It was straight when I was little. Blond and silky straight, falling out of braids and hair ties.
Papa told me it was the color of spun gold and I would wrap the strands around my fingers and marvel. People seemed to like gold, according to storybooks, and here I had a whole head of it!
Then I turned eleven and it changed. The color darkened to a dusty brown. And, horror of horrors, it started to frizz. And when I say, “frizz”, I really mean it. I would brush and brush my poor brown locks, pulling them as straight as possible. let go and bzzzt! up they would frizzle.
By the time I was fifteen, I had learned the art of controlling frizz. I would brush my hair and then slather it with gel. It poofed, but remained somewhat flat and stuck together. Whew.
People would see me and say, “Oh, deary, is your hair naturally curly? What I wouldn’t give for natural curls.” And I would think, are all you people crazy-go-nuts? Do you SEE this pile of uncontrollable frizziness?
When I turned seventeen my best friend convinced me to do a crazy, crazy thing. I chopped off all my hair. When it was wet, it hung to my shoulders and when it dried the ringlets tucked up above my ears. For the first time, I realized what I had.
Turns out that all that weight was holding down real-true-Shirley-Temple-style RINGLETS. I stuck my head under a faucet each morning, wrung out the water, tossed in some gel and whalla! Perfection. I bought “Curls-Up” by the armloads and for an entire year my hair was hassle free.
I was never. ever. growing my hair long again.
Except, well, this startling thing happened. I kind of missed my hair. I missed the braids and the creative things I could do and the way it felt dangling between my shoulder blades. It was hassle free, yes, but also boring.
So I started to grow it out.
But this time I did some research. My uncle had married a woman from South Africa and I pestered her with questions. I learned some interesting things… like not brushing it (who knew?), using only specially designed shampoo (or none at all) and slathering it with oil on a regular basis.
It’s a lot of work. When I do have to brush it out (only when it’s slathered with conditioner or oil) it takes about twenty minutes. For reals.
And on the average day I keep it in a side braid, which isn’t the cutest hairstyle in the world. But anytime I want, I can shake out the curls, toss in a little coconut oil or Super Gro and a smidgen of Aloe and long ringlets will re-enter my life.
I might cut it again someday, depending on where I am in life and what I’m doing… but for today, I love it.
Are you a curly girl? What’s your favorite curly hair tip? Stay tuned for more posts on curls and curly hair care in the future!