I recently chopped all my hair off. So I am going to tell you my “Curl Story” and a little bit more.
I was born with CURLY hair. I had a halo of curls my entire childhood. I never knew how to care for them and my mom was totally overwhelmed with them. I grew to resent them. I want long straight hair like other girls at school. Not frizzy wild hair that never actually looked curly to me… just frizzy. If I couldn’t have straight hair I wanted hair like this: Picture. Beautiful well-formed curls that flowed down my back like a Botticelli model. People always told me that they loved my hair but for some reason I didn’t believe them. All I saw was frizzy hair and it drove me NUTS.
Getting my hair cut was always an ordeal. Most hair stylist don’t know how to handle curls (VERY CAREFULLY!!) and cut it the same way they cut straight hair. I can’t tell you how many times I left a salon upset that my hair wasn’t perfect curls or magically straight. I called it the wedge, the pyramid, the bell… I could go on and on. Curly girls know what I am talking about.
When I got to middle school there was a girl, Carol, with perfect curls. I loved her curls. I wanted her perfect blond curls. I asked her how she took care of it and discovered mouse. Then came crunchy curls. I had crunchy curls for a long time. I still had frizz but it was better than it was. I also began to realize that I touch my hair too much and that my hair looked better when I didn’t touch it. I am bad about that. I like running my fingers through my hair. When it is curly I get nervous about it, which makes me touch it, which makes it look worse. Just writing that sentence made me run my fingers through my hair.
In high school I discovered the blow dryer. I loved rainy days because my mom would blow dry my hair for me in the very early morning hours. It was quite the process. It would take at least 45 minutes to do. Which now seems ridicules to me knowing now that the moisture in the air would lead to frizz (my enemy). I would be so happy with my hair until I stepped out doors and then I would be a poodle again. Grrr. So off and on for the next 5-10 (gulp) years I would go for various amounts of time blow drying my hair and alternating with curly hair.
I was very lucky. My curls were resilient. No matter how much I blow dried them I could wash them and then they would be curly again. No problem.
In 2006 I found a hair stylist who knew how to cut curly hair, gave me a GREAT haircut that actually showed off my curls and made them look beautiful. He also told me not to wash my hair as much with shampoo. I was used to this with blow drying my hair. I would go several days making a blow dry last for up to a week so I didn’t have to blow it out again. This made my curls better but there was always a point in there where it would just get too greasy and I would have to wash my hair.
In 2008 I moved back to Pennsylvania and I was determined to figure out how to care for my curl. I had to find a way to make peace with them. To make them look pretty. I wanted to be happy with them. I discovered the Curly Girl Method in 2009. I could go on and on about this but I won’t here. If you like more on this leave a comment and maybe I’ll write another post about my experience with it.
I had pretty curls for the first time in my life. I was so happy about it I couldn’t stand it. I loved people telling me they loved my curls because I agreed with them. I was still occasionally blow drying my hair but only for special occasion or event. For some reason straight hair means dressed up, grown up or fancy to me?
I got pregnant with my daughter in 2010 and my locks got longer and longer and thicker and thicker. I loved ’em.
I had my daughter in August of 2011 and I knew from the moment I saw her that she was going to have curly hair and I wanted her to love it. I never wanted her to feel ashamed of her curly hair like I did. I wanted to show her how to take care of it and make it look pretty. I wanted her to never feel the out of control-ness that my frizzy hair made me feel.
I have shampooed her hair 2 times in her life (she is just over 2 now). I have threatened my family and my husband’s family with death if they shampoo her hair. My husband washes her hair with conditioner so lovingly it breaks my heart when I see him gently combing out her conditioned curls. I love making her curl perfectly formed. I love hearing people compliment her curls. It makes my heart swell.
A little over a year ago I discovered the flat-iron and curling iron. DHUN DHUN DHUN. I noticed that my curls weren’t as curly. I was in-between cuts and I thought “well, I’ll just flat-iron it/curl it.” So for about the next 6-7 mos I was a slave to the flat-iron/curling iron. In June 2013 I decided to do a dark red wash in my hair. Now I knew that red is really hard on hair but I didn’t think much of it. My hair is resilient, right? I had done red before no problem. I can abuse it and it will keep bouncing back, literally. WRONG. I fried my hair. BAD. I was mortified. I had never had fried hair. I was heart-broken. My curls felt like straw and my hair was thinner and it wouldn’t curl. Now this was just a 28 day ammonia-free rinse. I went back to the Curly Girl routine immediately thinking that would help. Nope. My curls were stringy and greasy. I tried new products and old products and got the new Curly Girl book and nothing helped. I tried this for months. It got better but it wasn’t back to normal. I started to notice that if I didn’t use a diffuser on it and scrunch it, I would hardly have any curl at all.
Finally, in October I bit the bullet and decided to get my hair cut. I was expecting to get it cut off and end up with my bouncy full curls back. I was wrong. My hair has changed. I have a little wave now but not enough to make “real” curls. But I am determined to take care of my hair. I am still using shampoo, only because I have to. My hair gets so oily in just a day or so that I look like a greaser if I don’t wash it every day. My hair is thinner then it ever was. I am using only natural, curly girl approved products on my hair. I moisturizer like it is going out of style. I finally have soft hair again.
But I am going to pout now. It isn’t fair that I finally learn how to take care of my curly hair and now it’s gone. I know that I have, probably, done it to myself but that still doesn’t seem fair. I would give a lot to have my thick curls back. I hope that they will come back. Perhaps my body needs a rest or is changing or with the next baby they will come back. Who knows.
I consider myself a pretty healthy person. My mother in-law is convinced that it’s my thyroid, but I’m not showing any other signs of thyroid problems. I eat well, most of the time. I get enough rest, except for when I don’t. I exercise, when I can (I also have a very active job). Hell I take vitamins! A LOT of them to make up for what I don’t eat enough of. I guess after writing this post, it is time to call the doctor and see what they think. Perhaps it is time for a good once over.
So I wrote the above blog in November. I was at a point that I figured that I would NEVER have curly hair again. That I was destin to have normal wavy boring hair.
I did have my thyroid checked when I first found out I was pregnant and it was low. I had it checked again in the second trimester and it was normal, so who knows what is going on with that.
But I am happy to announce that my curls are BACK! I have been using the curly girl method religiously. I don’t use shampoo at all. I gingerly blot my hair with cotton t-shirts. I only use alcohol free gel and a leave in conditioner in it. I don’t touch them once I dry them. I haven’t blow dried them straight once since they have come back. I only use a diffuser on low heat to quick dry them. I am like a fanatic. I am so happy that they are back I have been telling people about it non-stop. I have converted at least one girl at work.
Prayers answered! My only fear at this point is that I am going to lose them again after I have this baby. Hopefully that last round was just a warning from the curly hair gods. Warning me that they can be taken away just as quickly as they can be given. Yes ma’am! You got my attention!