Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pictures of My (Sorta) Big Chop

Pictures of hair below * 

“Are you sure?” the stylist asked … and then, “Are you sure you're sure?” 

Chop it down,” I said, "Have at it."

I'd spent what felt like a century with hair winding down my back. Plus, I'd already lopped off a few inches just months before so it was just above BSL. I'd been having several variations on the same dream, where I looked into a mirror to see my short hair reflected back. I awakened from these dreams smiling. I knew it was time.

I shampooed my hair the night before the appointment. So after she did some initial dry cutting, the stylist wet it down and finger-combed it, using DevaCurl Heaven in Hair, which doubled as a conditioner and styler. She set me under the hood dryer for a while then shaped my cut a little more. It wasn't her fault that I ended up with shorter hair than what I'd anticipated. She kept asking if I wanted more taken off, and I kept telling her yeah, drunk on the idea that the more hair she took off, the easier my overall hair care routine would be. (That turned out to be mostly true.) But some of the time I think she kept cutting because she was aiming for precision. Even though I showed her pics of my desired cut, cutting an (angled) inverted bob can be tricky on very curly hair. She did a good job.

I'm pretty happy with going short. Here are a few pics of my cut. They were taken a couple days afterward. I hadn't washed or re-styled it, which explains some of the disheveled pieces and some of the frizz (but really my hair tends to frizz anyway).

This pic taught me just how dirty the bottom of my mirror was, plus I inadvertently included the garbage can. Classy, huh? Haha

Hard to tell it's an inverted bob from this front view. Arm got "cut off" cause I was in a hurry to take this & the next pic :0  

Hopefully those straggly, rogue pieces on the right side add spice to the mix. 

  ... What's most surprising is how many styles I'm able to create with this short cut. I may post some of those styles in one of my next blogs. Thanks for stopping by!

Turn a Nightmare Product into a Dream

Oh the fortune I've spent on hair products that failed! Like the ones that left my hair dry, or distorted my curl pattern; the concoctions that weighed down my curls, leaving them with a waxy or greasy film, or limp! 

It still happens, of course. Sometimes the ingredients just aren't compatible with my particular head of curls. But sometimes a failed hair product is actually a good or Heavenly product in disguise. It depends on when or how that product is used.  


In dry weather, a conditioner or styling product may be very drying or may distort a curl pattern because of certain ingredients (like glycerin), but work perfectly in a more humid season, or climate. I find that a lot of glycerin-heavy products make a tumbleweed out of me in dry weather but work quite well when the humidity is moderately high. Google something like “curly hair products and dew points” for helpful info on climate and appropriate ingredients.

The Dilution Solution

Hybrid Cleansers

Sulfate-based shampoo can be diluted with water (I used distilled, as explained below), or with cheap conditioner, for a more gentle cleansing session. When a non-sulfate shampoo isn't available, a shampoo/conditioner combo might be the perfect solution for hair that gets too oily without shampoo, but too weighed down by co-washing only. 

Conditioners & Stylers

I have a copious medium-textured mane of 3b/c/a curls; normal elasticity, porosity ranges right now from normal to low … so it didn't surprise me when my hair was stiff, greasy and weighed down after using a conditioner and a styler from the SheaMoisture line - Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle. The ingredients are quite rich with oil. Because I liked the natural ingredients listed and it was an expensive purchase, I decided to experiment with it. (The type of experiment below might also work with Kinky Curly Curling Custard, another rich, heavy styler.)


Mixed some of the smoothie w/distilled H20 – 1:1 ratio (half and half). Apply.


Mixed some of the gel w/distilled H20 - 4:1 ratio (¾ gel to ¼ H20). Apply.

I mostly choose distilled water because it's more gentle on my hair than my shower water, which contains a lot of minerals. When experimenting, I only use a few ounces of product at a time. I lucked out with my first formula (above).

Result: perfectly accentuated ringlets, shine, body and perfect hold. It was a little crunchy as it dried but once dry, it was soft, not stiff, limp or greasy. In fact, last week after using this mixture, I got caught outside in the rain with my hair exposed. Still, my hair held up beautifully.

