Welcome to the Art for Hair Blog!

We love creating hand-crafted hair sticks, hair forks and matching jewelry to show off the beauty of long hair! Our blog features our designs, different ways to put long hair up, as well as how to care for and grow long hair and features on other Etsy craftspeople.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Last day for FREE EARRINGS!

To celebrate our Etsy shop opening at the end of May, we have been having an Opening Special this month:

Free earrings with any hair stick or fork purchase!

However, this is only for orders made and paid for in the month of June - and June is quickly coming to an end! Visit our Etsy shop to make a purchase today to receive your free earrings!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oil for long hair

Oil for hair? Initially, this seems counterintuitive; who wants greasy hair? Done correctly, however, oil conditions and is absorbed by hair and does not make it greasy. Oil benefits hair as it protects it from drying out, and nourishes it with essential fatty acids. The scalp produces oil naturally (sebum) to oil hair, but when hair is long, the sebum doesn't travel all the way down the length of the hair, so additional oiling especially helps the ends of your hair. Everyone's hair reacts differently to different methods of oiling and types of oil, so you'll probably need to experiment to find what best suits your hair.

Which oil to use?
Popular oils for hair include extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil. There are also specialist hair oils sold, but often cheaper, common oils do the job just as well. Extra virgin olive oil, the same as that used for cooking, is probably the most easily obtainable and a great place to start if you are new to oiling your hair. Coconut oil has traditionally been used for long hair in India. Not all oils suit everyone, so experiment with other oils if you do not get good results from the first oil you try. If you would like a scented oil, try adding a little of an essential oil. Some essential oils have additional benefits for hair growth and scalp issues, we'll be writing more about that subject soon. Be careful with essential oils if you are pregnant or have allergies, and always make sure you are using one which is safe for the skin.

How to apply oil to your long hair
This is a basic method to try if you are new to oiling your hair. First, feel the length of your hair when it is dry. Does it feel uniform the whole length, or do the ends feel drier, brittle or 'crunchy'? If so, this is the area of your hair which most needs oil. Wash your hair as usual, and wait until it is about 70% dry. Rub a little oil onto your fingertips, and comb your fingers through your hair, concentrating on where your hair felt different. Allow your hair to finish airdrying. Your ends should feel much less dry and damaged. If your hair seems greasy, you have applied too much. You may find that initially, your hair needs more oil, but as you take care of your hair better and oil regularly, you need less and less. If your hair naturally tends towards greasy, this may be the only oiling you need.

Oil on wet hair
Oil on wet hair helps seal in moisture, keeping your hair hydrated, as well as nourishing it with essential fats. After washing, take a little oil and apply it to the length of your hair. It's generally better to stay away from your scalp, as the natural oils from your skin will probably provide enough oil in this area. How much you need will, of course, depend on whether your hair tends towards dryness or greasiness, if you typically have greasy hair, a simple oiling of the very ends may be sufficient. Experiment with different quantities of oil and different oils if necessary.

Oil on dry hair
If you have problems with hair dryness, this could really benefit your hair. If it tends towards greasy, however, this is probably best avoided! Put a little oil on dry hair, and if your hair is very dry or porous, it will absorb and protect your hair. For a deep conditioning treatment, try applying a larger amount of oil at night, and washing it out in the morning.

Have fun experimenting with oil for your hair!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Art for Hair joins the Squid-Etsy Street Team!

We are so happy to become a member of this street team!

Etsy (the online marketplace for hand-crafted goods where we have a shop) street teams are groups of Etsy artists united by a common interest, who band together to support and promote each other. The Squid-Etsy Team is a group of artists who use Squidoo to promote their shops and explore their other interests. Squidoo is site where anyone can create a page (known as a lens) for free, and others can view, rate and leave comments. It's great for networking and pretty addictive! Our Art for Hair lens includes the history of hair sticks and different ways to put hair up using hair sticks and forks, as well as a preview of the hair sticks and hand-carved hair forks currently available at our Etsy shop.

