As a little girl, I watched my mother do her ritual beauty routine while I sat on the tile floor. Take a shower, blow out her hair for 45 minutes, and then put her hair into giant, hot rollers that stayed in till she left the house. With a giant helping of hair spray. Once the 90′s hit in full swing, the rollers gave way to a flat iron. My mother did this every day of my life. She still does. So when I hit 4th grade and got my first ‘big girl’ hair cut (a bob) I was immediately ready to blow out my own hair. I had watched my mom wield her large circle brush for years. I was already an expert. I didn’t think anything of it.
When I started living with Natalie, she moaned about what a pain in the butt I was about my hair. I never left the house without blowing my hair out. Ever. Now that I tell people this in the context of them seeing my new curly hair, they can’t believe that. Sure, at the beach I let me hair get wet but it felt so very very wrong to not pick up that hair dryer every day. What would I do without my expensive flat iron? I thought I had “kinks” in my hair. It’s what my mother used to call them. I just needed a few passes with the flat iron and voila. Almost gone. But my hair was always frizzy despite tons of products. My hair texture was also a sad state of affairs. It was fried and felt super dry.
After a trip to the hospital 2 years ago, I had massive amount of drugs in my system. My hair started falling out and when I went to my normal salon, he cringed. I was losing a lot of hair, and it was brittle. He gave me super duper thick leave-in conditioner…but then proceeded to flat iron my whole head like every other visit. I was actually scared about having patchy hair and Natalie finally told me I had to stop freaking out about this. She promptly took me to her salon, which is known for it’s emphasis on working with your natural hair. I crossed my fingers they could help me find a cut that made my hair less frizzy so I could flat iron my hair less often. Maybe they had some great conditioner too? Or some miracle product? I sat down in the chair and promptly told my new stylist this whole story. I started showing her cuts I like on my iphone. This whole time she was running her hands through my hair, looking at it, combing it a bit.
“Well, you have curly hair so we should really work with it instead of against it.” I swear my stomach dropped a thousand floors in that minute. So I spit out just as fast, “No I don’t.” I said it before I even thought it. Bless my stylist, she must have had this happen a lot. She pulled up what I now call the “Curly girl therapy chair” and proceeded to ask me why I think I don’t have curly hair. “Because it’s ugly,” oh shit! Did I just say that?? In a room full of curly girls? My genius stylist then pointed to various women in the salon and asked me if I thought their hair was ugly. No…I loved *their* curls. I would just look ugly with curly hair.
I know, you’re thinking “How the hell did this girl not know she had curly hair? Is she stupid?” But I had grown up with this process. I never questioned it. I just flat ironed it. So at the salon, at this point, I’m actually breathing quickly. I’m nervous. My eyes are wide. I can’t have curly hair. I hate curly hair. My stylist at this point realizes I’m freaking out. If there is one thing I’m a princess about, it’s my hair. So she says, “Let’s do a cut that will look good straight or curly. Let me just teach you how to style it curly.” I agree knowing I will go home and blow dry the hell out of my hair. So she teaches me about Devacurl products. She shows me how to squish my hair with gel and how to break the cast. She asks me to look in the mirror and honest to God, I was so anxious at this point I told her I couldn’t. I walked out not knowing how my hair looked. I ran for the gluten free cupcake place across the street. I sat and ate my cupcake, totally shaken. Pathetic I know. But I hear the women across the shop from me pointing at my hair and saying how pretty my curls were and they thought I went to the curly girl salon across the street. I told you I was a princess about my hair, right? Well I now had to know what it looked like. I took an iphone photo and it didn’t sit right. I didn’t look like me. After a few days though, it felt more normal.
So it’s been a bit more than 6 months since I got that cut. I haven’t used a flat iron since. My hair is a 1000x softer and it stopped falling out. I still have some frizz but it just looks better with slightly wild hair. I don’t spend more than 10 minutes on my hair everyday. I’m working with my hair. I’m trying to get down how to have curly hair and what products to use, but I called in the big guns and asked Kate (who has the most bouncy, perfect curls ever) to help me out. And she did- she even brought products to try! And her advice has made it a lot easier. My old friends can’t believe it’s my natural hair. A few new ones asked if I got a perm or started using a curling iron.
So yeah. I’m a curly girl.