Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's A Curl To Do?

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very good indeed.
But when she was bad she was horrid.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’m a curly girl.

I know… it’s hard to tell when you look at the pictures of me in my profile. But that’s because I often give in to the straight hair obsession around me and go at it with a straightening gel, a blow dryer and round brush, and a flat iron.

Being curly isn’t easy.

It means living in fear of even slight humidity, knowing full good and well that the frizz factor of your hair is directly related to the moisture level in the air.

It means having to do something with your hair every day, because one night of sleep causes either a) flattened curls leaving an odd crop-circle type thing on the side or back of your head; or b) a total fuzzy, frizzy mess.

It means living with mixed messages as women you know tell you all the time “oh, if I had curls like that…” But show up sporting a blow out and the same woman says “oh, your hair looks soooo good like that!”

What is it about curly hair that seems to make some people uncomfortable on a deep mental level? Do our curls bring up images of Medusa and her head full of snakes?
Is it a subconscious fear that we are personally as wild and out of control as our hair? The wild woman  or bad girl is often portrayed with a head full of spirals. And often in a blazing shade of red. But I digress – there’s probably enough fodder there for an entirely new article.

It means that on a good day it is my crowning glory of waves and twists. On a bad day it is the frazzled uncontrollable bane of my existence.

All this leads to a complete love/hate relationship with my curly hair. Is it any wonder that the sleek, shiny waves that can be obtained with heated instruments is so tempting?

But after fighting my hair’s natural tendencies for too long, and considering a number of factors (not the least of which was the discovery of the 2011 article “In Defense of Curly Hair” by Judith Newman); I am choosing to embrace my curls once again. I am switching to sulfate free shampoo, and stocking up on good conditioners, leave in moisturizers and balms. I am using the diffuser that came with my blow dryer – when I actually use the blow dryer. I’ve put away the flat iron. I’m giving the curls free range. (maybe not completely free – I’m keeping them somewhat tame with plenty of creams, serums, and balms)

I may come to regret it as summer comes around full of hazy, hot, humid days to make me fight the frizz. But we’ll deal with that when the time comes. I may even from time to time yield to the siren song of the flat iron calling me to live out my fairy tale princess fantasy of silky, shiny, wavy tresses. (But let’s not forget – even Disney finally gave a princess a wild mop of red curls with the release of Brave!)

Join me curly girls! Toss out the straighteners and hold your curling serums high!

Love your curls!


  1. Totally feel your pain. I blame my curls on my low self esteem... I swear I think curly girls (me anyways!) has more bad hair days than straight hair girls.

    I am slowly learning to embrace the waves. I have also switched to sulfate free and trying different creams. I haven't tried a balm though. I only broke out the flat iron twice in a little over a month though, so I am proud of myself.

    Good luck in your curly girl adventure!

  2. Haha I totally get this! My hair never did decide whether it wanted to be curly or straight so I'm stuck in between. When it's rainy BOOM I'm hidden in a tent of curls.. but I think we're lovely that way. :) Like the naturally curly-haired girl from Charlie Brown said... people expect greater things from us. ;)

  3. I wish mine would just make up it's mind whether to be wavy or straight. This in between crap stinks!


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