Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Curly Girl

I thought it was Anna at Coffee Is Not Navy Blue who tipped me off to this book, but if it was, she deleted the post. Anyway, whoever you are, thanks for mentioning this book. I requested it from the library and have been trying this author's approach for keeping my curly hair curly. So far, so good. A few weeks ago I had what must have been one of the worst haircuts I've had since an obvious misogynist made me look like Annie Lenox, minus the orange, when I was 17. I am not shorn, but this last haircut was more of a thinning, and a severe one at that. She also left me with one thick shock of hair right on top, lopped to about half its previous length. So I could pretty easily look like a rooster if I used enough mousse. My hair is somewhat forgiving, though, so even though it was traumatized it doesn't really look it. And it all grows back eventually.

But back to the book. It really is a celebration of curly hair. It may sound irrational or silly to someone whose hair has been straight or nondescript her whole life, but my hair has been a significant factor in my emotional well-being for almost as long as I can remember. The book is interspersed with testimonials from women who told stories of being called "Brillo head" in school (yes, that one and "Fuzzy" were names I heard). Even in my own family, and coming from my own mouth I heard that my hair was "a bush". And it often was! My 8th grade picture has me sporting basically a huge Afro. Half the difficulty was having no real idea how to make my hair do anything other than be wild.

I've gotten better with the whole situation, but I'm hoping this book's tips will help with the last challenge, which is to get my curls to stay in tact even when winter strikes or when I don't exactly have scads of time to care for my hair. Some tips I have more or less known, but not always heeded: no combs, no brushing, scrunch in gel from the ends up, no dryer. Her one big thing which sounds weird but seems to work is to never (or rarely) shampoo your hair. Instead, to wash it with water, use exfoliating scrubs on your scalp weekly, maybe a purifying tonic (lemon juice), and use a good conditioner for moisture.

My daughter has inherited my curly hair, and I wish for her to be free to enjoy her curls without the anxiety and lack of skill I had.


Wednesday's addendum:

My chiropractor asked me today if I'd gotten a perm. I guess it must really be working!


Donna said...

I am going to have to check this book out!! My hair on most days is a wild tangle of...something. And now it is a brassy tangle of something. I can so relate to your hair being tied to your emotions...but you remember my post about that...=)

So, if you don't use shampoo, what kind of exfoliating scrub does one use? Does she suggest any? I also want to try a "rosemary tea" rinse sometime (just because it smells delicious!). I agree about the good conditioner - sometimes that is the one thing that saves my hair! =)

Marie said...

I haven't done the exfoliating thing yet, but she suggests a certain amount of either brown sugar or quinoa mixed into conditioner and used for "spot scrubs".

I find that I don't miss the shampoo as much as I thought I did. I didn't realize how dry my hair had been getting -- didn't really connect dryness with the frizzies.

Marie said...

Sorry, can't type and read Spot's Big Book of Words at the same time :)

I meant, I don't miss shampoo as much as I thought I would.

Donna said...

I just ordered this book from my Borders store - it should arrive within the next week or so. Hopefully I will then begin to have HAPPY HAIR! =)

Thanks for sharing this!