The Hair

My naturally curly hair has long been my most identifying feature. When I've been mistaken for someone else, it has never been because we have similar facial features, build, or fashion sense. It is always because of The Hair. When someone searches for me in a crowd - even my own mother - they just look for The Hair.

5th grade. The beginning of the end.

From preschool through most of elementary school, I always had fluffy, wavy hair. Sometime in 5th grade, prepubescent hormones fundamentally changed the texture. My mom and I spent the next few years grasping at straws trying to figure out how to deal with my coarse, frizzy, unruly mass of curls.

8th grade. Losing the hair battle. Bonus: me before braces.

My mom has naturally curly hair, and she tried all of her tricks to get my hair under control, to no avail. Her curls are completely different from mine. After I left for college, I experimented with my curls on my own. Finding the best way to wear my curls has been a 2 decades long project.

I've tried mousses, creams, gels, sprays, serums, oils, relaxers, every shampoo and conditioner made for curls and/or dry hair, and chemical straighteners. I've used blow dryers (with diffuser of course), curling irons, hot rollers, foam rollers, and hair straighteners. I've had my hair long, short, and in between. When ceramic hair straighteners became popular, I bought one and started straightening my hair regularly. But I realized that I prefer my hair curly. I feel more "me" when my hair is natural, and also, it takes less work! The curl isn't my enemy; it's the frizziness. (And the straightening may have tamed my hair, but it did not solve the frizz.)

My curls are somewhere between Type 3A and Type 3B, high porosity, high density, and medium width. I love the curl. The density and width serve me well. The porosity has been the root (pun intended) of all of my hair woes. So I plan my attack accordingly. I am very much loving my curls these days. Here is my current method:

    I do need a better curly hair cut.

  • Shampoo only in extreme circumstances (like if I've been swimming), and then with sulfate-free shampoo. Working conditioner through the hair and rinsing with water cleanses it sufficiently.
  • Use a thick, hydrating conditioner several times per week.
  • Don't brush or comb, just work knots out with fingers while hair has conditioner in it.
  • Squeeze water out of hair with an old t-shirt, not terry-cloth. 
  • Turn hair upside down, separate curls, scrunch a bit, spray on argan oil and leave-in conditioner.
  • Turn right-side up, part hair on opposite side (to prevent the flat-head look), smooth coconut oil through hair.
  • Let air dry partially, correct part, style now if not wearing hair down, let hair air dry the rest of the way. 
  • "Pineapple" hair to sleep.
  • Sleep on a satin pillow case.


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