Monday, 6 February 2012

My hair is my strength

I spend a lot of time thinking about my hair, taking care of my hair, styling my hair and generally doing hair-related things. I really just love my hair.

It makes me seem a bit shallow.

That could be a fair-enough statement - with all that is going on with the world, why spend so much time fussing about my hair? After all, it wasn't that long ago that my hair was nothing more than a source of frustration because I didn't know what to do with it.

In case you don't know what I look like, I have long, thick, brown, curly hair. Well, I say curly but in reality it is wavy and it takes a bit of effort to make it curl. And that was my biggest frustration: because I have "in-between hair" I could be either straight or curly and for many years I chose straight.

You can hardly blame me: it was the 90s and everyone wanted Rachel hair. I had just emerged from the 80s after numerous perms and quite frankly, I was ready to embrace my inner Rachel. So out came the straighteners, the blow driers, the straightening balms and all the rest.

When done right (and by this I mean 'professionally') my hair would look pretty nice when straight. The only problem was that I couldn't often get the professional help I needed to make my straight hair look ok, so often I would try my best and end up with a frizzy mess.

I also knew that all the heat from the straightening wasn't really helping my hair and was drying it out quite a lot. Leaving it 'as is' wasn't an option either because it would quickly turn into an afro. I wanted quick, easy hair that I could wash and leave so I did the obvious thing and cut it fairly short.

This worked for a while except that I couldn't really do much to it when it was short so I slowly let it grow again and I was back where I started. Eventually I became a mom and had zero time for anything at all to do with my hair (or anything that wasn't the baby, really!) and I simply pulled it back. This became my look for more than a couple of years...

I would still refuse to cut it short though. I have always liked long hair and with few exceptions, my hair has been long throughout my life. But it really wasn't doing anything for me just hanging off the back of my head. I did try to do a few different things but hairdressers just didn't seem to get it and I ended up with hair that I couldn't do much with.

Eventually though,I stumbled across a hairdresser that did get it. She didn't even ask me how I wanted my hair cut, she just did it and the result was a complete revelation. I could have curly hair and it could look good! At about the same time Carrie on SATC had made it absolutely clear that Rachel's time was over and it was absolutely ok (and fabulous) to have long curly hair.

So I did. I quickly realized that curly hair was not that difficult to achieve and with a little time and effort it could not only look good but save me time. I learned all about plopping and plunking. I invested in lots of products for curly hair. I bought a diffuser. I stopped brushing my hair, especially when wet. I learned that when done properly, curly hair is the easiest kind to deal with. And I let it get longer and longer and longer... and discovered in the process that having long, thick, curly hair that looks good was the best accessory I could have.

These days I absolutely love my hair. Sure, there are some days when it just won't work but on the whole my hair is my friend. I love to toss it, to twirl it around my fingers, to flick it when I'm dancing, to fluff it up, to pull it back, to pile it up or to let it hang down. Having nice hair makes me feel confident, sexy and girlie. My hair has definitely turned into one of my biggest assets!

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