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.

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