Don't forget to check out SquidEtsy Team lenses here! The SquidEtsy team has some very talented members, we'll be featuring other members here and on Squidoo very soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Styles 3 - Chinese Bun

A Chinese Bun is a another way to put long hair up that can be secured with a single hair stick. It's suitable for any occasion, from formal office wear to casual styles, just select a hair stick to coordinate with your outfit! You'll also need a hair elastic (preferably one without metal, which can snag and damage your hair), and bobby pins to help secure the ends of your hair, or shorter layers, are optional. Follow these instructions to create a Chinese Bun.

First, draw your hair back into a ponytail and secure with a hairband, preferably in a color matching your hair. Insert a hair stick horizontally, behind the hairband.

Separate the ponytail into 2 sections. Take each section and bring it up over the hair stick, and then down behind it.

Now, take each section diagonally to the other side (so you are now holding the section that was on the right in your left hand, and vice versa). Wrap each section up and down behind the hairstick, like you did before.

If your hair is long enough, continue to wrap both sections round behind the hair stick in a circle until you have used the whole length of your hair. Here, the hair was not long enough for this, so the ends were just tucked under. You can either tuck them into the hairband or use bobby pins the same color as your hair to secure them.

After a little practice (use a pencil if you like first), this style should hold all day!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Featured Etsy artists 2 - Barbara Neely Designs

Barbara Neely is a freelance graphic artist and designer who "makes a living doing just about every kind of print design you can image." Her work spans corporate branding and marketing design to personalized baby shower invitations and wedding albums, and her Etsy shop features everything from invitations, note cards and announcements to book plates and book marks, all in her distinctive style.

Barbara started out with her unique stationery and invitations, but photography is her new passion. We aren't surprised, she clearly has great talent for this medium. Her Etsy shop features stunning floral prints as well as landscapes and architectural shots. Here are some more of our favorites:

Check out Barbara Neely Designs (bndesigns) on Etsy and her blog, for more information and to purchase.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Washing long hair

Given how slowly hair grows, the ends of long hair are years old, and will inevitably accumulate some damage. Long hair therefore needs special care to protect it and prevent further damage. If you have short hair, damage is constantly trimmed away, so health of the hair is not so much of a concern. Although a simple regimen of shampoo and conditioner may work well, many with long hair find that their hair really benefits from something different.

Long hair often benefits from dilution of shampoo. The detergents in most shampoos do do some damage to hair, so dilution makes the shampoo much more gentle on your hair. There are also concerns about the effect of certain chemicals on the body, for example some may contribute to cancer, so decreasing your exposure is good. Try diluting your shampoo with a little water - it'll still lather, and you'll probably find that your hair actually looks better for it. I have also found that diluting shampoo with honey gives good results. Honey dissolves in water, so it's not hard to wash out of hair. It is a humectant, holding water, so helps keep your hair hydrated. A 50:50 shampoo:honey dilution makes my hair soft and shiny, with more 'body'.

Everyone's hair reacts to different regimens differently, and when trying something different, a short period of adjustment is generally required, so try to commit to at least a couple of weeks trying something different before you decide if it's for you or not. Remember, you can always mix and match the different methods once you learn about how your hair reacts - for example, you could do conditioner only with the odd shampooing if that's what suits your hair.

Condition, wash, condition
This is fairly similar to the familiar shampoo and condition, but pays more attention to conditioning the ends of the hair. First, apply conditioner to the lengths of your hair, from your ears down. Then apply a little shampoo to your head, and wash from your ears up. This hair is really the main part of your hair which gets 'dirty' and oily, and the conditioner should be sufficient to cleanse the ends. The surfactants in shampoo do damage hair, so it's better to keep it away from the ends of your hair, which are important to protect as they will have more years of accumulated damage. Gently massage your head with the shampoo and rinse. Finally, apply conditioner to all your hair. This method should help protect your delicate ends much more than simply shampoo-conditioner only.

