to or know the taste of real southern BBQ, then you know much of what is found in NYC barbecue restaurants is not up to par. It’s a must attend if you want the taste of what is standard fare in restaurants all over the south. There were long lines everywhere for each of the pitmasters so unfortunately I only had one platter. Some ribs and cole slaw from The Checkered Pig out of Virginia, which were really good. Nice and tender, well seasoned with just the right amount of sauce.

Afterwards on a tip from my friend Ketrina, I wound up checking out Doughnut Plant a few blocks away for something sweet. Seeing their uniquely flavored donuts on the menu triggered a memory. Years ago, I remembered watching a local news report about a man making donuts in the basement of his apartment building and selling them out of local gourmet shops. I bought one of his donuts for the first time at Dean and Deluca in Soho. As soon as I saw the pistachio donuts on the counter, I immediately recognized this was the same person now having opened not one but two stores in the city. Ended up buying a pistachio, strawberry & blueberry donut. They were just as good as I rememebered.

The next day I went to Chic and Kinky’s Natural’s Night Out which has now become an annual event.

Natural's Night Out Flyer

Natural’s Night Out 2012

I missed most of last year’s event, so I was looking forward to this one. I can say the organizers set the bar higher this year. More vendors, seminars, and a new location which included a beautiful rooftop terrace. What I like about these types of events is I get to learn about new products I would probably otherwise never had heard of. And it also serves as a gathering place for meeting friends you don’t get to see often, like Audrey from Miss Moon’s Musings.

Audrey from Miss Moon’s Musings and me

This lady gave us a great demonstration on the use of Curls products. And she has a beautiful head of hair as well.

Curls display table

According to the organizers, the event was sold out with a waiting list for tickets. One of the things I always look forward to are the swag bags with free product samples that come with attending the gatherings. Whenever I get one I feel like one of those celebs when they leave awards shows with their swag bags full of jewelry, makeup and other free goodies. Plus I got some bargains on a few others.

I never heard of Eden Body Works products until now. But I find it inspiring that the founder of the company was a teenage CEO.

I’ve yet to try Jane Carter’s curling cream but selling for $15 each was a steal!! They’re regularly sold in beauty supply stores for $30.

I noticed a lot of hair vendors have products now for enhancing curls kinky hair. At first I thought ever since Miss Jessie’s curly pudding hit the market, everyone else was just jumping on the bandwagon coming out with their own “me too” products. When I had loose hair before locing I gave the curly pudding a try with not so good results. I think the reason mainly being in my opinion Miss Jessie’s curl enhancing products are more suitable for looser textured curls. These new products claim to be designed to enhance curls on type 4 hair like my own. Now that my hair is loose again I’ll revisit the curl enhancing thing again.

My hair transition

If the above link doesn’t work try this one:

"Transition" by Zina Saro-Wiwa

This video I saw on the Huffington Post website was a bit timely. Although I’ve been relaxer free since 2000, I am undergoing a hair transition of my own. After almost 7 years of wearing locs, I’m in the midst of taking them down. I didn’t think I’d ever miss not combing my hair, but after seeing one too many fabulous looking afro, twist or cornrow style, I started to miss having my hair loose.

It’s not an impulse decision. I first began thinking about taking down my locs a little over a year ago. Decided to give myself a year to make sure this was really what I wanted to do. I promised myself if after a year, the thought of cutting off my locs was still there I would go ahead and proceed. The other thing is I like to change it up every so often. Blame the gemini that I am.

Six months later I thought maybe I would just have my locs cut shorter. Another 3 months pass, and I decided I wouldn’t be satisfied with shorter locs and if I could cut them shorter then I may as well just cut them off. My initial plan was to grow my locs out, I haven’t had them twisted since January, and then cut them off at the point of the new growth. After looking at some youtube videos of folks who combed out their locs though, on a whim, I decided to give that a try. With the metal end of a rat tail comb I managed to comb out a few locs. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, just a bit time consuming. Then I saw a youtube video where someone used one of those plaque scraping tools from the dentist’s office to pick out their locs. I later bought one at a street fair and it ended up being much easier.

Finally broke the news to my hairdresser who was slightly disappointed, but gave me some tips on making the takedown easier. I’m about roughly halfway done. I’m deliberately taking them down gradually, a few at a time due to time constraints and the fact I’ve been keeping it a secret from folks at work. I have vacation scheduled next week and I plan on surprising them when I come back with a brand new look, color & style.

Curly Pool Party 2011

Curly Pool Party 2011

Thanks to Audrey at Miss Moon’s Musings, I got a free ticket to this event. Who could turn down an invitation that included a swag bag of free hair products, a chance to have your hair done, having a body scrub done, mingling with old & new friends, all in the setting of a pool party complete with swim up bar.

After a brief stop at the Harlem Book Fair earlier in the day, I made my way down to Times Square, where the hotel was located. We were able to get in an hour earlier than the official start of the party which gave us a chance to really check out the space.

Grace Hotel pool with swim up bar

pool lounge area

The space was a bit smaller than I expected but it was nicely decorated. We enjoyed a sampling of small bites including sushi, and grabbed our swag bags before making our way to the pool area. I heard some of the organizers were a little worried that no one was going to use the pool, which I didn’t understand. How do you attend a pool party and not get in the pool? Any fears of that were swiftly put to rest. And that so-called stereotype of black women being afraid of getting their hair wet. That may still hold true for those who still relax their tresses but we in the natural world know that water is your friend (but not chlorine so do remember to shampoo your hair after swimming)

who's scared of getting their hair wet? not these ladies.

After a dip in the pool we decided to try out some of the body scrub samples at the shower area. The folks from Shea Moisture had samples from their product line, including body scrubs, masques and oils available to try.

Shea Moisture body products

Shea Moisture Lemongrass & Ginger body scrub

I decided to try out their lemongrass body scrub. I love body scrubs and I love the scent of lemongrass, especially in my hair. Similar to most other body scrubs you apply to wet skin, then rinse off. Short of booking a spa treatment, the chance to pamper yourself with some scented body products in a waterfall shower was nothing but a win-win situation. Finish off with some body oil and your skin is smooth, shiny and smelling good.

enjoying the body scrub and the shower

Next was off to the hairstyling area where representatives from Ouidad, Jane Carter and Hair Rules were offering free hairstyling with their products. The event was primarily geared towards those with loosely curled hair, there was one loctician in the building styling his own models. A Ouidad stylist suddenly grabbed my ponytail and began applying shine serum to my locs. She later commented when I “go natural” to visit their salon, which left me briefly having an awkward black girl moment. I’ve never had my locs mistaken for not being natural hair but I guess there’s a first time for everything, right?

stylist pampering my locs

The day winded down with some cocktails in the lounge area, followed by a round of tequila shots. All in all, it was a fabulous time, meeting new folks, reconnecting with old friends, lots of pampering and free hair/skin products.

Speaking of free products, gonna have a lot of fun experimenting with these shampoos, conditioners & sprays. Swag bags don’t get much better than this….

curly pool party swag bag

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