It’s a glamourous life I lead.
Please, if you aren’t interested in hair care sagas, move along.
All my life, I’ve had wavy, coarse hair, which apart from a dalliance with perms in my 20s, I pretty much kept short as an adult. Something happened when I hit my late forties… It felt too perky and mannish or something. So I started to grow it out.
During this grow-out phase, I also decided to let me grey emerge. With some strategic highlights and avoiding mirrors, I had about an inch or so of growth before my sweetheart commented that I was too young to let this happen to me. I’m probably 75% grey and I suspect he wasn’t ready to be married to an older woman. His culture is one of dark haired 75-year-olds, so it kinda made sense, even though he’s probably 99% grey. So I stepped back onto the colour treadmill.
The in-between stages of the grow-out were painful, but every time i had a blowout at a salon, my hair was soft and straight and lovely. Problem was that I couldn’t reproduce this at home. My hair constantly looked frizzy, wonky, and to my dear mathematician husband’s dismay, asymmetrical.
My sister passed me a plastic tupperware container of “curly” hair product and suggested that I give it a try. It was an improvement, but I was still spending far too much time fixing and drying and flat-ironing and messing around in my bathroom.
I had read some time ago about the “curly girl” revolution, sparked by Lorraine Massey’s seminal tome Curly Girl: A Celebration of Curls: How to Cut Them, Care for Them, Love Them, and Set Them Free. There’s a website devoted to all things curly called naturallycurly.com. You can find Massey’s hair classification system for different types of curly hair at the website. I’m a 2(c): “Wavy plus thick and coarse and a little resistant to styling and will frizz easily.” There are lots of product recs and a forum to discuss hair, which is a bit much for me, but I did peruse it to get some product tips.
The philosophy espoused by Massey and her disciples is to work with your hair to bring out it’s natural essence. My sister has been harping (nicely) on me about this for some time but it wasn’t until I started reading about how to actually do this that I decided to give it a try.
The main steps seem to be as follows:
- Stop shampooing and use conditioner to clean the scalp. Sulphate in shampoo lead to frizz.
- Use a ton of conditioner on your hair and leave it on as long as you can. Rinse it out in cool water. Consider leave-in conditioners as well.
- Stay away from products with silicone in them
- Stay away from towel drying other than patting. Use a microfibre towel or cotton tshirt to wrap your head for the first stage of drying.
- No hairbrushes or blow dryers, other than a diffuser. Keep your hands out of your hair.
- Product is your friend. Find ones that work for your hair.
I haven’t been a big shampooer for a few months. Maybe once a week. So I’m good to go on that front. I have slathered on conditioner and run a wide tooth comb through my hair in the shower to work it in. After squeezing my hair dry, I put in product (some styling cream and soem gel) and I hang my head over and wrap it in an old large tshirt. After 20 minutes or so, remove towel, don’t touch hair (especially, don’t run your fingers through it as this breaks up the curls!).
I did this two days ago and got quite nice waves, a surprising crop in fact. I’m working it again today, and this time I added some gel before the towel to see how that looks. I noticed two days ago that I had a patch of frizz on one side of my head and I suspect that I missed that area with the curl cream, so I paid more attention today to get all areas covered.
I need to get my hair cut to avoid the triangle-head phenomenon common with blunt cuts, and my roots are screaming, but I’m pretty happy with this new hair freedom. I’ll put up some pics of my finished hair later today.