Genes are funny little tricksters.
Who would have thought that a girl who never had curly hair in her life would wind up with full fledged ringlets? I never did, but, then again, it’s not everyday that your hair decides to transform overnight.
When I was little, I had super thick, wavy hair. We are talking Rapunzel locks, here. All the way down to my butt. For years. And then I turned 13.
The fact that that particular Texas summer was super-hot and I was dealing with flip-flopping hormones were the main contributors to the craziest thing I have every done.
I chopped off my hair. To my earlobes. It was great for a day or so. And then one morning I woke up, and it had turned into a tangle of knots and loops that had never been there before. I’m not talking bed head. I’m talking bonafide curls that were so disheveled, even my mom was confused as to where they came from.
Turns out, my dad has super curly hair, but no one ever knew because he keeps it super short.
So, here my little 13 year old self is now bestowed with curls with a dad who never let his hair be curly and a mom who was just amazed and at a loss as I was. We tried everything to tame it. Picks, gel, mouse, brushing, combing, ‘specialty curly haircuts,’ etc. No matter what we tried, it always wound up looking like a frizzy mess that clung to my face and arms like static monsters.
Years passed, and the only length it would ever grow was to my shoulder blades; a sad turn of events for the girl who only wanted long hair again.
Also, humidity would turn it into a poufy sponge that would refuse to be tamed, let alone put up into a pony tail (don’t get me started on all of the hair ties I had to literally cut out of my hair).
See? Here’s a picture of my hair in full force at my high school graduation ceremony.
And then I went off to college and was presented the gift of free time like I had never known before (two whole afternoons my first semester were empty!). Enter the greatest invention of mankind – the Internet. I poured hours of my life into looking a curly hair blogs, trying to get tips on taming the beast.
Over and over again the term “no ‘poo” kept popping up. I researched and found tons of stuff on how the sulfates in shampoo (the stuff that makes soap and shampoo bubble with water) actually damage hair. More research showed that curly hair is already dry enough as it is, and sulfates literally destroy your hair’s changes of holding moisture, which produces frizz.
I kid you not; after I read those articles that day, I literally stopped using shampoo at all. Misinterpretation on my part? Oh yeah. BUT, it started doing something magical. Even though my hair was not ‘clean’ per se (because, water can only do so much), it looked better. It wasn’t as frizzy and was actually starting to have a healthy sheen to it.
However, needless to say, after a week or so of not actually cleansing my hair and wondering why my scalp was so itchy, I dove right back into my research. And then I found out that “no ‘poo” meant so sulfates or harsh chemicals. I also found a book called the Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey. [This is an affiliate link. Please see my disclosure policy.]
After reading several reviews on it and how it changed many curly headed girls’ lives, I hopped in my car and practically flew to my local book store to buy a copy.
I read that sucker front to back in an hour. And my eyes were opened! It covered everything to the cellular makeup of curly hair to the different types of curly hair and how you are supposed to wash and take care of them, and how you can style them, and what you are and are not supposed to use on them, and – I could literally go on for days. I sat on the floor of my dorm room almost in tears because I had finally found something that could help save the crazy mess on top of my head.
I threw out all of my shampoo and conditioner and my brushes and began treating my hair like it should be treated – packed full of moisture and kept away from anything that would dry it out or damage it.
Within two weeks, my hair had transformed.
I’m not going to lie; I had an identity crisis when my hair transitioned from a monster of frizz to calm, defined curls. The Handbook warned that it could happen, and boy did it, but after a few days of getting used to it, I never looked back.
Not only did my hair look better, but it actually grew! Within a few months of my new regimen, my hair was down to my middle back. It had finally grown past my shoulder blades! A year and a half later, it was at my lower back, almost back down to my butt (it technically was at my butt when it was straight – my roommate and I found that out after straightening it for two hours)!
Look at this! No more frizz and ringlets!
Is that not amazing?! It’s the same me, but different hair!
Since then, I’ve modified the curly hair method to better suit my needs – No gel because it was weighing my hair down, and I added weekly hair masques designed to super hydrate the hair shaft to deter little frizzies and breakage. The picture below was my hair on my wedding day. Pardon the uneven ends; I wasn’t done twisting my hair up all the way before someone snapped the picture. No gel, yet, defined, touchable curls.
I also chopped half the length off a few months after I got married (the length was giving me migraines). I was afraid that it would poof back up into the unmanageable monster like it did the first time I chopped my hair off, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that my hair was so healthy it didn’t puff up at all. The shortness was a nice refresher, but now I’m growing it back out to the length that it was.
But regardless of what length my hair is or may be in the future, I can firmly say that I finally found a way to tame my curls and let them be what they were meant to be – curly and free!
If you have any questions about my hair care regimen, leave them below in the comments! When I get enough questions, I’ll be able to write specific posts about what you want to know about! (I’ll also answer your question in the comments!)
Thanks for reading!