Hello curlies, I have a special PuffCuff hair clamp review and tutorial for you today.

So………have you ever visited a natural hair blog or seen a YouTuber raving about their PuffCuff?  Maybe you have viewed a popular YouTuber styling their hair in amazing styles using their PuffCuff’, speaking about its benefits and discussing how it has helped in their personal styling journey?

Have you been thinking about purchasing one or perhaps even puzzled about which size is right for you?   Well, look no further: your decision does not have to be a shot in the dark!   I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of styling your hair with the PuffCuff, and show you a simple styling video tutorial about how I personally use my PuffCuff in my personal styling regime. Ready? Let’s dive in.

What exactly is a PuffCuff?

The PuffCuff is a hair accessory which is circular in shape with wide teeth on each side. It has a hook latch closure which helps to hold it in place during styling, and a large 5-inch diameter (original sized PuffCuff) which is ideal for naturals with full/ thick, kinky, curly afro-textured hair. The widely-spaced teeth help to grip the hair in place with less pressure on the hairline or edges, and it is relatively sturdy in my opinion. I have had mine for over two years and it’s still going strong!  Furthermore, the great news is that the PuffCuff company is owned by a black lady who is a natural herself.  That’s what I like to see – naturals doing it for themselves!

Which size is right for you?

There are four different sizes, which is useful for achieving different hairstyles while offering a choice for naturals with different hair thickness. The size you purchase will ultimately depend on your personal preference, and whether or not you want a tighter or looser hold. I decided to go for the largest size because I wanted to grip all my hair and have lots of hair left out, giving the illusion of extra volume and thickness.  I would recommend choosing a size based on the thickness of your hair and the styles you would like to create.  If you’re really unsure then simply go for the largest size (in my opinion!)

puffcuff_hair_clamp_size_naturalcocodoll_puffcuff review, puffcuff U.K,

Purchasing your PuffCuff

Many of my British readers might not have heard of the PuffCuff hair clamp because it has mainly been available in the US.  As with everything else natural hair and black beauty related- it’s always bigger, better and actually available in America. However if you are interested in purchasing a PuffCuff they can now actually be ordered online at Amazon UK and even eBay, as I found out recently. The PuffCuff is not exactly cheap though, and you will have to pay for postage and packaging. However, if you feel it will work for your hair type then consider giving it a try nonetheless. When I initially purchased my PuffCuff I actually ordered it from America because it was only available in America at the time, but now it is widely available at popular online retailers.

PuffCuff hair clamp review video: How I style my hair using my PuffCuff

Check out my PuffCuff hair clamp review video tutorial (above) where I demonstrate a simple hairstyle I often wear using my PuffCuff. I’m using the original-sized PuffCuff in this video, which is the largest size in the range. I love wearing my PuffCuff in this way, as it gives my hair the illusion of so much volume and thickness. Do check out the video and please like and subscribe if you like this video and would like to see more.

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My final thoughts

Overall the PuffCuff held my hair really well and it was not a struggle to grip all my hair at the roots. There was no unnecessary pulling of my hair, and I had lots of hair left out as a result which was the main look I was trying to achieve. The PuffCuff will also give your hair the illusion of thickness- as it sits at the hair base holding the hair broadly in place. The grip is secure when in place; since the hooks that hold the clip in place are relatively large in comparison to other similar hair clips. As mentioned earlier, I would also say the PuffCuff is fairly sturdy and is unlikely to break under the pressure of your hair -even if you have extremely thick hair.

The PuffCuff is even suitable for naturals who wear their hair in locks or thick braid styles. Even though the PuffCuff has fewer teeth in comparison to the average hair clip which is kinder on the edges. This does also mean however that you do not get that extra tight grip and slicked-down sides and edges that we all love. However, I did find that my edges laid perfectly flat when I used my Eco-Styler gel.

PuffCuff hair clamp review score

In summary, if I were to give the PuffCuff a score out of 10 I would probably give it 7 out of 10 for practicality, ease-of-use and styling. I have not given it a higher rating because it’s not readily available within high street hair shops, it’s a little pricey for my liking and it does not necessarily grip in a way that keeps your sides and edges down. Overall I like my PuffCuff, and I would definitely purchase one again. I actually plan to buy another one in the original size and a smaller size, maybe the next size down. So there you have it ladies! All the relevant information I believe you actually need to make an informed decision about the PuffCuff.

