Crimes against curly hair – my journey

I recently read, with much interest, an article written by the fabulous Priyanka Gill on her Estylista blog. The article: Curly hair and all things fair discussed the trials and tribulations of living with curly hair, not just soft waves, but full-on ropy, ringlety, unruly curls.

I am in complete sympathy. It has taken me almost 45 years to seriously come to terms with my curls. I have bleached, dyed, ironed, straightened, cut unbelievably short, permed (you heard me, I had my already curly hair, permed!) and blow dried straight to within an inch of its life. But this wasn’t always my fault.

When you have curly hair and your mother does not, their ability to ‘cope’ with it is negligible. To prove a point:

Haircrime #1 – Do not cut curly hair when wet. Please feel free to roll about on the floor laughing, I know I did. I’m on the right, by the way. I can’t make my mind up which is worse, the attempt to give me a fringe (the wonky line is due to it being cut wet and not dry) or the attempt to straighten it, neither has worked.

Haircrime #2 – Do not attempt to curl already curly hair.

In trying to give me this wonderful look, my mother made me sleep with wet hair in really painful tiny brush rollers (anyone growing up in the 70’s will sympathise!) and then spent the following morning trying to remove them and brush out the mass of curls – I can’t imagine why I am smiling in this photo, my head was sore for days after. If you think I look bad, have some sympathy for my two sisters sat either side of me, at least I was winning the dress war – just!

All things said – you grow up repeating the hair crimes your matriarchs imposed on you simply because you don’t have the skills to look after your curls yourself. I continued my mother’s crimes, I even added a few of my own…

Haircrime #3 – Do not have a fringe. Living in South Wales for almost 6 years, 4 miles from a beach and swimming all year round did nothing to preserve my curls. Constant salty air simply caused my hair to frizz, frizz, and frizz some more. An attempt at blow drying has been made here, not that you’d notice. Again, a fringe is simply wrong!

Haircrime #4: Do not blow dry without a diffuser. The result is a mass of hair resembling a cotton wool ball – exhibit 4 highlights this issue and again my fringe looks dreadful.

Years later, after I had my first daughter in 1994, I noticed my hair had become less curly (a common factor in pregnancy) but after I had my second daughter in 2005, it was back with a vengeance. At this point my hair was relatively short, great for post-baby maintenance but not exactly flattering. I have been growing it ever since, with some success, but have still been fighting my curls. I even considered having a Brazilian Blow Dry recently but, to be honest, it costs a ridiculous amount of money and I simply don’t suit straight hair.

Then, last week whilst searching for curly hair shampoos on the internet, I came across The British Curlies, a fab website dedicated to the world of curly hair – they were championing a revolution in curly hair started by Lorraine Massey (she of the Curly Girl Handbook now residing on my bedside cabinet). I sat down, read the book, read the posts on the British Curlies forum and am now, in short, converted!

My first task was to throw out all of my ‘offending’ shampoos, conditioners and hair styling products (except my Kerastase Oleo Curl, it simply cost too much money for me to just throw away – if this experiment fails, at least I’ll have old faithful to fall back on!). I then trundled into town and hit Boots for all it was worth, for my ‘non-offending’ replacements. Much to my amazement and surprise, the total for shampoo, conditioner, styling gel, creme and serum came to a mere £19.35 – bearing in mind I currently pay this for my Oleo Curl conditioner ALONE, I already feel rather smug!  (Shopping list is available under this post).

I am now armed with the tools for the job and the CG method for looking after my hair, and my children’s hair. I will now be able to educate them on loving and looking after their own curls! They say it takes a few weeks to get results but just by applying the method today my hair looked like this, this afternoon, and I’ve been out in the rain – some change eh? Don’t get me wrong, it still has loads of frizz, needs a colour and a cut and I need to learn how to style it but boy, does this ever look better than it did yesterday!

Will keep you updated on my progress! (P.S. I’m not THAT grumpy!)

SHOPPING LIST

  • Naked Bounce Shampoo £4.07/250ml
  • Naked Bounce Conditioner £4.07 250ml
  • Umberto Giannini Curl friends scrunching gel  £4.79/200ml
  • Boots pink curl creme £1.32/250ml
  • Naked Style frizz fighter £5.10/50ml
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