Tag Archives: hair accessories

You Can’t Hurry A Headband

Stymied By The Smallest Details

Knitted Jumpers

Dreams About Knitting

I have a dream.

Unfortunately I’m not a big dreamer like Martin Luther King. My contribution to the improvement of society is rather more modest.

I have had a dream nonetheless about a headband which until this week has taken about three years to become a reality.

And now it’s here.

But first, I have a story for you.

A family history in wool

I come from an old Californian family. Some of the first settlers, sheriffs and “notable citizens” of Southern California are counted as my ancestors.

We’ve got photographs of these hardy folk, proud men and women standing in front of their log house newly built after the long journey from Oklahoma to start the first ranch.

But in the pictures of the women you see two themes: food and knitting.

My memories of childhood are full of images of my mother sitting with my aunts and great cousins drinking beer, laughing and always knitting together.

They knit everything. Jumpers, of course, but back in the day when they wore such things they even knit bikinis for themselves.

In the family tradition, my mother taught me to knit at a young age. I’m not very good at it because I’ve got no patience, but I have great respect for accomplished knitters.

The First Idea For A Headband

When I started Stone Bridge, I had the idea of a wool headband, but the execution was problematic.

Knit Bandeau Style Headband

The Bandeau Style Knit Headband

If you just knit a bandeau style (which you can find patterns for on the internet – or buy in bulk from China at $1 per piece … no thanks), the stitches will stretch out. This means your design will either lose its hold or lose its shape.

Given that Stone Bridge demands long-term performance out of our designs, these were unacceptable trade-offs.

You could stabilise a bandeau style by backing the design with fabric, but this introduces additional problems.

A fused backing (where the wool is sort of “glued” to the fabric) risks coming away under the stress of holding the hair, because the woolen fibre is very unstable.

If you stitched your piece of knitting to a backing, the wool is still under stress and you can get unattractive dimpling where it has been tacked.

The ideal solution really was to try and get a knitted piece attached to a rigid headband, where the knit was fully supported so that it wouldn’t lose its shape over time and was not required to do any of the actual work of holding back hair.

We produced a few versions: knit tubes with a headband inserted through, knit and fabric sleeves, and knitting which was labouriously glued to  fabric covered headbands.

None of our ideas worked very well.

Then last year, a milliner we love and work with a lot produced a cable knit headband in silk angora.

We ordered a few in, of course, very excited.

However, when they arrived, while they were beautiful they suffered from the problem we had been struggling with for years: how do you ensure the knitted design stays reliably secured to the headband so that the customer knows she will get several years of use out of it?

Knitting. The Knowledge.

Cable Knit Angora Headbands

Cable Knit Silk Angora Headband

I set them aside. My mother was due to come visit and as she is very smart as well as having deep knitting genes, I was confident she would either solve the dilemma or pronounce the knitted headband an impossible dream.

She came. She saw. She drank a few beers.

She conquered.

It wasn’t easy.

We’re talking several days hard labour on these headbands. And the results are beautiful.

My mother isn’t available all the time to make luxury quality hair accessories, so we only have a small number of these Silk Angora Cable Knit headbands for you.

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The Ficcare Maximas Silky Colour Debate

Is it Wine? Is it Purple? Can Anyone Really Tell The Difference?

A customer recently contacted us about a Wine coloured Ficcare Maximas hair clip she received from last year’s Silky collection, concerned that she had maybe received a Purple by mistake.

As we had never carried the Purple, we became interested in her question. Turns out, there had been some debate about the differences between Purple and Wine on the old interweb, so we thought Stone Bridge ought to pitch in with our evidence.

Ficcare sent us along a Purple, we dragged our photographer away from his more important duties and we had a play.

First, I must tell you that how digital cameras interpret colour is an interesting science in and of itself. If our photographer had a blog, he could go on about this FOR DAYS. (Trust me on this … yawn) And just for the record, our photographer has been a professional commercial photographer for nearly 20 years. So he knows what he’s doing.

The other important consideration for colour in photography is that your eye (or more accurately, your brain) is influenced by the other colours appearing in the picture. Something can be made to appear more or less intense, or even different from its true colour depending on the hue of its surroundings.

Ficcare Maximas Difference Between Silky Purple and Wine hair clips

Ficcare Silky Purple V. Wine

So what you see in these pictures is not exactly what you see in “real life” if you had the two clips in your hands.

The colour on these clips has been created, to our eye, by increasing the amount of pigment present in the paint used.

When the two clips are side by side, there is only a slight degree of difference, with the Wine being only fractionally darker, while the Purple appears like an almost milky colour. This creamy quality is not something that seems to come across in our picture experiments.

There is in fact no difference in hue between the two. So the Wine isn’t more red or more blue; it is precisely the same colour, simply more concentrated.

What this means for the picture you see here is that the concentration of the pigment causes more light to be absorbed by the Wine colour, while the Purple in comparison is more reflective. So in a photograph, there appears to be a greater degree of difference in colour than there actually is.

Here are pictures of the clips taken seperately (but labelled, so we didn’t get confused during the shoot!) You can see that the colour and lighting has been kept constant between the two clips by the consistency in colour of the sticky note in the corner.

