I’m pleased to report that it has been over 2 months since I’ve straightened my hair. That post I wrote a while back, Resisting the Urge to Straighten, ended up being one of the most popular posts I’ve ever published, which was unexpected. I mean, there are so many bloggers out there who talk about their hair, and it’s kind of a superficial subject in general, that I felt a teensy bit bashful about writing something so self-indulgent to begin with. Apparently, though, it resonated with a lot of people, and it ended up feeling like some sort of pledge. Could I straighten my hair when I’d declared to a tiny slice of the Internet that I was no longer going to do so? NO! And so, my Chi straightener has been thrust into permanent retirement.
Has life changed dramatically since I stopped straightening my hair? Of course not. I got a couple of funny looks at work for the first couple of weeks, but that’s probably just because people weren’t fully aware of the amount of fluff sitting atop my head. I do feel like I have a bit more time in the morning, and generally my head doesn’t get as hot (ha!) since straightened hair is more dense and retains more heat. I wish I could say that I’m now at peace with myself or something, but that’s really not true. I do like the idea of being lower maintenance, but let’s be honest: my recent impulse purchase of a 10-piece eyeshadow palette hardly supports that argument.
I do think, though, that I’m somewhat less fraught about my appearance. I don’t feel as though I’m duping the world (or myself) quite as much now that I’m working with, instead of against, my hair’s natural curl and wave. I’ve worn makeup since I was 14 and that’s not going to stop anytime soon, but I think that’s duplicity of a much lesser degree (e.g., I’m not committed to changing my skin color, covering up my freckles, or altering the shape of my nose or cheekbones). So, yes. I think it’s just one less thing to worry about, and since I lean slightly toward the anxious side, that’s certainly not a bad thing.
If you are wondering exactly how I get my hair to look like it does, then here’s a detailed explanation for everything I do.
I wash my hair at night (yes, every night! I’m so bad) using Pert. Pert is super cheap and the 2nd ingredient is sulfate. I tried using a sulfate-free shampoo for a couple of weeks after several people recommended it to me, but it just didn’t work for my hair. My hair is curly, yes, but it’s also fine and oily, and it needs that SO2-4 foaming agent, dammit. A couple times a week I use the Aussie 3-minute miracle conditioner. This stuff is also super cheap but just as effective as the significantly more expensive Redken conditioner that’s been banished to the corner of my shower. The Aussie stuff is really conditioning, though, so I’d warn against using it too often otherwise your hair will get weighed down really quickly. When I get out of the shower, I spread 1 pump of the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum throughout my hair, comb through it, and pin it back with a couple of bobby pins. The Paul Mitchell stuff is expensive, but I prefer it to the cheaper & stickier leave-in serums, plus I feel like it does genuinely make my hair softer.
Then I just let my hair dry overnight while I sleep. I hate hairdryers and yes, my pillow is perpetually damp, but I’m lazy and this will never change. In the morning, I simply comb through it with my fingers, apply a generous dose of the Bumble & Bumble curl conscious defining cream, then flip my side part over juuuuuust a little bit more to make things more dramatic and to hide the pillow frizz. The Bumble & Bumble stuff is really expensive ($29), but the jar lasts for ages – you can see that the label on mine has started to rub off. (If you want a cheaper alternative, then I also like the Giovanni Strong Hold Styling Gel). I apply a bit more of the defining cream until I’m satisfied, then smooth it down with a tiny bit of oil. The oil I currently use is the tiny Biosilk jar that I got at Ulta for $1 (it has lasted since November). Finally, I spray a shitton of hairspray over everything to make it stay. I find that the hairspray is actually a very important step. It helps keep the curls looking consistent throughout the day & also adds volume back to the hair after the Bumble & Bumble stuff takes a bit of it away. This Garnier one is quite cheap and I prefer it to the Tresemme one that I was using previously.
That’s it! That’s all I have for you. Again, I’m not trying to start a revolution or anything, but if you do feel like it’s high time you stopped fighting your hair’s natural texture, then I’m here to tell you that signing a ceasefire works out well for everyone involved.
Photos thanks to G.