Most naturalistas (or anyone with thick hair) know the struggles of finding the perfect hair holder to get our tresses in formation. They either break, get caught up in, or can’t even wrap around the fullness of all our kinky, curly and coily goodness. Even worse, they can actually snap and damage or break ends.
Ceata Lash learned these struggles the hard way after going natural well over a decade ago. “I was using a shoestring to cinch my hair up in a puff every day and the tension was causing significant hair damage around my edges and ridiculous headaches,” she shares.
After searching and searching for (and not finding) an answer to her hair band woes, she decided to create her own: the PuffCuff. Using her graphic design background, she created the simple circular banana cuff with thin, rounded and widely spaced teeth to securely hold hair up without pulling, tugging or getting caught on curls.
She put her first cuff on the market just six months after she launched her LLC in 2013 and soon became the first Black woman to be granted not one, but two, patents for a natural hair accessory. She also just won Sally Beauty President’s Innovation award to have the PuffCuff distributed in the beauty retail giant’s stores nationwide and online.
Here, we chat with Ceata to learn more about her invention, how it works and how working at a community college led her to not only taking the stress out styling natural hair, but also a place in beauty history.
Hype Hair: What was the defining moment that led you to create the PuffCuff?
Ceata Lash: About 12 years ago, I decided to stop chemically straightening my hair. At that same time, I was working at a community college where my hair was literally the subject of everyone’s daily conversation because I wore unique styles. It was just intriguing to them [and] didn’t want to accept the responsibility that comes with wearing an afro to work so; I would wear my hair up in a puff. I was using a shoestring to cinch my hair up in a puff every day and the tension was causing significant hair damage around my edges and ridiculous headaches. I got fed up with the hair drama resulting from making a healthier life choice.
But, I couldn’t find anything that could hold the volume of my thick curly textured hair. I knew I needed something big and secure enough to hold up styles of any volume and length without the pulling and pain. After much research and thought on the best way to design the ideal hair accessory for kinky and curly hair of all lengths, the PuffCuff was born.
HH: Is this designed specifically for natural hair?
CL: It’s not for one particular group, [but] anyone with curls or texture can wear PuffCuff. Honestly, the curlier or kinkier the hair, the better.
HH: How does it work?
CL: PuffCuff uses the outward pressure of the hair texture and density to keep the clamp closed without the headaches and hair breakage caused by cinching elastic bands and other hair accessories. This is why I encourage anyone with waves, curls, coils or kinky strands to ditch the band and try a PuffCuff.
HH: Can we do different styles with it — or is it just for puffs?
CL: You can use it on the run with your wash-and-go, to get more life from day-old curls or in more elaborate styles. We see so many reviews online and people use it every day from a regular updo, pineapple, afro puffs, a man bun, ponytail, and everything in between. It really conforms to your needs.
HH: Your invention is doing more than just helping us tame our tresses. It’s also enabled you to become the first Black woman to hold two patents for natural hair accessories. What does that mean to you?
CL: It’s a blessing! It has been a long bumpy road getting to this point. I know the reason I do what I do is much bigger than me. That, in addition to my faith in God, and providing for my family, is what keeps me in the battle for the natural hair community.
My patents are a significant win for the hair community as a whole. I do it for the many other entrepreneurs who will come after me and for us. We deserve more when it comes to the beauty industry — healthy products, more tools and accessories specifically designed for us, more resources, more representation and more appreciation for our dollars. If today’s society doesn’t do that for us, we will create it ourselves. PuffCuff is a result of that need.
HH: What has been the biggest reward?
CL: The most significant benefit I have received since inventing the PuffCuff is the stories I’ve heard from it changing so many lives. You’d never think a hair accessory would be that impactful. It’s really helping individuals by taking out the collective stress of styling, headache pain, and hair breakage — all while restoring confidence in wearing natural hair again.
I once had a woman in her ‘60s come up to me at an expo where I was doing a PuffCuff demo styling session. She was really skeptical to try it. She hated her natural hair since she was a child, never knowing what to do with it. Her mother’s negative comments about her curly hair had a lasting effect on her self-esteem. After she finally let me style her with the PuffCuff, she broke down in tears and said, ‘You literally changed my life today.’ Her reaction and the fantastic supportive feedback of the many others who’ve tried the PuffCuff is a feeling I live for.
The PuffCuff comes in four different sizes to accommodate different hair lengths and widths and retails from $16.49 for the original 5″ cuff to $49.99 for a 7-piece pack with all sizes. For more info, head on over to thepuffcuff.com.