Conditioner only
This method uses only conditioner. Most conditioners contain mild detergents so they can be easily rinsed out, and these are generally enough to clean your hair too. Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your wet hair as soon as you get in the shower, then leave it on your hair for a few minutes while you get on with whatever else you need to do in the shower. When you are otherwise ready to get out of the shower, rinse out the conditioner. You may need to experiment with different conditioners to see which suits your hair. Blondes may find that conditioner only makes hair darker, so regular shampooings may be necessary.

Help, my hair hates conditioner!
Sometimes, conditioner just seems to make hair lank and dull. This could be because it is the wrong conditioner for your hair, so experiment with different ones before ruling conditioner out (we'll be writing soon about ingredients in shampoo and conditioner). However, some people find that their hair just does not like conditioner. If you decide to just use shampoo on your hair, try to dilute it, as described above, as preventing damage is even more important if a conditioner is not used. A quick, simple way to condition hair without conditioner is to use a honey rinse. Dissolve a little honey (try half a teaspoon initially) in a cup of water, pour over your hair and leave it on. You'll probably need to experiment with the concentration of honey (too much will make your hair 'crunchy' - just shampoo again and it will be removed), but it should make your hair soft and shiny. We'll be writing more about other, natural conditioning methods soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More new creations for Etsy

We have more new creations listed today. First up are these hair sticks, hand-carved with a flower design and stunning glass beads:

Here's a preview of more of our hand-carved hair sticks, which will be up on Etsy soon:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hair Forks now on Etsy!

Yay! We're so excited to list the first in our collection of hair forks on Etsy. This beautiful three prong hair fork is hand-carved from poplar, a light golden-colored flexible hardwood. It has a butterfly hand-carved in relief on one side at the top. It's a total of 6.25 inches long, with prongs 4.75 inches long. We'll be adding more forks soon, in a variety of woods.

Hair forks are used in much the same way as hair sticks. Just weave the fork through a bun in the same way as a hair stick, as this picture of a fork holding a simple, cinnamon bun shows:

Art for Hair featured on other Etsians' blogs!

Art for Hair has recently been featured on two blogs by talented Etsy artists. Check out Just Cool - Adventures in Modern Design and Barbara Neely Designs' blog.

Don't forget to check out their wonderful Etsy shops too, Pop Art Cafe and Barbara Neely Designs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Featured Etsy Artists 1 - Pop Art Cafe

We're proud to present the first artist in our series of featured Etsy artists: Pop Art Cafe, creation of talented artist Wendy Presseisen. Wendy has been featured in numerous magazines, and is now selling her amazingly colorful and detailed folk art prints of animals, people and landscapes on Etsy. Here are some of our favorite art works:

Pop Art Cafe encourages support of homeless animals. Right now, make a donation to an animal shelter near you and receive a discount on one of Wendy's wonderful cat art prints. Art from Pop Art Cafe is available in a range of standard and custom sizes, as well as ACEO art cards and greetings cards. Wendy is also happy to take commissions.

Wendy runs the design blog Just Cool, which features her stunning photography and design finds from around Etsy. Check out this Etsy artist's stunning work today!

Growing out long hair

Are you trying to grow your hair long, but with frustrating results? Be patient, and take care of your hair, and it will grow. Hair typically grows about half an inch a month. To help your hair grow as fast and as healthily as possible, it's important to avoid damage to your hair and to give your body the nutrients necessary for hair growth.

The first thing to consider is the current health of your hair. Look at your ends - are there many splits? If so, consider trimming your hair to get rid of them. If there are only a few, you may be able to cut them out individually. Invest in a pair of scissors designed for hair (obtainable at any beauty supply and not expensive) so you can cut your hair cleanly. There's little point in making the effort to treat your hair better if it will break anyway from pre-existing damage. Splits will travel up the hair shaft, eventually causing the strand to break. If the ends break off, it will seem as if your hair is not growing.

Always treat your hair as gently as possible. Rough handling will cause split ends and hair breakage. Putting your hair up, as soon as it is long enough, will avoid damage from causes such as wind, getting caught in purse straps, seat belts, etc. For different ways to put hair up, see our 'hair styles' posts on this blog, or visit our website Art for Hair. Be gentle when brushing your hair, and don't use a comb or brush with sharp parts or a molded comb with a rough 'seam' in the middle. Start brushing at the ends of your hair and work your way up towards your head. If your hair is long enough, consider putting it in a quick, simple three-strand braid at night. This really reduces tangles in the morning. You could also use a satin sleep cap, and satin pillowcases to help stop damage and tangles from hair rubbing against coarser cotton pillowcases.

