Ask anyone who remembers me as a toddler, and you know what they would say first?
“Oh, she was the little girl with beautiful curls!”
According to my mom, I was famous for my ringlets and how they bounced when I ran and hopped. I allegedly caused many mothers to put rollers in their girls’ hair.
I started losing those ringlets when I was 3-4 years old, and instead I had THICK, wavy-ish hair from about 4-10.
Even then hairdressers were stumped about my hair.They weren’t used to little kids having so much hair, apparently.
The year I entered fourth grade, my hair started curling again. I was thrilled to have curly hair again, but that joy was short-lived.
Near the end of my fifth grade year, a hairdresser promised that a certain haircut would help enhance my curls.
Unfortunately, the final results were big, poofy hair that was even too short to pull back in a ponytail. Back in the late 1990s, big hair was a big no-no. And unfortunately, fifth graders can be mean:
“Hey Laura! Would you consider your hair a bush or a tree?”
“Oh, your hair isn’t a bush or a tree. It’s more like a tropical rain forest!
Those insults were just the beginning of the hair trauma. People usually referred to me as “the girl with the big hair” or “the bushy haired girl” and the like. It was awful.
As soon as my hair was long enough, I pulled it back in some fashion almost daily. Every time I tried to wear it down, it just looked like a big, frizzy mess.
It was around this time when hair straighteners and straightening treatments became ubiquitous. Every hairdresser I went to see would almost inevitably give me a blowout.
Being inspired by all the popular makeover shows in the 2000s, well-intentioned friends with hair straighteners were determined to give me their own makeovers. My frizzy hair and general lack of fashion sense made me a popular target.
Whenever I had straight hair, I got so many compliments. Those compliments made me hate my natural texture even more.
The summer before my senior year of high school, an unscrupulous hairdresser convinced my mom (who also has thick, wavy hair) and me to have our hair chemically relaxed. He said that it was the only way our frizzy hair could be managed.
It would be one of the biggest hair mistakes I ever made.
I had breakage. My hair became weak and brittle. Yet, I continued getting these expensive relaxers because I thought it was the only way I could manage my hair. Did I mention it was expensive too?
If you are considering having your hair chemically relaxed, let me offer this advice: DON’T DO IT!
Chemically relaxing can be damaging and expensive to maintain in the long run. It’s better and healthier to learn how to take care of the hair you already have.
After I left for college, my mom stopped going to that hairdresser because she wasn’t happy with the relaxers and because of some inappropriate remarks he made. She found a new hairdresser–one who had curly hair himself and who knew how to cut it.
My mom took me to him when I was home on break, singing his praises. Of course, I was skeptical after all the bad hair experiences I already had.
It was after neat a year of regular trims when one haircut finished with CURLS!
I was in complete shock. CURLS! I had CURLS!
Not only did that hairdresser bring out my curls, he taught me to love them and care for them. Even after I got married, I still came back to visit him and have him work his magic on my hair.
Sadly, he became a victim of domestic violence a month before I had my first child. We had not only lost a wonderful hairdresser, we had lost a good friend.
After I had my daughter, hair care kind of fell by the wayside with the craziness of new motherhood. My hair pretty much stayed in a ponytail.
I finally found a new hairdresser I liked, but then she moved out of state, was only back every few months, and our schedules just never lined up.
Then I started seeing a Deva stylist, which was when I jumped head first into the Curly Girl Method. However, she was far away and expensive.
My sister-in-law (who also has curly hair) told me about her stylist who did dry cuts. This stylist was also pretty close by and had very reasonable prices. I decided, what the heck?
Her name was Lauren and while she doesn’t have curly hair, she loves learning about it. She cuts curls with a technique called “bonsai” cutting. It’s a type of dry cutting, that’s all I can really say about it in writing.
I feel like my hair has been growing so nicely with her magic haircutting ways, and what’s more, I feel like I’m visiting a good friend when I get a haircut from her. Win. Win.
My curls are a big part of who I am. Heck, I would even say that they’re my trademark (ha!). I haven’t had my hair straightened in so long that I’ve forgotten how long it has been. I won’t ever straighten it again.
While I have learned much on my journey, I know there is much more to learn, and I love sharing new things I’ve learned with my friends (you!).
What is your curl story? Let me know in the comments below 🙂