It’s challenging finding flattering hairstyles for my type 3 curly hair. I’ve mostly worn my hair down and unadorned for the last decade. But recently, I’ve been curious to see if the curly community has come up with any solutions to the simple challenges of wearing your hair in a ponytail for type 3 hair in particular. And I was delighted to discover that a solution seemed to exist in the PuffCuff.

I’ve often casually gathered my hair into a ponytail with my hand and loved how it looked but hated it once I actually wrapped a scrunchy around it. All of the volume in my hair gets pinched away by the scrunchy and I end the day with a headache and a kink in my curly hair that I can’t really get rid of until I washed my hair again. The PuffCuff seemed like it could avoid some of these problems by creating a looser and funkier ponytail.

If you didn’t know, the PuffCuff is a lot like the banana clip, except it’s shaped like a circle instead of a banana. Instead of cinching your hair with an elastic band, your curly hair actually holds the PuffCuff in place. They come in a variety of sizes that you can experiment with for different curly hair patterns, hair lengths, and hairstyles. The 5 inch “Original” PuffCuff is their largest size. Then comes the 3 inch “Junior” PuffCuff, their “Mini” 2.5-inch sizes, and finally the 1.5 inch “Micro” sizes.

Puff Cuff Image

How I Use It

To use the PuffCuff on my type 3 chin/shoulder-length hair, I gather my hair in a ponytail first with my hand. I then unclasp my PuffCuff, place it around my ponytail, and re-clamp it. If you don’t think you can do this one-handed, then use a scrunchy or elastic band to secure your ponytail. After the PuffCuff is clasped, I like to grab half of my ponytail with one hand and the other half with the other, and then pull these apart. When I do this, I’m essentially pulling more hair into the ponytail, and wrapping it out and over the PuffCuff teeth. This ensures I’m both getting the most volume in my ponytail and securing the PuffCuff carefully.

Since my hair is on the shorter side, I need to be a bit inventive with hair pins to keep shorter strands of hair from falling down. I fluff up my pony or even pick it out to get optimal volume. The PuffCuff should be totally invisible!

Puff Cuff Ponytail

Playing With PuffCuff Sizes

The “Original”

I think that the PuffCuff “Original,” which is their largest size, is ideally suited to type 4 curly hair, or shorter type 3 hair. My chin length type 3 hair simply flops around in this much larger size and doesn’t look like a ponytail, nor does it retain any kind of shape that I like. Unfortunately, I don’t anticipate getting much use out of the “Original” unless I have a dramatic hair chop and want to experiment with shorter hairstyles.

The “Junior”

This is my favorite PuffCuff size and I usually wear it a few times a week. This looks like a nice, loose, voluminous ponytail on me. The base of this is perfect for counteracting everything I hate about a traditional ponytail with a scrunchy. Scrunchies make my hair too tight and kill all of the volume I love in my hair. My ponytail ends up droopy and floppy and not fun. With the “Junior,” I ended up with a nice little bunny tail ponytail, which is exactly what I want out of a ponytail but simply can’t achieve with a scrunchy.

The “Mini”

I don’t gravitate to the “Mini” PuffCuff size for a ponytail, but it still works well for my type 3 hair. I suspect this size will be ideally suited to Type 2 and Type 3 hair, especially if you’re worried about whether you have enough hair volume to fill out a “Junior” size.

The “Micro”

I would only recommend this size if you’re hoping to create two or more ponytails, or if you suspect you lack the hair volume to fill out the “Junior” or even the “Mini.” This size is ideally suited for children’s hair as well.

Puff Cuff 2

Final Thoughts

I really enjoy my “Junior” sized PuffCuff. It solves all of the problems I’ve encountered when trying to create ponytails with scrunchies or elastic bands. Scrunchies and elastic bands create really tight ponytails without much volume in the pony itself. I really love how the “Junior”‘s wider base makes my pony really voluminous and funky. Because it isn’t as tight a fit as a scrunchy or elastic band, the hair not gathered into the ponytail is looser and has more volume as well. I can keep my bangs down, and keep tendrils down around my ears, and end up with a looser and more romantic ponytail that still stays in place all day.

I found it really challenging determining what size was best suited for me before purchasing, so I hope this guide is helpful to some of you out there with the same questions!

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Kathryn Desplanque

Kathryn Desplanque is an art historian and postdoctoral fellow at UNC at Chapel Hill. She's mixed race, of African-Carribean and caucasian heritage, and has 3c hair. When she isn't researching and writing about the history of art, she spends her spare time on haircare and skincare, cosmetics, and comic books.

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