You know what aggravates me? Well a lot of things, but the ONE thing that really irritates me is the ignorance and un-appreciation of curly hair.
I am an avid magazine reader, and in every issue there is a section devoted to hair. It includes tips from haircuts to hairdos. And do you know what they ALL have in common? In every magazine and in every issue, they focus on STRAIGHT HAIR. Once in a while, you’ll find curly hair tips…but then again, its very rare. And if they include curly hair styles….its often how to make STRAIGHT hair into curly hair. What about us curly-haired girls??!! Don’t we get any tips, how-tos or hairdos?
Well after a curl-threatening event in my life, I have learned a great lesson. What I’m about to give you is something that those magazines can never give you. Its more than a hair-tip or a hairdo, its hair-love.
To educate all of you, I have curly hair and throughout my life, I’ve had constant issues with it. I was very self-conscious of it, and I wanted nothing more than to have straight hair. So at a young age, I began “relaxing” my hair (which is VERY, VERY unhealthy for your hair, so I suggest that you never, I mean NEVER do it!!!) because it was becoming unmanagable, and my mother and father thought it best to tame my mane of curls. (A relaxer slightly straightens your curls. Its kind of like a Japanese Straightener, but a relaxer leaves your hair wavy, and in time it grows out.) So being the young, naive and self-conscious girl that I was, I agreed. I wanted what every other girl had, straight hair. I didn’t want my tight curls, I wanted to conform. So I relaxed my hair, hoping to achieve that perfect straight/wavy look. Well after 3-4 relaxing treatments, I finally had enough. My hair was dried out and ridiculously frizzy and I wanted it to stop. It was obvious that I wasn’t meant to have straight hair…I was destined to be a head of curls. So I decided to be strong and grow out my curls and rid them of the relaxer.
As I was growing out the relaxers, I was slowly coming to terms with my curls, but I still hated them for all they were. My processed hair was dry and frizzy, and they just hung above my shoulders in a dead-like stance. My hair-dresser continually advised me that another relaxer treatment would benefit me. I looked at him stunned and dumb-founded. Was he serious? I had recently told him that I wanted to grow and restore my hair. Everyone around me was trying to convince me to RELAX my hair again!!! I was getting so frustrated, did no one like my hair? Why was he trying to rid my curls when it was obvious that they were rebelling! Along with my hair-dresser, my family sided alongside with him, everyone except my mom. She too had curly hair, and had relaxed it as well. She also had enough of it, and understood what it was like to be a curly head amongst a family of straight, non-frizzy heads. She took my side, and together we rebelled= We grew our curls out.
I left my hair-dresser, leaving without saying goodbye, and I soon found refuge at another salon where curls were embraced with diffusers rather than flat-irons.
My new hair-dresser agreed with me and my plan to never again relax my hair, and that growing my hair out would be the logically solution to my dry and frizzy situation. Her prescription was trims every 2-3 months and lots of conditioning. Slowly, my processed hair was meeting its sharp end.
Just a month ago, my mother took our hair-dresser’s advice and went with the “Keratin Complex Treatment by Coppola.” It is a formaldehyde-free treatment, which according to the Keratin Website, “thermally replaces keratin back into the hair cuticle, rejuvenating and smoothing the hair.” It leaves your hair softer, healthier, and manageable. The frizz is gone, and it softens your curls along with way.
Well, I was totally against it in the beginning; I did not want my hair touched anymore!! Both my mother and hair-dresser urged me to get it down, but I held my ground, I did not want to get rid of my curls.
After a couple of weeks, my mom made up her mind, and told me that I was getting it done. My hair was still damaged from the previous relaxers, it was becoming unmanageable. Part of me wanted it done, so that it will replenish my curls, and part of me didn’t want my hair touched by anymore treatments. But without a choice, I found myself sitting in chair for 4 hours, getting Keratin combed into my hair and then flat-ironed straight. I felt ashamed that I was getting this treatment done, and as she combed away my curls, I felt like my identity was being combed away as well.
As I left the salon with my hair poker-straight, I was heartbroken and scared. I didn’t want to lose my curls, and I really REALLY wanted to wash it out asap. But I held on and waited 4 days…yes 4 days without washing my hair. It was torture and I really didn’t want to leave my room, with THAT kind of hair. I really don’t need to go into details do I? I’m sure you all have a great picture of what my hair looked like.
When the fourth day approached, I ran into the shower and stood underneath my shower head and washed my hair TWICE. I wanted it all out, I wanted curly hair again. I didn’t feel like myself with straight hair. And I found it kind of funny, all my life I had been trying to achieve straight hair, and when I finally had it… I didn’t feel like myself. I hated me. I wanted my curls, I wanted Jo back.
So after I washed my hair, I styled it the way I usually did and after a couple of hours I went to bed. When I woke up that next morning, I looked into my mirror and gave out the loudest cry I every screamed.
MY CURLS WERE GONE.
My hair was flat on my head, give a little wave here and there. Tears were streaming down my face, and I ran down the stairs to show my mom. I was furious at her, my hair-dresser and most importantly myself. I listened to what everybody else said, and caved into the norm of straight hair. I threw my hair up in a bun and went to work in the worst mood, as I tried holding back tears every time I passed a mirror. I didn’t recognize myself without my curls. I was devastated. It was the first time in my life that I truly, truly missed my curls.
When I came back home, I decided to wash my hair one more time and try something different. I mousse and gelled my hair, and spent some quality time with my long-lost diffuser. When it dried, I noticed that some of my curls had their bounce back…they were coming back. I felt elated knowing that my curls weren’t long gone. So after a few more washings through the weeks, I finally regained my bouncing curls, without the frizz or dryness. My hair was finally curly, healthy and manageable. Jo was back.
After a few curl-threatening days, I thought that I had lost my curls forever. Never have I cried about losing them, and if it were a few years ago, I would have been the happiest girl in the world. But today, the thought of losing my curls stops my heart dead cold. I have finally learned to accept my them, and I love them more than anything. I’m happy to have curly hair, and it is so true, you never really how much you love something, until its gone.
So I’m thankful I got into that chair, sat on my ass for 4 hours, and spent 4 days without washing my hair. Because in the end, I have bouncy, frizz-free curls. And I can finally say,
I LOVE MY CURLY-HAIR.
I’m not Jo without them, and I could never trade them in for straight hair. Never ever.
So forget those magazines and how they ignore our curls. All we have to learn and know, is how to love them and soon every ringlet will fall into place.
-a more curly-happy jo.