Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Curly Mess

I have naturally curly hair. Not the pretty uniform curls like Shakira or Sara Jessica Parker, but rather the flat and messy curls like Tanya's character on HBO's Hung series. I've been straightening my curls/waves/rat's nest since the mid 90s when Jennifer Aniston's coif was worshipped. Heck, even she straightens her curls! Back then the Internet was new and you couldn't just 'Google' a hair product and have it on your doorstep a couple days later. When I read the 1995 In Style issue with Jennifer on the cover and found out she used Phytodefrisant, I knew I had to have some.

At the time, I was fresh out of college and had a job traveling where I would format finance and insurance forms on a dot matrix printer for RV and boat dealerships. It wasn't glamorous but it got me on the road to different locations across the US and I'm grateful I had the experience. It led me to California where I was able to buy Phytodefrisant in a beauty shop on Rodeo Drive. I was also able to call them and order more when I ran out. I wouldn't say Phytodefrisant was life changing, but it was a segue into other straightening products.

After more than 15 years of straightening my hair with short periods of 'I think I'll wear my hair curly today,' I came across an article last April on the Huffington Post about a woman whose hair was morphed from a frizzy mess into beautiful ringlets. Not knowing my hair curl type at the time, I saw the ringlets and just had to get my hands on the product. For three months, I used the Deva line of No Poo, One Condition, and Arc Angel. The premise of the products is to break away from harmful ingredients in shampoos and to add moisture back into your hair. And their products work - for ringlet hair. I learned that I have s'wavy hair. And although I have a lot of hair, it is fine and can't handle the heavy products of the Deva line. But I stuck with the routine of washing with conditioner (yuck!), flipping my head upside down in the shower and scrunching in Arc Angel, drying with a special towel that won't disrupt the curl pattern, and waiting three horrible hours before being able to scrunch out the 'cast' at work. I hated going to work with wet hair. I felt unprofessional and exposed. I then switched to another line of natural, curly hair products - Jessicurl - with only slightly better results.

I had a handful of 'good' curl days, and a sh*tload of bad hair days. The first two pictures below are of the 2 out of 5 good hair days over a 5-month period.  And I look at them and think, 'gosh, those are some great curls.' The first picture is of my finished result at the Devachan salon in White Plains, NY, where I was placed under a powerful hooded dryer for a tortuous hour. The second picture is on a lazy Sunday where I had the time to let my hair fully air dry (5 hours) before scrunching into beautiful curls. The last picture is what my hair looked like most days and why I went back to a life of silicones, blow dryers, and flat irons. I feel so much more alive and confident with straight hair.

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  1. My hair I guess is naturally curly, but it's more like Kip Winger's hair than actual curl. When I was younger I could get away with lots of beachy waves with an occasional curl in it, but as I have gotten older it just looks unfinished and unprofessional. To make it actually presentable curly requires too much effort, time, heat so I too straighten most of the time. Totally can relate :)

    1. Exactly! It actually took more time to get my curls to form and fall in the right place (and it looked completely different every day!) then it does to blow it out (15 mins) and flat iron (10 mins). During winter I can get away with every other day blow outs. I use a Tassi on nights when I don't want to wake up and wash my hair. Works pretty well at containing my hair and keeping it in a shape I can work with the next morning.