Would you believe it has officially been four weeks since I brushed or combed my hair?
You don’t comb your hair?
Um…I don’t understand. Why? What do you do instead? What brought this on?
Okay, calm down. Here’s the deal. I read the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey, and I decided to give her methods a try. They’re a big change from the ordinary, though! It boils down to a few things. I don’t use a brush or comb. Ever. The only tool I need is my fingers. And secondly, conditioner is much more important than shampoo. I use conditioner every day, I use shampoo about twice a week right now, hopefully to be reduced even more. Also, when I do use shampoo, I apply conditioner first, to protect the hair from the shampoo. And, people are right when they say your hair will adjust to less shampoo. For the first couple of weeks, I tried to go as long as I could, washing with conditioner every day, and the day that I thought I absolutely had to use shampoo, I tried to go just one extra day. At first I used shampoo every third day or so. Eventually I could go four days. Suddenly at the three-week mark, my hair was different. I easily went 7 days, just conditioner, without realizing it had been so long!
If you think I’m crazy and you want more details about the whys and the hows, borrow the book from me. 🙂 The importance, for me, has not been in the details of method anyway. It has been more of an emotional or spiritual process than I expected, and in no way is it over! I have always had emotional attachment to my hair; I think a lot of women do. Getting my hair cut, even just a trim, is always a big ordeal, looking through hairstyle magazines, considering the options for a few weeks, choosing a picture or two to take with me. And the feeling of sitting down in the chair and letting someone else take a scissors to my hair…gah! Like jumping off a cliff into the ocean. At some point, you have to take the leap and trust that it will be all right.
The foundation of Ms. Massey’s “method” is actually attitude. I have to accept that my hair is curly, and fall in love with that. (The phrase “learn to love that,” just doesn’t sound very positive. I’m not aiming for grudging acceptance, I want to want my curls.) It’s not something that happens overnight, apparently. I have, many times over the past three weeks, looked at someone’s hair and said, “I wish my hair was as long/straight/blonde/thick as her!” And those are pretty much the four pillars of “perfect” hair, aren’t they? Long, straight, blonde, and tons of it. So I have, like, the opposite of perfect. Great.
It’s hard to get out of “comparison mode.” But when I do, here’s the thing. I do like curls, and brown hair. The length of my hair is up to me. So is the color, for that matter. And as far as the amount of hair, the length, the shine, everything having to do with health, well, it’s like anything else. My healthy choices will make all parts of my body as “perfect” as they can be, but there is no perfect. No amount of exercise, fruits and veggies, or sleep will make me 5 foot 10 or give me straight hair. Even the girl who seems to have the “perfect” hair, the “perfect” body, etc…I’m guessing there is something she is self-conscious about and compares to other people. Either that or she spends an awful lot of time and money to make imperfect things perfect. I believe it was Cindy Crawford who said, “Even I don’t look like Cindy Crawford first thing in the morning.”
Life is not about outward appearance, anyway, it’s about who you are and what kind of mark you leave on the world. But it’s so easy to slip into “comparison mode,” where you feel like you have less value because you don’t have the perfect outward appearance that Hollywood usually portrays.
Okay, no more mulling over it. Pictures! I have somewhat gentle, wavy curls, nothing like corkscrew curls or anything as tight as that. The first set is from day three of the curly process.
It was the first day of the process that I looked in the mirror and said, Okay this could work, this is kind of cute! However, my curls were still more “fluffy” than they are now, because it takes time to recover from incessant blowdrying and shampooing.
And this one is from about three weeks later. I couldn’t for the life of me get a good angle on a picture, but you’re looking at the back right side of my head in the first picture. I feel like the curls are more hydrated, they keep their shape better and separate into curls without becoming frizz. The waves are more consistent from root to tip, rather than being more curly at the bottom and barely curly near the roots. It’s a very subtle change, and maybe you can’t even tell, I don’t know. At the end of the day, I usually have perfect curling-iron ringlets. If I actually used a curling iron, they wouldn’t look like perfect ringlets at the end of the day. They wouldn’t look perfect after an hour!
I’m noticing curly-haired people all over now. A woman at the grocery store. Darlene on Roseanne. Victoria on Twilight. Danny Tanner’s girlfriend on Full House…what’s her name?
I’m looking forward to the process continuing. I wonder if I will want to grow my curls longer. I wonder how long that will take. I wonder if I will try colors or highlights. They seem to change from day to day — I wonder, if I stick with the curls, how they will look in a year?