Some benefits of diluting a heavy conditioner or styler:

1. Less is more, and can help delay or prevent product buildup.
2. You keep what you paid for.
3. Your purchase lasts longer, which means you save money.
4. Diluting products is great if you're heavy-handed when applying stuff (which leads back to benefit #1).
5. Diluting can reduce drying time. 

Have you experimented with your products to improve them? What were your results?   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Curly Hair Secrets Revealed

Congrats! You've wiggled out of your “fake straight hair” straight jacket and fled the asylum. You were never the crazy one. Society is crazy for setting up curl restraints to begin with. Now you embrace your naturally curly hair. OK, mostly you embrace it.  ... Or do you envy others' curls maybe a bit too much? Either way, below are some facts that could boost your appreciation for your own curls:

1 day, 2 day, 3 day hair

Waves and loose curls are often softer and shinier than tighter curls because it's easier for the sebum (natural oil from the scalp) to migrate down the shaft of less curly hair. The downshot of that is looser curls and waves that get oily, flat and over-conditioned more easily. Also, when curl patterns are weaker and softer, curls tend to get pulled out of place easily, especially in wind or when slept on. That makes wavy and loosely curly hair more challenging in terms of holding shape, or a style. All these issues lead to more wash days and styling efforts. Then again, stronger curl patterns and coils tend to get drier more easily, tend to have less shine and are often more frizz-prone than wavy or loosely curly hair. Detangling waves or loose curls is relatively easy. A plus point for curlier hair: depending on tendency to frizz, curlier types can often go 2, 3, 4 days … up to a full week or more before the curls are frazzled and in need of more washing/styling. The clear winner here is … every curl type!

Volume and body: captivating and overwhelming

Big hair is often viewed as sexy and alluring. It probably does attract mates the way a large plume of feathers attracts peahens to a peacock. Thing is, while you're envying someone's amazing volume, s/he may see it as too big, too difficult to manage and high maintenance. It often takes foreeeever to wash and detangle. Still, there's a lot to love about a voluminous mane. It still looks great as it thins with age.

Hang” can be a drag

Part of the majestic beauty of kinky/coily hair is its fantastic root lift. That means less or no hair falling into the eyes and face. But instead of lift, k/c types often want “hang” and more length. Truth is, “hang” can be a drag for those of us who naturally have it (the wavy and curly types). So what's the upshot for those of us with hang, droop and drag? … Easier detangling sessions, as a general rule, because the curls are looser.

Growth rate: don't assume fast equals good

If you're a sprouter (hair grows quickly), that razored pixie-mullet you suffered will practically grow itself out overnight. If your hair grows slowly, well, not so much. 

But if you love your cut and have slow growth, your look will last a while, whereas the sprouter will spend more money on a bunch of trims to preserve the cut. Also, sprouters often get so sick of getting cuts they just let their hair wind down their backs. That may not be the most flattering look for folks with no necks; folks with very long or wide faces, or for very short people. Long hair also means more product and far more time spent on it. Fast or slow: both have pros and cons. Average growth? You dodged the extreme disadvantages and advantages of both.

… Hopefully you and I are doing our best to embrace what nature gave us, otherwise it starts feeling like the days when we straightened to achieve someone else's idea of how we should look. 


The Allure of Short Curls

Reasons to Go SHORT

Short, naturally curly hair is spectacular and unique, even when it's disheveled! Just be sure to do your research and understand what you want before seeing your stylist. Here are some of the rewards you could reap from going short:

Improved State of Hair

Longer hair is older hair that's been exposed to a lot of wind, weather changes, mechanical damage, and other stressors. Cutting it off is like hitting “reset”. You get new, healthy curls!

The Look

The right cut can emphasize and flatter facial features. You get more volume.Volume masks thinning hair better too. You look taller (if that's appealing to you).

Practicality / Convenience

Shorter means less time and effort spent on detangling (but could mean more time spent styling). Your hair will air dry more quickly and your hair will blow dry more quickly too.

Easier exercise sessions. Short hair doesn't have to be pulled back, so you can stay cooler. Super short and TWA cuts are ready-made, low-maintenance styles. Hats and swimming caps fit more easily.

Short hair is more acceptable in many business settings. All of your wet hair may finally fit inside a hood dryer! Yay! You stay cooler in warm weather and in warm climates. There's less hair around the house and less clogging of the tub. You might be able to ditch the headache-inducing pineapple for an easy overnight bonnet.