Try to extend the time between hair washing, and do not brush your hair when it is wet, as hair is more delicate when it is wet. Experiment with different shampoos and conditioners to find ones which really suit your hair (we'll discuss hair washing in another post soon) - everyone's hair reacts to different ingredients in different ways. Don't rub your head with a towel after washing, as this will knot and tangle hair, increasing damage on brushing. Avoid blow drying and use of heat (for example straighteners) as much as possible.

Hair will not grow quickly and strongly if you do not give your body the nutrients it needs. If you do not eat a balanced diet, a multivitamin will ensure that you receive daily vitamins and minerals. Nutrients such as silica, biotin and MSM benefit hair, and there are special 'hair vitamin' pills that contain these and other ingredients to ensure healthy, strong growth.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Styles 2 - The Flip

This is a different way to put hair up in fun, casual style. It uses one hair stick only. It takes some practice to get the tension right, and will not work if done too loosely. Done correctly, it should hold all day.

Hold hair back in a ponytail (do not use a hair band). Hold a hair stick vertically on the left of the ponytail.

Rotate the hair stick clockwise so it is horizontal, bringing the hair down behind the hair stick.

Continue rotating until the hair stick is vertical again, but now pointing upwards.

Now rotate the hair stick by bringing the decorated end upwards, until the stick is horizontal again, as if you are going to push it into your head.

Continue bringing the decorated end up until the hair stick is again vertical and pointing downwards.

Push the hair stick down through the hair until it looks balanced and feels comfortable.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

First Etsy Sale!

Yay! On Thursday, we made our first Etsy sale. Our lovely buyer needed some earrings to go with another piece of jewelry she had recently bought, and these turquoise earrings were a perfect match.

We'll be listing more earrings in this style soon, including the semi-precious stones fancy jasper and tiger eye.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Custom Length Hair Sticks!

New on Etsy - custom length hair sticks! We decided to offer something a little different from the other hair sticks we have - with these, when you buy, we will custom-carve the hair stick to the length that you specify. Now you can have this hair stick in the perfect length for your hair! The stick is jet-black, glossy hardwood, topped with a genuine silver and black 'Desert Sun' bead, jet-black faceted glass beads and a genuine freshwater Keishi pearl in a beautiful dark peacock color. The dangles are made up of more Keishi pearls and faceted jet-black glass beads. We'll be adding more custom-length hair sticks on Etsy soon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So what *are* hair sticks?

Have you ever seen a woman with long hair apparently effortlessly up in an intricate style with a pencil, chopstick or more elegant stick? I always envied these women their ability to quickly create these styles, until I discovered hair sticks myself. Hair sticks are decorative pieces of art, which really do make these styles extremely easy for anyone with shoulder-length or longer hair to create, with a little practice.

Hair sticks have been used since ancient times, and there are records of them being used by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Of course, it is the Chinese and Japanese cultures which are best known for their use of hair sticks. In Japan, Geishas used elaborate hair sticks as part of their decorative styles. As a Geisha progressed in seniority, they wore different hair sticks to signify their rank. Different sticks, colors and flowers were also worn with different seasons and festivals. These hair sticks were called Kanzashi.

During the 1920s, hair sticks became more widely used in the West. Today, they remain a classic way to style long hair; they will never be out of fashion. Hair sticks today are made from wood, bone or metal, and choice of material is largely a personal preference. The tops may simply be carved into a design, or decorated with beads or dangles. There is a hair stick for every occasion, from designs suitable for casual, everyday wear to those for office wear, special occasions and formal events.