Do you own a PuffCuff? What hair tools or accessories are you using for styling thick hair or giving the illusion of thick hair? Comment below to let me know if this blog post has been useful in helping you to decide whether or not to purchase.

30 Apr 2016
April 30, 2016

Hair length check April 2016

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Hello Curlies, I have another hair length check update for you.  If you frequent my blog, you will know that I am on a journey to grow healthy waist length natural hair.  At my last length check back in September 2015 my hair came in at mid-back length, despite my best efforts. I have discussed the reasons for this in a earlier blog post, but to quickly summarise, my dismal hair performance in 2015 was primarily due to neglect and lack of consistent hair care. However I am not going to major on my 2015 hair failures because it is a new year with new possibilities and as I discussed in my last post, healthy length retention is my main hair goal for 2016.

Planning for length retention success in 2016

So how do I plan to retain length? Well, I have found that protective styling is by far the easiest, stress-free way for me to retain length. In fact, I have noticed the most success when I have consistently followed a protective styling regime. My protective styling regime/challenge usually consists of set periods of protectively styling followed by periods of rest (free hair) throughout the year. My aim is to have my natural hair in protective styles for the most part of the year. My period of free hair usually involves undertaking hair strengthening, hot oil and other beneficial hair treatment which are not as convenient when wearing protective styles.  This is basically the tried and tested system I plan to use to retain as much length as possible this year, and hopefully achieve my hair goals.  I believe it is a simple formula, protective styling, persistence, consistency and patience. No magic potions or expensive lotions for me!

Sticking with what I know works for my hair

Although I do retain length without protective styling, I choose to protective style my hair because I have a busy schedule and I always opted for the route of least resistance.  As I always say, “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it”.  I definitely retain more length when I stay consistent with my tried and tested methods, products and regimes.  In my opinion, it is pointless jumping on the newest natural hair bandwagon, or any other bandwagon just because everyone is doing it. If you have already found a tried and tested system that works for you, why not stick with that until you achieve your desired results. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t try new things – I’m forever experimenting.  I am simply saying, why not try new regimes and/or products in the area where you are still not seeing results while sticking to regimens/products you know work.  Remember you don’t have to follow every natural hair craze that’s trending on YouTube, just find what works for you.

Tracking my hair growth progress 

I plan to make my protective styling regime even easier this year (as if crochet braiding wasn’t easy enough).  Either way, as I mentioned in my New Year’s blog post, it is important to track your progress when you set goals.  I believe that one of the best ways to track your progress to waist length hair (or whatever length) is to take photos in a length check T-Shirt so you can clearly see your progress (see my photos below).

Front hair length check photos April 2016

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 Back hair length check photos April 2016

Hair length check, naturalcocodoll, length check t-shirt, natural hair, t-shirt, length check tee, natural hair length check t-shirt

Tracking and recording your progress visually is important, especially if you have super shrinkage like myself, notice how my hair without pulling looks like it is about armpit length.  This visual aid will help me to keep track and record my progress giving me that much-needed motivation and confirmation that my hair is actually growing.  Kinky hair, especially tightly curled Type 4 hair, has the tendency not to show it true length even when stretched. Only by actually pulling my already stretched hair can I actually see my true length.  It is important for Type 4 hair women to closely monitor their hair growth and not to give up on the journey wrongly believing it is “not growing”.

What method do you use to retain length?  Do you do regular hair length checks? Have you found your tried and tested length retention regime? Comment below to let me know what is your go-to protective style.

Happy hair journey

Colleen xx

When I first received my surprise invitation to be a bridesmaid at my good friend’s wedding, far from been at a loss as to how I would be styling my medium length natural hair for a wedding, I was actually wondering which amazing style should I pull from my treasure chest of natural hairstyles. After a brief look at a couple of YouTube videos and Pinterest photos to help me decide, I was finally left with the difficult choice between a mega empress bun and an elegant sophisticated afro Mohawk.  After much deliberation, I finally decided to choose a mega bun; not only is this style super easy to create, but it never fails to attract a flurry of compliments (plus I could only find one banana clip).