No more accidentally sitting on your hair. Less accidental tugging and pulling of hair. No more – or far fewer - frazzled curls from zippers, necklaces and seat belt straps. You'll eat food instead of hairy food. Less hair will get caught in and on everything. 

(For you violent types ... ) When your back is to the wall and your enemy has removed her stilettos and her earrings and she's ready to throw down, you'll have less hair for her to grab and twist!

Weight is lifted off you, literally! (Fewer headaches because of it too.)


Less product is needed, so it's easier on the wallet (though certain styles may require more frequent trims). Salon services cost less when you already have short hair.


Going short could mean you're letting go of more than just your hair. Your cut could also be a physical action symbolizing a willingness to release an emotional burden. A new, low-maintenance cut can feel deeply satisfying following a recent break up with a high-maintenance putz of an ex-boyfriend. Or maybe going short is a way to express a willingness to accept (or celebrate) one of life's many changes. 

… What do you think of short hair? Long hair? Are you satisfied with your length?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Curl-bashing & How to Respond


Our curls: we take them into the world to endure wind, UV rays, extreme weather, and silly, insensitive, obnoxious remarks! It's always wonderful to receive a genuine compliment, and that person always deserves a gracious response. But then there are all those comments that are innocent but intrusive, ignorant, or downright diabolical.

Here is a list of comments I've received or over-heard. The responses were designed to educate a few people, or at least make them think twice about what they're saying. Though I rarely suffer negative hair comments, I have suffered them - they are included  below and the responses I gave at the time are in black print.

You should straighten your hair.
You should curl yours.

Why do you wear your hair like that?
Because I'm cute. / To disturb you. / Because you can't.

How'd you get your hair to do that?
I crossed my eyes and hopped across my lawn at midnight, under a full moon.

Will you straighten your hair for the prom / the wedding / your job interview?
No, I'd rather look amazing. 

Don't you own a brush?
Yep, I agree, you don't understand curly hair.

Why do you leave your hair curly?
Why do you leave yours flat?

Is that real?
No, it was on sale at 7-11.

You must hate your hair.
You must hate yours.

I love your hair ... You should straighten it!
I love my hair too ... especially my curls!

Your hair is huge. How do you cope?
I think of how much yours will thin out as you age.

That's a rat's nest / tumble weed / mop / blob / frizz ball / poodle / helmet / Q-tip / pubic mound / circus clown / hobo / Madusa / Chia Pet ...

Whoever you're talking to must think you're crazy.

... What have people said about your hair? What have you said back?

Curl Compliments

Comment: "You have beautiful curls ...  really beautiful."
Response: "I hate my hair."

You may not agree that you have beautiful curly hair when someone pays this kind of straight-forward curl compliment. And because the Universe is ineffable and fundamentally entertaining, the majority of curly compliments are collected on "bad hair days", making it even harder to accept that person's kind words.  What makes "I hate my hair" a troublesome response, even if it is genuine, is that it's ungrateful. A compliment is a present that a person bestows upon you. A compliment is an act of generosity. An unqualified "thank you" for that gift shows gratitude and allows you or me an opportunity to accept something positive into what is often a hectic, stressful day. 

Comment: "Wow, you have great hair!"
Response: "No I don't. It sucks. You have great hair!"

This can be really awkward for the complimenter. Suddenly a simple compliment has become the foundation for a negative comparison.

Yes, you may genuinely think the person somehow has "better" hair. But if that's true, there's no reason not to graciously accept their compliment and then praise that person's hair in return, without insulting your own hair.

As we curlies learn to embrace our hair, the "My hair sucks, yours is great" line represents a type of trap that people in American culture, especially women, tend to fall into. Many of us have been  taught that being apologetic or self-deprecating is noble, or that it somehow morally elevates us; that wholeheartedly embracing compliments make us look overly-confident, stuck up or too proud. Well, it's worth the risk, in my opinion. It's healthy to be positive about oneself.

Comment: "Your hair is amazing. People pay a fortune trying to get your curls."
Response: "That's crazy. My hair is a nightmare."

