I was at the produce market Sunday, and I heard somebody across the building say “I love her hair.” I have to tell you that throughout my life people have LOVED my hair. I wish I had loved my hair. To me, my hair was a colossal pain in the ass with very little payoff. Sure, there was the very occasional day in the winter when my hair would curl to perfection. I’d find myself going out just because I couldn’t waste a good hair day. They were so far and few between that it felt like a miracle. I could never reproduce it. The hair gods just smiled on me for that day and quickly retreated.
But other people have loved my hair. They even loved it when it was frizzy and out of control. I finally cut it all off when I moved to Seattle in the late 90s. With the wet weather, it was too much work and unpredictable, so I wore it about 2 inches long for about 13 years. It suited me. It still had the same effect on people. “I love your hair,” complete strangers would say to me. My husband would laugh and shake his head because it was so frequent. “Thank you,” I’d reply, and they’d marvel at how easy it must be to just wash and go. It was. When it was that short, I literally washed my hair, put some gel in it and hit the road. I didn’t even bother to dry it.
When I came to Louisiana, I wanted something different. I’m well into my 50s now. I wanted edgy. I wanted to capture the essence of my youth, and my hair was part of that picture. After all, the good Lord was my stylist, and he only puts hair this kinky, curly and unruly on people who can rock it. I am that kind of person. And I wanted to step into it more than ever.
So, when I heard “I love her hair,” roll off that gal’s lips, I looked in her direction. Sure enough, a pod of 4 young women were staring at my hair. “I love your hair,” she lip-synced to me. “Thanks,” I replied. A few weeks ago a woman approached me and told me she loved my hair. “It must be so easy,” she said. It had been a long time since someone said that to me, but I found myself having to contain an explosion of laughter. Embracing my curls has been anything but easy, and my morning routine is no longer easy or carefree. In fact, the process is still evolving, and it IS a project.
I didn’t know what to say to her because to say it was a lot of work would require me to explain the journey and the daily “surprise” that is my hair. I can style it exactly the same the day after a great hair day and get a completely different look. Then I can try something drastically different, and it looks exactly the same. My curls are a living, breathing organism with a mind of their own. I’m learning to deal with them, but it’s been a year this month that I found DevaCurl, and I’m still trying to figure out what they love. I know they hate the humid weather down here, but the rest is an experiment.
One thing that has really helped me is YouTube. Believe it or not, curly girls unite on YouTube. There’s a gal that has my type of curl – 3B and 3C – and she does videos on how she styles her hair. Straight-haired gals, if you ever get frustrated with your hair, watch one of these channels. You will understand that curls don’t make it any easier. They sort of become your life. She just posted this video about her journey back to embracing her curly hair. I laughed because it is very similar to my own. It took her 14 months to get her curl back. Mine came back a little quicker because I had quite straightening them a long time ago, but they are still getting healthy.
After I watched this, I noticed she had a video about how to handle second-day hair. It’s better to get several days out of your curls before you wash them again because they need to stay hydrated. But, I struggle with my second and third day routine.
I’ve only been able to get 3 days between washes, but my hairdresser extraordinaire in North Carolina – Lynn – tells me one of her clients gets two weeks! I’d love to stretch it even more! So, I watched this video and decided to try her method. After all, she says her curls are the same type as mine. Today is a rainy, stormy day. It’s the worst kind of day for my curls, so we’ll see if it helps tame the frizz. So far so good….
If you want to embrace your curls – whether they are wavy, curly or kinky – there are gals on YouTube that will show you how to do it. It’s a process, though. Don’t expect them to bounce back overnight. Below is a video about curl types. Find out what you have and start searching. I promise you if God gave you curls of any type, you were meant to rock ’em.