My curls. I grew up absolutely despising the way my mom would make me brush my giant mane into a big ball of frizz to keep it all nice and untangled. I always felt like I had to tame the disaster. My hair ties would constantly break and I could never properly tie the school ribbon around my bushy ponytail. And don't get me started on those itty bitty bobby pins.
All of my friends growing up had simple straight hair that just seemed so easy to manage. I always felt like they'd wake up to their soft locks and immediately feel beautiful. I, on the other hand, would open my eyes to a monstrous web of fur and somehow have to figure out how I'd ever manage to tame it, get dressed and eat breakfast in time to catch the bus.
My hair made me feel unattractive growing up. I even had a boyfriend tell me he preferred my hair straight — like the other girls, he said. Not a good look, I know.
The first time I was introduced to a hair straightener, I thought I'd never have to feel insecure about it anymore. From then on, I always kept my hair straight. And I had the burns and fallout to prove it.
But by the time I got to my junior year of high school, my hair was in ruins. Fried and totally damaged. I knew I had to slowly start weaning off my hot tools addiction.
My hair eventually felt healthier and I remember noticing how significant the change was. But it wasn't until college that I started falling in love with my thick curls.
See, in high school, it's like you're socially taught to want to fit in. Act like the other girls, talk like the other girls, look like the other girls. But in college, it's the standouts that I always admired.
The day I had my hair colored in college — I think that's when I first embraced my lion's mane in all its glory. My hair was loud and vibrant and gave me this boost of energy I always seemed to want to suppress as a girl.
I've learned in recent years that my curls are a big part of who I am, and how I want the world to see me. A little unruly and 100% real.
Thanks to a few hair product samples here and there, I think I've mastered the art of taking care of my hair type without overdoing it. This isn't really a lifestyle post, but if you're struggling with thick, curly hair in hopes of just giving it a smooth finish and making it easier to style on a daily basis, here are some of my personal tips:
- Don't wash your hair so often. Stick to 3 times a week at most.
- Save any heating products for big occasions and when you do use them, use a heat protectant.
- Indulge in a costly (up to $300) smoothing treatment 1-2 times a year. Most of them last up to six months and they're honestly really worth it if you like to wear your hair natural but have very rough, dry hair.
- Instead of an expensive smoothing treatment, consider deep conditioning every couple of weeks at home. I like the Living Proof restore mask. I like to leave it in overnight with a shower cap on for extra treatment.
- Good shower products are worth the money. I use Aveda's dry remedy shampoo and conditioner.
- Hair oil (if you have dry hair like mine) is also a great buy. Aveda's Dry Remedy moisturizing oil is my favorite.
The #100daychallenge writing series is my way of holding my right brain accountable for all the brain fog in hopes that I'll learn to creatively organize my thoughts and learn something(s) new about myself in the process. The challenge includes prompts from the San Francisco Writers' Grotto's 642 Things to Write About. You can also follow my #100daychallenge here.