Four Months of Curly Hair

So back in December I finally started the process of embracing my curly hair.

Four months later, I am completely in love with it. Everyday my hair is bit different; always full of surprises.

Today was one of my best hair days in a very long time, and that includes when my hair was straight. I am so happy that I have stuck with the Curly Girl program (which includes giving up silicones and sulfate shampoos). My hair has never looked better and hasn’t been this health since before I started chemically processing it when I was 13!

Just thought I’d share my happiness and new found love for my hair!

Put Down the Flat Iron and Walk Away

Several weeks ago I posted about my curly hair and how I was about to embark on my new journey towards hair enlightenment. Well actually I just wrote that I was going to follow the popular “Curly Girl” method (named after Lorraine Massey’s book) and see if I can handle not straightening my hair into submission.

When I began the process of following the “Curly Girl” method, which involves staying away from sulfate-free shampoos, hydrating hair with lots of conditioner and using only gel to style the curls with a few other styling techniques, I expected more freedom from my flat iron and my blow dryer and potential fights with my hair because in the past I have not been happy with my curls. I never expected to fall in love with my curls, and lets just say I fell hard.

I had borrowed “Curly Girl” from the library (San Francisco’s libraries are awesome!) after reading an article that referenced the Massey’s book in Glamour Magazine. The version I got was published several years ago but was still a wealth of knowledge. In the book Massey talks about “turning the corner”, that when someone first starts the “Curly Girl” program their hair may not look great for the first few weeks while it is basically healing from heat damage but, around the third week their true curly hair emerges. Well I have more or less turned the corner, and it is wonderful. Not only am I so pleased with how my hair looks, I am happy to have finally put down my flat iron and walk away. I haven’t touched it in nearly 4 weeks and I hope to not use it for at least the next year, if ever again.

The value of curls is so much clearer to me now. Before I blended in with all the other straight haired women out there, now I stand out! Whats more I seem to notice more women with curls all around me, each with unique types of curly hair. My curls have given much more freedom than I thought possible. In the past when I wore my hair curly, I had to maintain it everyday, now I know that if I treat my curls right they can last a few days. My previous hair styling regimen was so extensive that I had plan out my whole day or even week around it. Curls have given me so much more spontaneity in my life.

A funny thing happened right after I started my “Curly Girl” routine; my hairdryer that I’ve had for years broke. I took it as a sign that my flat iron days are over. I ended up getting a new hair dryer, after all I live in San Francisco where going outside with wet hair in the winter is not always a good idea, but my new dryer is a bit more gentle for my curls.

Looking back to my previous post on the subject, I talked about my hope that 2011 will be a year of curls. I choose to make a new year resolution to not touch my flat iron and I get the feeling that will be the first resolution in a long time that I actually keep. Do I still have the urge every now and then to have straight hair? Yes, yes I do. But armed with the new edition of “Curly Girl”, support from websites that celebrate curls (like NaturallyCurly that I recently discovered), all the awesome hair care products I’ve been experimenting with and my new found confidence I am certain that my flat iron will stay under my bathroom sink and I will have a head full of curls throughout 2011.

Curls

I have been blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with curly hair. I am somewhat of an anomaly in my family, no one else really has curls. The closest genetic link to my curly hair comes from my father, who had the craziest hippie/”jewfro” hair you’d ever see before he went bald. My mother however has naturally straight hair which does not have an ounce of curl in it. I must have gotten the short end of the genetic stick, winding up with dark Russian hair that is difficult to manage.

I have spent so many years fighting my curls; using chemical treatments, flat irons and every conceivable “straighting” cream on the market. While all these weapons I’ve used against my curly hair have been mostly effective, I feel like its a huge war to wage against nature. But I still battle to the death with my hair, and for what reason? Mostly because of society’s ideas of what is beautiful. I always claim I was born in the right decade for my hair, but grew up in the wrong one. I was a child of the 1980′s and at that time, voluminous, curly hair was a hot look. Unfortunately, being born in the late eighties meant I had to grow up in the 1990′s and become a teenager in the new millennium. When I hit my teens straight hair was the look to have. So I fought my hair until it became straight.

Lately I am starting to feel like the war I wage is useless. I had already resolved that one day I’d throw in the towel and stop fighting nature. However I figured that time would come when I had a family to take care of and no time to bother with my hair. While that is certainly not the case now, I still feel like straightening my curly hair away is not the most worth while thing to do. I long for the convenience of wash and go hair. I hate spending hours upon hours blow drying and flat ironing my hair only to walk outside on a foggy San Francisco day (there sure are a lot of them) and have my hair balloon up with frizz. Honestly I want to embrace the curly beauty that I know is there under all the frizz.

I recently picked up a book from the library that has been around for several years (an updated version will be released in Jan 2011) called “Curly Girl” by Lorraine Massey and Michele Bender. The passion for curls in the book has gotten me thinking a lot about my hair and how if I treated my curls with more love, they’d look amazing. So I’ve decided that once I am officially on winter break I am going to try out the program in the book. I am going to follow the techniques which include changing my shampoo routine and styling techniques. Hopefully I can learn to embrace and love my curly hair. Maybe, just maybe 2011 will be a year of curls.