The follicular awakening and texture acceptance.
About a year and a half ago I went deep into a YouTube rabbithole, only to emerge in an indignant rage, as only a person who has been living a lie for 35+ years can. As it turns out, my needs were not being met by Big Hair Inc, and little did I know but my life would be changed forever.
You see, up until that fateful day when I spent hours Googling and watching people plop, scrunch, squeeze and squish their hair and decree the evils of shampoo, I thought I knew how to take care of my hair. Apparently I was wrong. For days I listened to curly haired goddesses spew complicated acronyms and code names like they were all members of the same special services agency (they kinda are!), meticulously apply about 82 different products to their strands in a *very* specific order and method, then oh-so gently flip their sopping wet heads upside down and spend the rest of their well-coiffed lives drying their hair. I was enraptured. I was horrified. I was hooked. I threw all my money at my computer, and created a huge collection of mostly useless-to-me products.
Until the spring of 2018, I lived most of my life knowing I have wavy hair, yet treating it like it was straight (but not straight enough). I dreamt of having super curly hair yet never embraced the curl I do have. As a result, I would only airdry my hair if it were in a bun or else "it looked crazy" or I would straighten my hair with a curling iron, and then, get this, CURL it with said iron to get waves. Waves I already had and had just crushed the life out of. So stupid. But this is what most people with longer hair do, and then we wonder why the state of our hair is so poor. So what would I do? Use very heavy, nourishing shampoos and conditioners that were pretty good at conditioning my thirsty hair, but weighed it down so much that I would end up over-washing my hair, drying it out further, so I also over-used "nourishing" oils and stylers. When I would try switching to lighter, volumizing formulas, my hair would just become extremely large, puffy and somewhat angry looking as all my fuzzy bits tried to suck moisture from the air. So, I'd blame my "frizzy" hair once again (oh no, not curly! Just evil, not good looking frizz.) and use defrizzing serums and what not, just to look kinda wet in the end. Thus, I lived in topknots.
Up until my Great Awakening of 2018, I just thought my hair sucked. I shoved it in the same part of my mind with my wide hips and funny looking knees and other disatisfactory bits, that place I go to when I need to feel sad about my body. (Which should be a place I burn to the ground, alas I'm working on it.)
I blame my husband (naturally!) for what happened in 2018. I should say "thank", but the first few months of that dark hair tunnel I went down weren't too pretty (and were super expensive!). You see, he has a glorious mane of juicy, bouncy coils that magically grow about a foot per week, so of course he came to his product-savvy wife for hair care recommendations since "our hair is basically the same". I was reverse insulted that he'd think that ME, with my fine, too-silky or too-poofy, sad half-waves could be compared to his awesome curly curly coif. And yet here he was, standing in front of me with his hair in a tangled man-bun, looking all sad and lost and forlorn and cute and so I jumped onto the Google FOR SCIENCE and honestly didn't re-emerge for weeks.
As it turns out, Husband had a point. My silky noodles were on the curly spectrum too, and I had been treating my hair completely wrong, forever. And so, I tried it ALL. I've taken courses and gone to conferences and watched about a thousand or more videos and have tried all the ingredients, all the products. Or nearly. I made myself insane learning about curly hair, and honestly? The whole Curly Girl thing is blown waaaaaay outta proportion. But we'll get to that.
But let's take a step back, to when I was fighting my texture. I just needed to let my hair BE itself, and nurture it to do so. I just had to stop fighting who it wanted to be! From the very first day I tried my new curly routine, I knew I'd never go back. Interestingly enough, a few months into my journey when I sort of knew too much and was trying to force my hair to be curlier and felt the lack of consistency was a fail, I had to go back to that beginners mind and remind myself that the goal actually isn't to get curlier and curlier.
The GOAL is to have healthy hair that you accept as it is, day by day.
Now, here's basically everything I learned about wavy hair, how to care for it and how to let it (and you) live it's best life.
So let's begin at the very beginning. How do you know if you have curly or wavy hair? Well, if you have to ask, then you aren't curly. Now, don't get your imposter-syndrome hackles up! Wavy hair is a *type* of curl, and isn't better or worse, just different. Wavy hair can have big, loose loops and tight little coils living side by side (like my hair). It can change season by season, as your hair grows, depending on the products you use. It isn't consistent, but it's never the same which can be kinda fun.
Which leads me to....
Accept your hair/self for what it really is!
You've been fighting it for this long, right? Straightening it and otherwise trying to manipulate the pattern and texture of your hair? Ok, its time to let that shit go and that goes all ways. What we are aiming for is encouraging our hair to be be itself, but that means being wavy if you're wavy, curly if you're curly, coily if you're coily, kinky if you're kinky, and so on. Just be yourself already! Whoever brainwashed us into thinking we need a different texture than what we have needs to have their toenails pulled out slowly, one by one. Burn that mutha DOWN, and enjoy your hair! (It's so much easier than hating on it, once you get the hang of it.) Whatever age you are at, whatever season of your life you are entering, today is a good day to embrace YOU. And that goes for hair texture too. Don't ask me why, but consistently people who embark on letting their hair go natural find a deep sense of relief of uncovering another layer of their true selves. Which leads me to...
WAVY HAIR IS NOT FAILED CURLY HAIR!
If you're a wavy like me, you'll be surprised to hear your brain tell you this over and over... good hair days are the curliest days, wavy days are fails, and because your hair easily gets stretched out, you'll think of your hair as fake-curly or as failed curly. LIES, BRAIN, BECAUSE THIS IS NOT SO. It's just different! My husband's super curly hair is not better than my wavy hair (mine is easier to take care of, I can detangle easily and I don't lose a clump of hair in the shower like he does, so there's plus and minuses to all things hair/life.) He may be more consistently curly, but I've got variety! And big, beautiful kinky hair is the goal when it comes to volume and style, but washing and drying might be way harder! We always want what we don't have, so maybe we can try just appreciating what we do have.
Ok, I had to get that out of the way because pushing our hair to be what it isn't just doesn't WORK in the long run, and is a waste of time and of your hair's health.
Stay tuned for part 2 when we get into some more of the technical aspects of HURRRRRRRR.