I very rarely hear people say ‘I love my hair‘ about their hair in general. Certainly after a new cut or color job they say they love their hair, but rarely do they say they just really love their hair as it is. If I can do one small thing as a hairdresser, blogger and mother, it is to help you love the hair you have. This is just one small part of accepting and loving yourself.
When I worked at Vain in Seattle, my friend and fellow stylist Liza Jo was the resident curl specialist. I spent a lot of time watching her work, and watching her with her clients. It seemed to me that her clients consistently LIKED the hair that they had naturally. They were proud of it, and liked to pamper it.
When I moved to NWA and opened my shop, I became the curl specialist in my area. It was a natural progression….I love to cut curly hair because It’s a challenge. I love it because it is not only allows but demands a free-form cutting style that is different for every head of hair. There is nothing formulaic about it.
Cutting curly hair is completely rewarding. Why? because most people who found me (Through reviews on www.naturallycurly.com) Had finally learned to accept the hair that they have, and work with it instead of against it. And they were ready for the right haircut for their own unique curls that would allow them to honor and love their hair every day with minimal effort.
This all got me thinking. Why do some people love their hair, and others don’t? Why do people with our dream hair wish they had someone else’s hair? Why do we wish our hair was straight and silky when our straight and silky haired friend secretly lusts after our wacky and wild waves?
I think that many of us see our hair in our own minds as being different than it is in reality. We have unrealistic expectations for how we want our hair to look. We yearn for hairstyles that it would take our hair hours of fussing with to achieve. We look in the mirror and are disappointed in what we see.
For a curly haired woman, learning to love your hair often involves letting go of ever having that smooth and silky Pantene hair from the commercials. It involves letting go of hours and dollars spent trying to beat the curl out of it. It involves surrendering to the facts of nature. It is an identity shift that says to the world ‘I’m curly and I’m damn proud of it’. After all of that, I start hearing them say “I love my hair for the first time in my life.”
1. How do we learn to love our hair? The first principal to loving our hair is universal. Accept it. See it for what it is and let it be itself.
2. Look at your routine with your hair. Are you stripping it of it’s defenses, and then filling it back up with chemicals and waxes in an effort to change the texture so that it looks more like the vision of it that you have in your head?
3. Are you manipulating it with heat to smooth it out or curl it up, and at the same time drying it out and stripping it of it’s integrity? Are you coloring it constantly to try and get it to look naturally beautiful?
4. What is your hair M.O.? Give it some thought. HTHG can’t make you accept your hair. Maybe it goes much deeper. Maybe you should talk to a therapist about your self image. There is no shame in self help.
When you finally accept what you have to work with, It is time to start to love it. Take stock of what part of your hair routine you do because you were taught to do but you don’t know why you do it. Do you shampoo every day? do you blowdry it? Do you fuss with it because it is a habit, and the thought of having virtually maintenance free hair seems impossible?
I know a lot of middle aged woman that came of age when hair products were pretty much limited to gel, mousse, and hairspray. They still have stiff and wet looking hair from the old gel bottle. They still don’t like how their hair looks or feels and they don’t know why they are still putting gel in their hair. But they still do it. They strip every natural defense that their hair has with strong shampoos, and then they fill it back up with gel. What is gel, even? Slimy goo that turns crusty when it dries?
4. Experiment with your routine and work with products that enhance what you have naturally, stay away from the ones that promise to give you someone else’s head of hair.
5. Next, you will need to find the right cut for your hairstyle, and your lifestyle. Ask around. Stop people on the street who’s haircut you love, and ask them who does it. If your hair is curly or textured or very wavy, search your area for someone who knows how to cut curls. www.naturallycurly.com has a wealth of information on curl stylists around the globe.
Gather photos of styles that you like to show your stylist, but be realistic. Find ones that will work with your natural hair texture. Don’t be afraid to try something that you have always wanted to try. Go for it.
6. Communicate effectively with your stylist. Make sure you are on the same page before they start cutting.
7. If you wish your hair was longer and it doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough, Check your diet. Make sure you are getting necessary nutrients and vitamins to support good hair growth.
8. Find a photo of your desired hair length. Make sure it is a similar hair type to your own. Pin it above your bathroom mirror and look at it every day. Be excited for the day when your hair is that long. Make it a positive hair thought, and your hair will grow faster. I promise.
Here is my dream hair photo from last year, and a pic of my current hair. It happened so fast!
Remember, hair can change in ways that are beyond your control. Certain medications, changes in the weather, stress, and hormones can work a number on your hair without you even realizing what is going on. Don’t freak out. Do some research and make it work for you. Be open minded. I had to adjust to 3 different heads of hair through 2 pregnancies, and I have watched numerous friends and family members lose their hair with chemotherapy. Sometimes it grows back differently. Welcome the change and have some fun with it!
In conclusion, I realize that my word or advice can not make you love the hair you have. That is up to you. But empowering yourself with knowledge, curiosity, and inspired hair tips and advice from someone who is on a similar hair journey through life might help a bit. I hope that you love the hair that you were born with. If you don’t, I hope you are on the path to loving it. Share this post with a friend and maybe we can help more people love and accept their hair. It is just a drop in the bucket, but that is better than an empty bucket.