Our negative responses to compliments don't just affect us individually. Unfortunately, when so many of us downplay our curly hair, it re-inforces the societal message that we all hate our curls. And we all know what that results in: An onslaught of trollish remarks from people who assume we all hate our curly hair, plus those crazed anti-curly straightening wand sales people chasing us down in malls across the country  ;)

... Have a wonderful curly day :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Holy Grail Syndrome

Here are a few uncomfortable thoughts many of us have about our hair, especially at the start of our naturally curly journeys:

I covet [Jane Doe's] perfectly formed curls
I covet tighter curls
I covet looser curls
I long for root volume  [I suffered this one]
I long for “hang” rather than volume
I loathe frizz
I want shine [or more shine]
If only my hair were softer
If only my hair could …

It's natural to appreciate what others have, or what we don't have. It's natural to have hair envy sometimes. But an unhealthy extreme is Holy Grail Syndrome. HGS is not to be confused with a simple, casual mention of a “holy grail” product. A holy grail label in itself isn't problematic and can be an exaggerated way to describe a product that is especially suitable to a particular head of hair.

Here are the problematic symptoms of the syndrome I call HGS:

Obsessively searching for the “perfect” product or hair care method.
A constant need to attain or maintain “perfect” curls. (Agitation or upset when hair is mildly “off”)
Excessive time/energy/money spent researching and buying product and equipment
Repeatedly discovering a so-called HG product, followed by dismay when it stops working
Daily complaints or negative thoughts about hair

HGS is as crappy as "flat-iron affliction" or being "straight-struck" because HGS involves a lack of acceptance of one's natural curls. Obsessively chasing after holy grail products fails because nothing in life, including hair, is perfect.

Practical advice: If you have to throw a bucket of products at your hair to get it to look a certain way, your hair probably wasn't meant to look that way and it will let you know because all those products will stop working the way you want them to. You could also suffer build up or protein overload as a result.

General advice: Holy grail chasing is expensive and elusive. If you're obsessing about your hair, consider where you'd place all that energy and all those thoughts if you had no hair to obsess about.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Is it time for a major cut?

7 Questions to Ask Yourself  (before the major cut)

Is less more?

Since you can't - or shouldn't? - take hair that fell onto the floor and stick it back onto your head, one option is to go with a cut that's less drastic, then cut more off later. If your immediate reaction to this question was, “No, I wanna go all the way!” you're probably ready for a major change. Even so, you can always research less extreme cuts, in case you feel hesitant after climbing into the stylist's chair.

Do you know exactly what you want and who is likely to deliver it?

With a little planning, we curlies can greatly increase our odds of getting a terrific cut. It helps to get specific about what we want and don't want, and communicate that to the stylist before the scissors come out. Two ways to do this: First, show the stylist pics. Second, specify how much hair you want taken off. Google pics of your desired cut from all angles possible and bring the images to show your stylist. Ideally those images approximate your curl pattern and texture. Decide how much hair you want cut off (quarter inch, half inch, inch/es … rough estimate). Do you want it cut wet or dry? Not sure? Google it. You can research curl-specialty cuts like the “Deva cut” or “Ouidad cut” to help you decide.

As for who is likely to deliver a great cut: Once you locate a salon/stylist of interest, search consumer review websites like yelp to ensure the stylist has a good reputation and is good with your type of curly hair. I've done this by googling “[name of salon or stylist] reviews”. Several review sites usually pop up. If you want, you can also call for consultations.

How much maintenance will be required?

Consider what tools and accessories you'll need after your cut. Styling may take longer. New or different styling products may be required. You may need more frequent trims or cuts. The new regimen may cost more.

Is the cut you want work friendly?

Ideally, your new cut will be work appropriate, unless you despise your boss and want to be joblessly stunning. If you're seriously unsure, it might be best to choose a different cut. 

What are your expectations and what will you do if they aren't met?

Since there's always a possibility your result will be unsatisfactory, think up one or two practical ways to handle a cutting mishap. For ex., if someone cuts your hair too short, it will help if you have a style in mind for a corrective (shorter) cut. Having a contingency plan helps reduce anxiety before going under the scissors. It's also good to bring a head band, hat, or clips to the salon, Those can help you immediately manage a less than perfect cut. And remember: even if a stylist knocks you out and shaves every hair off your head, hair grows back. You'll survive.