With the right knowledge and experience, styling natural hair on a daily basis should be a five minute job.  However, equally as important are those special events such as weddings, banquets, promising dates or that very special prom. These occasions should not pose a problem for the natural sister when it comes to styling her kinky, curly, coily, wavy natural hair. Check out my YouTube video above on how I achieved my perfect “mega bun” hairstyle.

Step-by-step styling guide: How I created my mega bun on medium length natural hair for the wedding

Styling medium length natural hair for a wedding

1.)    I usually start with stretched hair after an old braided out.

2.)    Using my trusted bristle brush, I brush my hair up to the crown of my head, ensuring all my stray hair strands are slicked back.

3.)    I add moisture to my hair before styling by applying Giovanni direct leave-in conditioner to my hair and ends.

4.)    I always use my trusted Eco-styler argon oil gel, as I like to slick down my edges and give my styles a super sleek appearance.

5.)    Using a zig zag hair band, I secure my hair at the crown of my head. I always ensure a large circumference area is gripped with the zig zag band to make sure I have more than enough hair left out for the different sections of the mega bun.

6.)    Using one leg of an old pair of tights, I secure the zig zag hair band so that my hair feels super secure and to also help my edges lay flat.

7.)    Using a small section of hair at the very centre of the hair that is left out, I secure a small mini bun. This mini bun will form the base of the rest for the hair style, as this is where the other sections of the bun will be secured.

8.)    I then twist two “chunky” twists, one on each side of the zigzag hair band, just above my ear. These twists will hide the zig zag band and tights as well as add an elegant detail to the finished style.

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Hello ladies, how are things going?

If you are anything like me when it comes to your hair you may find yourself wanting length, length and more length!  I’m not quite sure why I am so obsessed with long hair but as far back as I can remember I have always wanted long hair. In fact my desire for long hair was one of the main reasons why I chemically straightened my hair in my early teens. I somehow believed that if I relaxed my hair it would be “easier to manage” and I would therefore grow thicker, longer, healthier hair. Little did I know back then that this was a lie and I would actually experience damaged, thin, breaking hair!

Today after soldiering on my natural hair journey I am now at a healthy mid back length MBL (see chart below) and I hope to achieve waist length hair by 2016/2017. Despite my healthy MBL I have not progressed as far as I would have liked to in 2015.  It is safe to say that I have not retained as much length as I had hoped and consequently I have not progressed much further towards my goal length.

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog,

The truth is I have been inconsistent with my hair care regime and that’s putting it lightly.  In between working full-time, studying part-time, participating in my local church, having a social life and trying to blog, my natural hair has suffered and languished for want of real care and attention. To make matters worse I have not maintained my healthy eating and exercise regime. It’s not all bad though, since I have retained a couple of inches and my hair is still relatively thick and healthy despite using random hair products (ran out of my staples) and stupid attempts to wash my hair in super quick time on the odd wash day!

Photos from my last hair length check (August 2015)

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Despite what I believe has been a dismal hair year so far, I am still positive about achieving my goal of waist length. I know for a fact, that when I am consistent and religiously stick to my hair care regime I retain practically all my length. I plan to be militant especially when it comes to practices that matter most, like protective styling. If I can break through my MBL plateau I know I’ll definitely make it!

looking back at my 2015 hair related goals

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…………..”

The bible says “where there is no vision, the people perish………….” and you may have heard it said, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. Many of us plan for most things but for those of us who are on a healthy hair journey, we often fail to plan how we will go about maintaining healthy natural hair. I am a keen goal setter and I strongly believe that goal setting and planning is important for success in any endeavour (even your hair).  At the beginning of the year I decided to set myself different goals including hair related goals and I also identified some of the most important habits and practices which I felt would be important in my hair growth journey. These were my hair related goals at the start of the year:

  1. Get back on my healthy eating and exercise plan
  2. Be consistent at all times with my hair care regime
  3. Wear my hair in crochet braid protective style for 70-80% of the time
  4. Make sure I don’t run out of my must have staple hair care products
  5. Retain as much length as possible