The two colours are so similar to the naked eye, we’ve had to write the colours on every storage bag to make sure they don’t get mixed up by accident.

So there you go.

Stone Bridge will never have the Purple available on our website, but we do have a couple large clips here, obviously.

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

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Long Layered Hair? Claire’s Top Styling Tips Video: Barrettes and Ficcare hair clips

The First In Our Series Of Styling Tutorial Videos For Long Layered Hair

Breaking news! Claire ended her hair growing experiment and got a hair cut. Don’t worry, it’s still long, but now she’s discovering the joy of layers.

You can benefit from her journey if you’ve got a layered hair cut in her new series of videos. She looks at what having layers means when it comes to choosing the right hair clips for your hair and which styles work best.

Her first video looks at how to choose barrettes, hair slides and Ficcare Maximas hair clips that will work well in a long layered style.


Hair Accessories Shown In This Video

Bloom Cutwork large slide (NOT recommended for layered hair)
Classic Wide hair barrette
Classic Long hair barrette
Portofino Crystal barrette
Ficcare Maximas Silky Collection hair clip, in size small

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Filed under Buying the Right Hair Clips, Hair Clips for Thick Hair, Hair Styling Tutorial Videos

How To Use Our New French Banana Hair Clip For A Cascading Ponytail Hair Style

A Fast And Easy Way To Smarten Up And Add Volume To Your Ponytail

French banana clip in Mahogany

Our *NEW* Plage French Banana Clip

We’ve carried machined French banana hair clips for a while, and they’ve been so popular we thought it was time to introduce a more luxurious handmade version.

And here it is:

The Plage French banana clip.

If you’ve not used a banana clip before, here a video I made for you showing you how to make a simple cascading ponytail style.


Click here for more information about the Plage French banana clip.

For more luxury hair clips visit us at Stone-Bridge.co.uk

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Brazilian Blow Out And Smoothing Treatments: Are They Safe?

Are Formaldehyde-Free Straightening Treatments Any Better?

We have a lot of customers who have and enjoy the very popular Brazilian Smoothing salon treatment. This treatment requires ongoing use at home of “keratin friendly” shampoos, conditioners and styling products to preserve the effects of the treatment.

On 4 March, 2011 the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel in the US, an independent organisation of scientific and medical experts, released a statement regarding the safety of cosmetic treatments like the Brazilian Blow Out that use formaldehyde (or any other member of the aldehyde group, I must add).

The Brazilian smoothing treatment, which is offered with a high price tag at luxury salons across Britain, works by using an aldehyde heated to high temperatures to bond protein to the hair cuticle.

At no point does the keratin “penetrate” or “rebuild” the hair. The molecules are too big.

I’ve written before about this silly idea that the beauty industry has figured out how to make molecules smaller so they can penetrate the hair cuticle. This is ridiculous.

The only way to make molecules smaller is with a particle accelerator, and these are generally underground campuses that span several square miles of open countryside.

The companies that could afford a facility like this would be on the order of Google or Microsoft, and they ain’t in the beauty industry, last I checked. And I don’t think the US government is pouring investment funds into hair straightening technology either.

But, I could be wrong. Governments get up to some funny projects.

What really happens is more like cooking egg whites in a hot pan. You are denaturing the protein in a way that creates an extremely hard and tough coat. As you’ve probably experienced yourself, this material is very hard to wash away. The aldehyde’s job is to make this coat stick well to the cuticle of your hair.

The benefit to you is you get straight hair that absorbs less water, so it dries faster for as long as your protein shield lasts on your hair. Once that shield starts to break up, water is able to enter your hair and your natural texture will return.

The bummer to this process is:

  1. Your hair must be literally cooked for the chemical process to work. This means any moisture trapped in your hair will boil, potentially bursting through the wall of your cuticle, causing irreversible damage all along the length of your hair.
  2. Aldehydes when heated release a poisonous vapour. You can have allergic reactions or become sensitised if exposed to these ingredients repeatedly. There are also a number of medical studies suggesting a possible link to cancer in humans if exposed to formaldehyde gas over a long period of time.

So the real risk is to your poor stylist who is doing a few of these Blow Outs every day. Do you really want to subject another fellow human to poisonous gas in the name of your own vanity?

The initial, early recommendation by the CIR panel is, “we strongly advise consumers and beauticians not to use professional hair straightening products in the home. Consumers … should be certain that the salon is properly ventilated and that the products and application process meet with [guidelines established] for workplace safety.”

The CIR and the FDA are looking at pursuing a more thorough review of the treatment and consider this “an important consumer health issue.”

My personal view is it is cheaper, healthier, more eco-friendly and better for your salon/life balance to get a hair cut that works with your natural texture.

Think of all the nice shoes, handbags, glasses of Pinot Noir or new French handmade hair clips you could get by just having a better hair cut.


Find out the real deal with your shampoo and conditioner. Sign up for my free series of Healthy Hair Care articles and learn how you can easily have healthier, better behaving hair within weeks without buying any new styling products.

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Filed under Salon Treatments