If you plan to do a BC (Big Chop), are you ready to accept your natural texture and learn a new routine?

This question assumes you'll be chopping off processed hair to allow your natural curls to grow out. If you can't recall your natural hair texture and curl type, you may end up with something different than you planned for. It's important to research care for various hair types and read about or talk to people who've BCed to understand the joys and challenges of the naturally curly or coily hair journey.

How will you communicate your needs to your stylist?

What will you do if you start feeling uncomfortable with something your stylist says or does? Considering your response ahead of time will make it easier for you to advocate for what you want in the moment. Know that you always have the right to say “Stop!” Don't worry about hurting the stylist's feelings. It's your hair. You don't need to explain yourself. Just say you aren't comfortable and get up. Stylists deal with this response more often than you think. And they have no business insisting you go along with something that you are paying them for. 
I'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences. To read another blog of mine on this subject, click on Thinking About Cutting Your Hair? Read This ... 

Have a happy, curly day! 

Thinking About Cutting Your Hair? Read This ...

*  Before reading this post, you may want to visit the 7 Questions page. * After each question is some commentary. The questions can be used as a guide, as you think about whether or not to cut your curls. ... Below are further thoughts on the topic.

The impact of cutting

Whether it's ringlets, coils or waves, most of us ponder a style-altering cut at some point. Cutting off a few inches or more can have consequences and may require more commitment. Curl/wave patterns can change when cut, posing a styling challenge. In general, a well-executed cut offers added body and movement, creates a healthier look, and can simplify a hair care routine and deepen one's love for curls.

My latest cut (and how I reacted)

I cut my hair last month. For part of my adult life it was short, as in neck exposed - all sorts of punk rock hairdos, shaved and unshaved. For the past 10 or so years it's been very long – as in mid-back to tailbone length. In the past few years I added layers, still keeping the length. A month ago I cut it to my shoulders with fewer layers. I do not miss the length at all, love my cut and am hungry for my next shorter cut! I was simply bored with the same long look. Cutting it still felt like a risk, but I did the kind of research discussed on the 7 Questions page. The more diligent my research, the better my reaction to any cut – even a Hellish cut. My nightmare cuts were usually the result of my lacking research into the stylist, or the cut. That and failing to speak up when I didn't like what a stylist was doing. Those cuts made me resentful toward both the stylist and myself. That said, there's no sin in getting a spontaneous cut with little forethought as long the possible consequences are understood. And even if you the cut is horrifically shocking …

Good news: a bad hair cut is just a delayed happy ending

Hair almost always grows back. Most of us curlies have had some really disappointing outcomes. At first it may feel a little hollow, those words “it'll grow back”, but it's true! In the meantime, I've found that a little creativity helps soften the blow: hair bands, barrettes, braids, scarves, hats, new hair color, new collection of fun earrings, bolder makeup … or even a decision to get a shorter, sassier cut. Sometimes it's good to focus away from the hair for a moment and just let it be. If looked at philosophically, the unhappy cut could be an education about what doesn't work well, or an opportunity to cultivate some patience. Or maybe there's no lesson to learn. Maybe the stylist just turned out to do a crappy job that day, despite glowing online reviews. I recall a couple times when the cut itself looked spectacular but was just seven shades of wrong with my particular face and skull shape. I laugh about that now ;)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The NYT's Anti-curl Article

An article called “Taming Summer Curls” was posted on June 26, 2013 in the New York Times in the “Fashion & Style” section. It is causing a stir in the naturally curly-haired community. The title of the article is provocative. It implies curly hair must be spade rather than styled; conquered rather than enjoyed.

Two products and one styling tool are featured.

The first product is innocent: a basic styler that locks in moisture.

The second product is alleged to mimic a Brazilian keratin treatment. As many of us curlies know, keratin treatments are used to loosen curls and/or straighten them (but some people only acknowledge it as a means of “frizz control”).

The third product touted as a means to “tame curls” is a flat iron. Yes, a flat iron. That's like handing a Jheri curl kit to someone with bone straight hair and telling her it's a way to “enhance” her bone straight hair. No it's not and never was. It's a way to completely alter her look so that it's the exact opposite of what she was born with ... as are flat irons for curly hair.