So my goals were set and I had hoped to make much progress but despite my best efforts (well sort of best efforts) I have actually made very little progress “sigh”! To make matters worse I actually believe I have lost some length through damage and I don’t want to admit it but I actually really badly need a trim – shock horror!!!!! I’ve carefully analysed the situation and I know for a fact that certain practices have contributed more than others to my current hair state. For example I have not consistently finger detangled my hair before cleansing, I have not detangled my hair with a wide tooth comb when wet, I certainly have not deep conditioned after every wash, I have not crochet braided my hair for 8 weeks at a time, for 7-8 months out of the year.  I have not kept my hair moisturised at all times when in crochet braids, I know I did not stick to my basic staple products and I don’t recall having any hair strengthening treatment between crochet braid installs – all bad news. Despite my poor hair care performance I still managed to maintain relatively healthy hair which is probably because I have not ignored every rule in the natural hair rule book. I still followed low manipulation principles and I still take my time on the majority of wash days (although not all) which I guess has counted for something. You can see that my hair still looks pretty decent in these photos from a recent wedding I attended where I was a bridesmaid (below). Yes, it’s all my hair with no extra hair added!

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

Going forward I definitely plan to do better, especially after I have seen the obvious consequences when I don’t. My first step on my road to getting back on track to healthier hair and far more length retention will be to contact my faithful African hair lady and get my hair crochet braided. This has always been my hassle free way to improve my hair health and retain length. Crochet braiding also makes it easier for me to maintain some of the other practices that I feel work well for my hair (see how I do my crochet braids blog post). If I stick to my guns and actually remain consistent with my hair care I may actually break through my MBL plateau.

I know I have not been a very consistent blogger but I am planning on doing better with blogging too so you should be seeing more blog posts from me. In fact I may do a blog post on how I achieved my mega empress bun in my bridesmaid photos.

X

Colleen

If you live in the West Midlands you will know that the minority of natural hair events often take place in London, usually on a Saturday. This is why I am so pleased to see a natural hair event in Birmingham, right on my door step. The show is also on a Sunday which is more convenient for me since I attend church most Saturdays. It’s the perfect way to start the new year, with the opportunity to network, learn, socialis and meet like-minded naturals. There will be hair demos, expert advice, consultations, Q&A sessions and giveaways featured at the show. You can buy your ticket (£20) here: www.ticketsource.co.uk/napturallyhappyhair

Event venue: The Birmingham IET Austin Court

The event will take place on Sunday 4th January 2015 (sponsored by Napturally Happy Hair) at:

IET Birmingham Austin Court
80 Cambridge Street
Birmingham
B1 2NP

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So who is Cassandre Beccai?

If you frequent Facebook or many of the very popular natural hair blogs you would have no doubt seen Cassandre Beccai. She has not been on the natural hair scene very long but her popularity as a YouTuber has steadily grown. Cassandre has been natural for over 9+ years and like myself she has 4b natural hair, I like to follow and watch naturals who have similar hair textures to myself. I absolutely love Cassandre’s hair length and I quite like the different styles she often demonstrates on her blog. For those who don’t know who Cassandre is you may recognise her in the photos below:

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Hello Ladies,

I’m a firm believer in keeping my natural hair journey simple especially when it comes to styling. The comment I get frequently from many aspiring naturals is that natural hair is so “difficult to maintain” and that it is hard to find suitable hair styles. I also receive comments about the need for preparing hair from the night before – “It’s all so much hard work!” they exclaim. Well my answers to these refutable claims are simple. No, you don’t have to spend hours styling your hair, no it’s not too much hard work to style and no you don’t have to find a thousand different ways to style your natural hair if you are not so inclined.

If you frequent my Facebook or my Instagram account you will know that I love me some hairstyles and the bigger the better, but if you’re not into all that fancy, that’s O.k! In fact you don’t need to know a thousand ways to style your hair to stay on or begin your natural hair journey. If you can only manage to style your hair into a bun for work, school and play, again that’s O.k.  I will show you how I style my hair into a simple high bun – which literally takes 5 minutes and then accessories the same bun for all occasions and I mean all occasions.

