Saturday, 22 October 2011

Introducing ”The Chamber”

My Q & A section has felt thoroughly dead, so I’m making an entirely new section for questions: The Chamber.
I’m deleting the Q & A page and sticking the page here so I can put up new material.

I am very interessted in how your theory about the self-stabilizing Cinnamon Bun. I still have some trouble holding it with certain hairtoys, so I would be interested in the background of your theory, maybe then we can find a stable-cinnamon-funktion or something like that.
Thank you for your answer

Hi Teufelchen!
What an awesome question to kick my silly little Q and A off with!
I had my first suspicion about the cinnamon bun when I was just at shoulder length and realised I couldn’t do a proper bun, but more of a lame “fold” before tying it off with an elastic.
Later I tried adding some fake hair that was longer than my own and found helped stabilise the bun. I also found that doing the scarved bun (Instructions found here) allowed me to do a real, stabilising bun.
I found that with my thickness, the cinnamon bun only worked well for me between slightly above waist length and approaching classic.
My theory is that the “centre” where you twist the tail into coils can’t have more than two coils around it. Less will not allow the self stabilising effect where the parts subtly pull on each other and effectively secure itself. Because you have both the twist of the “tail”, gravity and the natural slickness of hair being coiled around, you have a lot of forces at work, all working in different directions. More coils seem unable to “grip” because each coil will subtly slip in comparison to its neighbour. The centre is the only part of the cinnamon that isn’t really able to slip is the centre, but with many coils, you “attach” each slightly slipping coil to another slightly slipping coil to another slightly slipping….
Maybe someone who is better at math than me would be able to set up an equation for this and show how the resistance of the hair fibres and the opposing forces.
(It’s pretty hard to find the vocabulary to describe this lol)
For now, my theory is that there is an optimal thickness to length ratio and that above or below it, it’s increasingly harder to do a good cinnamon bun.
The I’s seems to be able to do good cinnamon buns on just shoulder length hair while the III’s need to wait to around waist length.
My observation has also been that having thinner outer coils will help stabilising it because you can tuck them under the main part of the bun better. This should put the people with layered hair at an advantage. Thicker outer coils are harder to tuck under without pushing and disturbing the centre. Since I don’t have any layers, I found that it helped me to start the bun off higher, so the bottom parts of my hair worked as layers and the top parts became the longest in the “tail”.
Another thought I had, was that in the “outer limits” of the self stabilising cinnamon bun ratio, you can’t mess up the internal structure without the entire thing disintegrating. Practically, that means all hair sticks and forks are out of the question, but clips like Ficcares (and to some degree Flexies) works.
It also seems that very smooth hair will disintegrate easier in all cases and damaged hair holds better because of the higher friction.
Those are my thoughts, observation and theory on the cinnamon bun. I have never heard anyone voice thoughts like that on a bun so I would very much like to hear from other people!

Hi Lady Igor,

I just read your article and although I am at TBL and have taper, due to growing out chemical dye I have very much the same observations.

From Physics point of few, first thing is gravity that plays a role, on all parts it is acting towards the ground. Pulling the hair below the center to downwards and pushing the hair above the center towards the center. Therefore the best position for the ends should be between 7 and 11 o'clock for anti-clockwise buns and between 1 and 5 for clockwise ones. The next thing is friction. It works between individual strands as well as between the coils, as we are considering static friction, it should stabilize the bun. I guess here are less slippery hairs are an advantage. ;)
Then there is tension. Which works against the twisting and coiling, trying to unravel it. Tension is the one you try to overcome with the hairtoy. This is more or less successful depending on the persons abilities and the hairtoy itself.
My Cinnamon stays with a Ficcare only at the moment and I have TBL and 8 cm circumference with lots of taper below waist. Another one that holds is my 7 prong Baerreis Cygnus all other toys fail to hold it for more than 5 minutes.
I guess the easiest would be to try to get more values for stable cinnamon buns (length, circumference, hari type) plot them in 3D and identify the plane they are lying on, if there is such a correlation it should be straight forward to find it by ploting the values.

Thank you for your detailed answer.

Thank YOU for your detailed geekiness!


I was poking around on uTT and saw that you say that your hair is course and that it doesn't like oil or too much protein. I thought almost all hair loved oil. I have M on the crown of my head and C at the nape of my neck so I guess the would mean I should use more oil on the top of my head then on the nape of my neck?


Hi Elena,
With age and damage, my hair has become more accepting to oil and protein. Usually the reason given to why coarse hair doesn’t like protein is that it has an extra layer compared to other hair types. This is what gives it the “crunching” ability that coarse hair has, even when completely healthy. It’s an uncomfortable thought that my hair has become so damaged that my ends react fundamentally different than the roots!

There is a lot of knowledge about oils out there. Often I find it confusing and contradicting.
I think that with all the science about hair and all the experiences people share, a lot of times something very basic gets overlooked: If it works for you, don’t stop doing it.
If oiling your hair the way you already do works for you, keep doing it.

However, if your hair is distinctly coarse at the nape, the oil will probably just sit on the surface without penetrating like it will at the crown.
I would do heavy oilings instead of light ones. That way you hair absorbs what it can depending on type instead of going around with unabsorbed oil in your hair all day.
Unless you have problems gently cleaning the excess oil out, heavy oilings should be helpful and damage-free.


Hello Igor :)

You have an awesome blog. It's so informative and I like it very much. I also need to thank you - you have helped me in determining the right sizes for Flexi8 clips :) (We have similar hair types.)

Right now, I find that L and XL Flexis work for my classic length hair. I'm still experimenting with them, though. But I'm curious about Mega Flexis. May I ask... what is your opinion on them? Is there a big difference between a Mega and an XL, in terms of styles you can do and overall comfort? And at which length have you started employing Mega Flexis?

Thanks in advance :)


Hi Ohtawen
Aw thank you for the sweet compliment!
I’m glad I could help you with Flexi sizing. It can be very difficult to find the perfect size.
I bought my megaflexies about… 6 months ago? So somewhere between mid thigh and knee? I don’t “feel” much of a difference between them, they feel about the same to work with. I honestly thought they would end up feeling less stabile, but that didn’t seem to be the case. But when you put them side by side; wow! Those babies are truly mega
I could just exactly squeeze my hair up in a braided nautilus and hold it with an XL flexi, but I later traded my XLs to Little Orca. Of course now I have learned I can make a stabile figure 8 bun and the mega flexi feels just a bit too big for that one, so now I might need to buy some XLs again! I also have two larges for pinning braids up on my head :)
I think you need several sizes for different styles…

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