Sadly, there's nothing unusually humiliating or disgusting about the NYT article. Once you look beyond your initial irritation or outrage, the truth snaps back into focus: Yes, people – especially marketers and the minion authors they sponsor - can be insensitive. But wait ...

For every one of us curl-embracing curlies I run into, there are ten more curlies who are quick to agree with straighties that their curls are horrible and all they want is straightened hair. When 60%+ of the population has non-straight hair and maybe 80% of those wavy/curly people support straightening products, The NYT is (sadly) playing up the products that most curly-haired people are interested in buying. They are catering to what most of their target audience wants.

Too many straight-haired folks have said things to me like, "Your hair is amazing, but you probably hate it, right?" … Why do they say that? Oh yeah, because too many curlies actually do respond to curly compliments by saying they hate their hair.

If more curly-haired people accepted their waves, ridges, slopes, kinks, corks and curls, the Times and other publications wouldn't feel perfectly comfortable writing articles like the aforementioned. Powerful hair care companies would go out of business overnight.

... I think we proud naturally curly folks need to own that a lot of our curly kinfolk are the reason these straightening articles exist and work. At the same time, thank goodness we're upset about it because it does need to change.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Temple Twirling Method (A Curl Set Tutorial)

Intro (Includes before/after pics)
Technique (Includes a step by step guide)
More about TTM


Back when I was a kid, my mom decided the best way to handle my naturally curly, thick mane was to lazily throw it into a high ponytail so everything was reduced to a single curl that looked like this:

This is one of my curls today, w/color boost added in Picasa. 

Here's an example of this style on Jessica Alba, except my one curl was positioned much higher, at the crown of my head:


My mom whirled all that curly hair into a single cyclonic configuration, using one or two fingers and the edge of a comb. (I doubt the comb was necessary.) By throwing my hair back into one “twirly curl”, she was taking advantage of curly hair's natural tendency to spiral and clump. And that heinous style was easy to create and low maintenance for her.

Reminiscing about that odd hairstyle led to some experimentation and something I created and call the Temple Twirling Method. It's named after Shirley Temple, the actress and singer. While wet, the look of the TTM set mimics Shirley's hair, although the finished look can be modified to look more natural and less “polished”. Here are quick before and after pics. It's my hair. Please ignore that ungraceful “shelf” of hair in the before pic:




     Not better or worse, just different IMO. The is a close up shot, to emphasize the 
difference in curl pattern.

The Temple Twirling Method (TTM) * is created by the simple twirling action of one or two fingers. TTM is one more organized approach to curly styling. It takes advantage of curly hair's natural tendency to clump and spiral. It is most similar to Jonathon Torch's Skip Curl Method * and somewhat like the Unicorn Method * … Admittedly, I'm just too lazy to form dozens of small curls and make the unnecessary “skipping” motion for each curl as required by The Skip Curl Method. The Unicorn Method may work for some, but it turns my curls into an undefined mess.  

Who the TTM set works best on: Ideally, your hair will have a natural tendency to clump and you will probably have a strong curl pattern. This can be any curl “type”, but my best guess is this set will usually work best for curls ranging from 2c to 3c (curl diameter size). 

I did a TTM set on Naomi, a beautiful cosmetology mannequin head I recently bought. She came with longer hair but I cut it short.

Here are pics of Naomi's hair before and after the TTM set.

Once dry, more volume can be attained by birthing * (separating) the curls even more than I did here. I'll explain that method below.                            


Arranging sections: After clearing tangles from your wet hair, apply a liberal amount of leave in conditioner and/or styling gels/foams, etc. Conditioner alone can act as a setting lotion for the “twirls” you create, depending on how much your hair tends to clump, and the relative humidity in your area. If you use too little conditioner, the curls may not clump well. An excessive application will reduce volume and may weigh hair down. Better to err on the side of excess, because you'll be squeezing moisture from each section later in this process.

