Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Giving Up on My Hair

If you know me IRL, then you know my hair. It is curly and it is red. According to one friend, she can always find me in the crowd at church, thanks to my hair. The color part gets help these days as I approach "a certain age," but I will not go gentle into that particular good night.

Several years ago, I wouldn't go gentle into the curly night, either. When Himself and I met, I used the round-brush technique to dry my hair. Every. Single. Day. Since I have a lot of hair, this took a considerable amount of time. As well as a toll on my hair. But I was committed to straight hair.

On a camping trip during this same period, I decided to let my hair dry by itself after I'd showered. A friend was amazed. "I didn't know you had curly hair!" she exclaimed. I guess I shocked her. Really, curly hair can be a bit startling, especially if you're not expecting it.

However, not long after Miss Priss was born, I gave up straightening my hair. Shocking, eh? I know, but I was busy with other things. I didn't have the time to mess with it.

But I didn't give up messing with it entirely. Over the years, I sometimes dried it with a blow dryer and then put it in hot rollers in an attempt to control my curls. Other times I wore it short. I've coated it with gels, pomades, de-frizzers, curling balms, pomades, etc.

The thing is, everyone in my family of origin has curly hair to varying degrees except my mama, whose hair is stick straight (and she has kept it permed for decades). And we've all messed with it. Curly hair is versatile, since you can wear it straight, wavy, or curly, depending on how much time and effort you feel like investing in your hairdo.

But I recently had a revelation. I came upon Lorraine Massey's book, Curly Girl, at a used bookstore, and I bought it. Massey has a interesting viewpoint: stop fighting your curls and just go with it. Oh, and ditch the shampoo. According to Massey, shampoo is awful for curly hair. There's a difference between cleaning one's scalp and cleaning one's hair; and curly hair requires a different method than straight hair due to its molecular structure and moisture needs.

So I've been trying it. I've shampooed once in two weeks so far, and I concentrated on my scalp only. It's taking my scalp a while to get used to no shampoo. But I can already see some benefits -- at least, enough for me to continue with the experiment. Here's a recent photo of me (well, mostly my hair). (Thanks to Tiny Girl for her photographic expertise):

In the interest of truth in journalism, I used a dryer with a diffuser to finish things off, a method of which Massey approves.

Before the experiment, I only washed my hair about twice a week anyway, and I may eventually return to that method. I'll have to wait and see.

What I won't return to, however, is fighting my curly hair into submission. As Popeye used to say (and probably still does), "I yam what I yam."


  1. Just so y'know, I absolutely adore curly red hair. Just sayin'.

  2. Your hair looks beautiful! I always wished I had curly red hair- oh to be so blessed ;) Of course, now I think I am quite blessed to have stick straight hair lol. It doesn't curl; at all.

  3. Thanks for the tips. I have curly hair, not as curly, and not your gorgeous color, LOL, but the tips come handy. I noticed too that washing more often makes it look worse.

  4. What lovely hair you have! Strangely, my hair has grown curlier as I've aged. I think all the grey hairs are particularly bonkers!


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