Friday, October 24, 2008
Boing! Curly girl!
Why is it so hard to find people in the fashion industry who LOVE curly hair? I have lost count over the number of makeover shows featuring stylists brandishing flat irons. I have walked by numerous booths at the mall, staffed by eager sales associates, who eye up any hair with a whimper of a wave, and attempt to stamp it out of existence. Curly hair isn't always seen as pretty, and it makes me really frustrated.
I spent the majority of my life thinking I had horrible hair. I'd brush it out once it dried, and the most I could think to do with it was pull it back into a ponytail. I looked at my sleek straight haired friends and burned with envy. Unfortunatly, a former stylist of mine used to help feed my negative self image. My hair was permanently straightened, many years ago at his salon, and after examining it he said "It's a good thing you're doing this, because you really have horrible hair." He even took pictures of my hair, so we could all re-live the dramatic before and after transformation. I paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars to keept it straight, and purchased a slew of top of the line hot styling tools, just so I'd look more mainstream. After all, if my natural hair was horrible, how could bear it?
My salvation came oddly enough through my mother. She was at the Woman's Show in Toronto many years ago, and there was a stlist there who specialized in curly hair. My mom always wore her hair short, and teased out (blech!) and he took her sorry curls, and with a new technique, and the right products, he turned her hair into magic. Instead of poof and frizz, she had glorious curls! S he kept going to his salon every few months, and gradually grew out her hair. It looked amazing the longer it got. I was watching her go through this process, and I was amazed. Seeing her success made me wish that I had curls to work with also. (At this point, I only thought my hair was wavy.)
One day I found myself calling up this salon, to see if he'd help me style my waves. I was nervous (I didn't want ANOTHER person telling me I had horrible hair), but determined. What I discovered that day was amazing. I was still growing out some permanent straightening I had done, but they were able to work with what was left and show me what my hair was really capable of. My curls were a bit limp because the majority of my hair had been straightened, but the roots had serious promise, so I was encouraged.
I focused on growing out my hair and going in for frequent trims to keep it healthy. Before I knew it all the processed hair was gone, and I was back to the natural me. That was 3.5 years ago. I now know what products curly hair should avoid (anything with silicone in is a major NO), and better yet...what products my hair loves. I learned how to style curly hair too, which is really important. It's so easy, and takes me minutes a a day. Now, I get compliments on my hair all the time. I run into numerous people who come up to me to say they love their hair, and wish their frizz could look like this. I tell everyone that it CAN! (See the picture below. That's my hair before all this happened.)
What kills me is that most of the women who come up to me DO have hair that has major potential. They just haven't learned how to manage it yet. It's because society right now has tunnel vision, and straight hair has become the be all and end all. The majorit of hair stylist out there have no clue what to do with a mass of curly hair. ALL my former stylists used to flat iron mine, and then cut it as if it were straight hair. Naturally my hair would look really weird if I did attempt to forgo the flat iron for the day.
Well I'm not buying into it the whole straight hair thing anymore. Being me has never felt better. It costs much less money, is saving me considerable time, and I get more compliments now than I ever did with straight hair.
If anyone out there has gone through a similar situation, I strongly recommend you check out this forum:
http://www.naturallycurly.com/ I found the people there a HUGE support. I learned a lot, and discovered some additional techniques and products that my new stylist didn't recommend, but that are really working for me. If you're in Toronto, and would love to learn how to get amazing curly hair, check out my stylist. His name is Jonathan Torch. His website is http://www.frizzoff.com/ He is so passionate about curly hair, and I always feel amazing after leaving his salon. He understands how to properly cut curls (very few stylists do), and he has develped some great products for curls. (My favorite product of his is a runny liquid gel called Curl Keeper. It works miracles, and gives curly girls amazing shine!)
Another tip is to check out this book by Loraine Massey called "Curly Girl". Loraine has another technique for working with curls that works well for a LOT of people.
Anyway, I hope this little blurb helps anyone out there who is struggling with their natural hair! Curls can be gorgeous, so love what you were born with, and hold your head up high!