After applying product, section hair. Depending on how much time I have, I usually part my hair into about 4 to 6 sections, but up to 9 works well for me. You don't have to be exact. Basic linear parts should be fine. Diagonal parts are trickier, but the hair will lay more naturally once it's dry and birthed. Here are some views of linear sectioned hair from various angles:


Finger twirling each section: Twirl each section of hair around you finger, either clock-wise or counter-clockwise. You can use one hand or two, whatever feels most comfortable. My approach is below (quick demo on dry hair):

                                             Using one hand

                                                                    Using both hands

Here are some "finished" twirls: 


For added volume: The larger the sections and the thicker the finger twirls, the more volume you'll get and the looser your curls will be. You can vary section sizes for more or less volume at different parts of the head. For example, for volume on top, form larger twirls at the crown. I like to position crown curls at a 90 degree angle for maximum volume, like this:

Position your hair.
Twirl it.
Lower your twirl.            

After you've twirled each section, move it away from the rest of your hair and gently twist it between your fingers to squeeze out a little excess moisture so it will dry more quickly. Or alternately, you can use a micro-fiber towel, dry paper towels or a t-shirt. A word of caution: Don't squeeze too hard if your hair tends to have a weaker curl pattern, is less prone to natural clumping, or tends to be dry. Since your conditioner and/or gel acts as setting lotion or “glue” for maintaining styling hold, some of that cohesion may be lost if you ring out too much moisture.    

Below is the finished wet set from 3 different angles. 

The hair at the nape looks a little unruly due to super-short length.

For best results, allow your twirls to dry in the open air with minimal disturbance. Looser twirls that are less dense will dry more quickly than tighter, more densely packed twirls. If you use thermal heat -- a blow dryer or hood dryer -- it may still take a long time for your hair to dry because the air current can't reach the hair hidden deeply within each twirl. You may have to loosen the twirls with a finger as the air hits each one. 

The set is dry. Now what? ... Time to birth the curls! 

Birthing: Each section should be dry before the curls are touched or birthed. I coined the term “birth” (in the context of hair) to describe the act of dividing or subdividing a twirled section of hair to create more twirls that are smaller in diameter.

Birthing makes the hair look less contrived, more natural and tends to increase volume. You are splitting, or separating, each twirl when you birth it. Birthing from the base of the curl down will work best on the chunkier twirls. You birth by lifting the twirl a bit and gently twisting it in the opposite direction it's curling in, unwinding it slightly. When the curl you're holding looks loose at the base, you should see at least one gap of space in it. Take a finger from your other hand and gently part the curl in two by pulling the hair apart at that gap.  


As you can see (from left to right): 
an unbirthed curl, 
a curl birthed once, and 
a curl birthed twice. 

Birthing the tighter/smaller sections may require you to start separating from the bottom. It's the same process: gently begin un-twirling the section and locate a gap where you can place your finger and separate the curl. If you cannot find a gap in the sectioned curl, gently create a separation by splitting the curl somewhere with your finger and birth it as best you can. Note that you can birth each section as many times as you want for the look and level of body you want to achieve. The more you birth, the less exposed any unseemly parts in your scalp will be. I'm sure there are other techniques for pulling curls apart. Whatever works! This may sound complicated, but as you do it, you'll see how easy it is. It takes me about 5-6 minutes to birth a set of 4 twirls into maybe 30 twirls for my entire head. It may take you a lot less time. I have an extreme amount of hair. 

Arranging bangs: If you have bangs and want full control over how they'll look after your set, finger twirl them separately or simply pull them out of the way and arrange them as you normally would.

Here's another reminder of what Naomi looks like both before and after the Temple Twirling set. I bet you'll look great too ;)   

More about TTM

TTM is not an “exacting” method, per se, although it offers structure. When I do this set on my hair, it's just about taking the natural curl I have and creating something fresh and playful, without the use of rollers or styling tools (other than a comb), or harmful chemicals. It's about having fun! 

The Temple Twirling Method (TTM) is alternately called the TTM set, or the Temple Twirling set.

The Skip Curl Method is most similar to my Temple Twirling Method, in so far as both methods involve the use of fingers to define an already present curl pattern. TTM, however, is far less time and energy consuming than SCM. TTM uses far fewer sections and there is no tedious additional step of "skipping" each curl, which the Writer, based on her research, finds unnecessary. 

The Unicorn Method is a technique that relies on the setting of a single curl.  

* Birthing is the the word I coined to describe the act of dividing or subdividing a twirled section of hair to create more twirls that are smaller in diameter. It's a specific way to separate curls. Birthing helps create the desired amount of curl and body. Directions on how to birth hair are located in the “Technique” section of this post.