Two years ago I became converted to the Curly Girl method of hair care and have been wearing my hair “natural” ever since. Aside from the fact that I have been unable to find an acceptable hairstylist, which means I have not had a decent haircut in two years, I have been very satisfied with my decision—until about three months ago.
My hair is naturally curly—definitely more curly than wavy, but not tight, corkscrew curly. It is also not very thick. In point of fact, it is thin. When I was still shampooing, it was frizzy enough to give the illusion of body. Now that the frizz is (mostly) gone, so is the illusion. It was okay when I first started wearing it natural, but now that I’ve been two years without a decent haircut, my hair is no longer a thin collection of reasonably well-formed ringlets, but it is stringy and damaged-looking and unattractive. Even when I wear it in a messy ponytail, which I used to kid myself looked delightfully carefree and not just unkempt, it looks thin and limp and stringy. Pathetic, really. I want to cry when I look at myself.
I have had my hair cut in the last two years. I went to my local fancy salon in March 2012 because my husband made me promise I’d never go to Great Clips or Supercuts again. (He also bought me a gift card for the fancy salon, so that was nice.) Someone had recommended that I get my hair layered to re-create that illusion of body that I missed so much, so I asked the stylist to give me some layers. I’m sure she did the best with what she had. I really don’t have a lot of hair. That may account for why I could not tell the difference between the before and after. She also did everything to my hair that I had stopped doing—shampooing and blow-drying it—and then tried to style the resulting frizz with some gel or mousse or whatever, which resulted in crunchy frizz. Not my best look, but again, mostly the fault of the hair itself. Be that as it may—or be that as it was—I determined that I would never again let someone with straight hair cut my hair. Ever.*
*Remember that story Oprah used to tell about why she never lets white people do her hair? It’s because a white lady made her bald once. I totally don’t blame Oprah for not letting white people near her hair. A bad haircut is not nearly as bad as being bald, but still—I’m convinced that stylists who wear their hair straight can’t understand my hair’s idiosyncratic needs.
What this means is that I haven’t had my hair professionally cut in nineteen months. That may account for why my hair looks like hell. Well, that and the fact that I have attempted to trim it myself—something I have never in my life attempted to do, but in August I was just so freaking desperate, I didn’t think I could possibly make it any worse. In my defense, I had managed to trim Girlfriend’s naturally curly hair myself and it looked pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. (My sister, who is a professional hair stylist but unfortunately lives several hours away, encouraged me to watch some YouTube videos and give it a go, since it doesn’t matter so much if curly hair is “even.” So that’s what I did.) However, I now realize that the success of that venture was due mostly to the fact that Girlfriend has awesome hair. Lots of awesome hair. Her mother has difficult hair—a very small amount of very difficult hair, which makes it even more difficult than if there were more of it.
I am so discouraged by how my hair looks that I am tempted to go back to making it frizzy and then taming the frizz with a curling iron. It was a lot more time-consuming, but at least it looked like I meant to do it. What’s on my head now looks like I live in a world without mirrors. I must be a vampire because if I could see my reflection, I would never let myself go out in public like this.
It’s very difficult because I am emotionally invested in my decision to embrace my hair’s natural inclinations, to soldier through the humid bad times, and accept my hair the way it is instead of trying to make it something that it’s not. I used the word “conversion” earlier because it really was like a religious experience. My whole life I had struggled with my hair, and now I no longer had to struggle. Free at last and whatnot. Well, now I am having a faith crisis with my hair. I don’t want to go back to the way it was before—it feels like giving up. But what is it, exactly, that I’m doing now? If you Googled “giving up,” you might very well find images of my hair in the results because it is a perfect illustration of the concept even if I haven’t technically actually given up. Are you following me? My hair looks like crap. LIKE CRAP. ALL THE FREAKING TIME. And I don’t believe anyone can help me.
[Insert long-suffering, hashtag-firstworldproblems sigh]
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the progesterone. Maybe in addition to the acne, it’s also making my hair look like crap. How often do you see that listed as a side effect? Nausea, constipation, dizziness, heart failure, and crappy-looking hair. Ask your doctor if this is right for you.
Maybe I need a different conditioner. Maybe I need to get another haircut, even if it’s wrong. I don’t know. My life is really too meaningful for me to be this hung up about my hair. Or it should be. Maybe what I need is a new hobby.