A major advantage of hair sticks is how little they damage long hair. When growing long hair, it is very important to minimize damage and breakage, and hair sticks are some of the least damaging hair accessories. Contrary to popular belief, long hair does not have to take a long time to style every morning. Compared to the blowdrying and styling products often needed to style short hair, putting up long hair with hair sticks takes no time at all! Also, you do not have to have superlong hair to use hair sticks. As long as your hair is shoulder-length or longer, you will be able to use hair sticks. Any hair stick purchase from Art for Hair includes fully illustrated instructions for several styles, so you will easily be able to create a variety of styles. We will also regularly post hair style instructions on this blog, so check back soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Styles 1 - Simple Cinnamon Bun

This is one of the simplest ways to put hair up using hair sticks. It is suitable for hair which is shoulder-length or longer. You can use a single stick or a pair, or even a hair fork. Depending on the hair stick(s) used, this style is suitable for any situation, from formal office wear to special occasions or weekend casual wear.One hair stick should be all it takes to hold this style; the second stick provides decoration and helps hold if you have very thick or long hair. If you like, practice with a pencil first and remember to always hold the 'stick' part of a hair stick and don't use the decorated top to manipulate it.

Follow these instructions to easily put your hair up in a cinnamon bun:

First, pull your hair back and hold in a high-ish ponytail. Do not secure with a hairband, just hold it.

Next, keep hold of the base of the ponytail with one hand, while twisting the tail into a rope. It may be easier to let go of the base of the ponytail now and use both hands to hold and twist the tail.

When the twist is fairly tight, it will feel like it wants to wrap around itself. Start coiling the tail around the base of the ponytail.

Continue coiling your hair around and tuck the ends under the outer coil.

Now take a hair stick, and insert it horizontally (as if you are going to push it straight into your head) into the outer coil, at about the 1 o’clock position. When it touches your head, rotate so that it is now pointing diagonally downwards, towards the 7 o’clock position.

Slide the hair stick down through the bun, taking care to ‘weave’ it in and out of the scalp hair and bun hair, so that the bun is held onto your head.

If you like, insert a second stick for decoration and to help hold the style. This stick can either be parallel to the first, or diagonal to form a cross.

A hair fork can also be used to hold a simple cinnamon bun.

Wooden heart?

Our latest hairsticks on etsy! Wear your hearts in your hair with these fun, unique hair sticks! We love these wooden heart hair sticks, which are made with jet-black glass, silver and hollow wooden hearts with a gold and black abstract design that is almost like animal-print.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Our Opening Special on Etsy!

Etsy: Home of all things hand-crafted, a treasure-trove of handmade items made by individuals and small businesses building a new economy with the simple motto 'buy, sell and live handmade'. On Etsy, you can find almost everything you can think of, from soap to clothing and jewelry to cookware, lovingly handmade by individual artists and craftspeople.

We started our Etsy site just two weeks ago, with hair sticks and earrings. Since we are so new, we are having a Grand Opening Special - a FREE PAIR of coordinating earrings with any hair stick purchase before the end of June!

Just purchase a single, or pair of hair sticks on our Etsy store and we'll include a pair of coordinating earrings, FREE!

Our most-viewed item on Etsy so far is the silver-plated Butterfly Cascade Hair Stick above , a 4.75 inch stick with a delicate dangle made up of fuchsia and rose Swarovski crystals and a vintage-style butterfly. Swarovski crystals are known as the finest crystals in the world and are machine-cut for flawless consistency. They have an incredible color, shine, clarity and sparkle. See more details on Etsy here.

Our next post will be about hairstyles that you can create quickly and easily with our Art for Hair, so check back soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hello and welcome!

Welcome to the Art for Hair blog! My husband and I create hand-crafted hair sticks, hair forks and matching jewelry. Hair sticks and hair forks are a great way to show off and style long hair, and add your own personality, style and artistic flair to your hair. They are also some of the least damaging hair accessories you can use. In our blog, we will discuss our latest creations, hair styles and hair care, as well as featuring other hand-crafters who create hair-related and other items, as well as random features on things like cooking and photography. We will also offer special deals and competitions, so check back soon! To view and buy our creations, check out our website, www.artforhair.com, and our Etsy site www.artforhair.etsy.com.