Where I purchase my accessories
So where do I buy all my accessories you might ask? Well….. you can buy hair accessories just about anywhere, for example your local black hair shop, but I like to buy my hair accessories from the high street. You can find an array of hair accessories for any occasion from shops such as H&M, Forever21, Claire’s accessories and even Primark to name but a few. Look at the different hair accessories you can pick up on your local high street (below) – well for me Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham City Centre since everywhere else is usually closed by the time I finish work.

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Check out my recent purchases from Claire’s accessories (below), they were a lot more expensive than I had hoped but I did manage to find exactly what I was looking for:

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How I create my high bun: 

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Sept 1: Start with freshly washed air dried stretched hair. Brush hair into a extra high ponytail and secure with a banana clip.

The banana clip I use

The banana clip I use

Step 2: Once you have secured your banana clip. Section your hair into four sections and loosely twist the ends of each section.

Step 3: Join the ends of each section together and braid the four ends together so that you have your bun with a little braid at the top.

Step 4: Tuck the braided section under into the bun and secure it with a bobby pin or two.

So there you are, four quick and easy steps to create your high bun. The finished style should be firmly secured with the aid of more than enough bobby pins.

How I accessories my high bun for different occasions

IMG_5244.JPG The work or college look (keeping it simple):

IMG_5247.JPGThe headscarf look:

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Hello ladies,

I am frequently asked how I achieve my hair length and what methods I use to retain length, well it’s not a big secret really and to be honest I’ve chosen the easy route to long heathy hair. For those of you who do not know, I attribute much of my hair growth and length retention to ‘protective styling’ and my number one means of protective styling at the moment is crochet braiding. Crochet braiding is a technique that involves cornrowing your own hair and simply attaching loose hair to the cornrows using a crochet needle in a ‘latch hook method’. Please check out my new YouTube video to see how I achieve my ‘natural look’ crochet braid-out look with mode model Marley braiding hair. I’m both an advocate and massive fan of this method of protective styling!  For my sisters who have not yet discovered crochet braids or for those who would like to give crochet braiding a go, here are 15 reasons why I think crochet braiding is the ideal protective style.

  1. Crochet braids are easy and quick to install, especially if you pay a professional to install them for you. They take between 3-4 hours to install once your hair has been cornrowed.
  2. Your entire hair is allowed to rest underneath in the cornrows.
  3. They are a time saver, in most cases you can literally get up and go because daily styling is relatively simple.
  4. There is no need to leave out your own natural hair but you can choose to do so if you wish.
  5. The strands of your own hair are not all intertwined with the extension again reducing the tension placed upon your own hair strands.
  6. There is no daily styling, brushing, combing or manipulation of your own natural hair therefore allowing your own hair to grow and rest. You are therefore able to retain all your growth and so help to retain length. This is what I call 100% protective styling at its very best.
  7. They look extremely natural and if installed correctly they look very much like your own natural hair.
  8. You can wash/cleanse your natural hair while wearing crochet braids, giving your own hair the much needed moisture it requires to remain healthy and grow.
  9. You can easily oil your scalp and moisturise your natural hair, thereby preventing dryness and ensuring your hair is less prone to breakage (I have a post coming up about how to do this- so stay tuned).
  10. They look really, really good and they actually look even better the longer you have them in.
  11. No glue, tread or chemicals required.
  12. Crochet braids are kinder to your edges than conventional braids since your hair underneath is cornrowed.
  13. Crochet braiding is inexpensive with two bags of Model Model Marley braids costing only £7.89 (you only need one and a half bags) perfect in a time of recession when you might have more important things to spend your money on i.e shoes! Lol
  14. You can use different types of synthetic hair not just Marley hair, for example water wave, kanakelon, expressions etc
  15. They are quick and easy to take out – simply cut the Marley braid just above the cornrows and then take down the cornrows and the reminder Marley hair will simply come out.

So if you have not already, it might be worthwhile giving crochet braids a go?  Considering all the positives I have listed above I personally believe crochet braiding has many advantages when compared to weaves or other braiding methods.

What you will need:

1.) Model Model Marley braid 1 or 1B

Model model marley braiding hair

Model Model Marley braiding hair

 

2.) Crochet needle

Crochet needle for installing marley braiding hair

Crochet needle for installing Marley braiding hair

 

My 10 top tips for installing crochet braids:

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