A&E

The Art of Hair: A reflection on the secret to embracing your locks.

      Growing up, I hated my hair. It was big and unmanageable, and I cried every time my mom combed it. I saw girls in magazines and on TV with long, shiny, straight hair, and dreamed that someday I could look like them too. I couldn’t braid it or straighten it – all I could do was put it in a bun or wear it down.

      My mom had curly hair when she was a kid, but eventually grew out of it. I prayed that I would too, but it has not happened yet.

      For many years I had no idea what to do with my own hair. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do, except, none of it worked. I would follow all the tips my friends gave me, and it was still always frizzy and unruly. In middle school, I completely gave up on having “pretty” hair.

      Then when I was in high school, my friend’s sister became my hair dresser. No one had ever asked me what I thought of my own hair before or what I would like to change about it, but she did. I told her it was too frizzy, too wild and too tangled, and she sympathized. She introduced me to the world of deep conditioning and explained processes that could help. I started following her instruction. More conditioner, more hair masks and less layers. My hair become soft ringlets that have now evolved into one of my favorite things about myself.

      Now, I have tried all sorts  of moisturizing products. I have oils, masks and two different kinds of conditioner that I use daily. I still can’t brush or straighten my hair, but now I know how to other things with it. I can’t say I’m always at peace with my hair, but in general, I’m pretty fond of it.

      These days, I use a very specific yet ever-changing cocktail of products for my hair. Almost every piece in my puzzle revolves somehow around moisturizing. I try to avoid products that use words like smoothing, or worse, straightening. Products like this are not made for my hair, and only claim to do what society says I should with my hair, instead of actually doing anything good for my curls. So instead I opt for moisture, which is what makes my hair smooth and my ringlets tight. I am almost always willing to try a moisturizing oils, like argon or coconut. These sink deeply into the follicles and moisturize down to the core. I can’t use them daily for fear of having oily hair, but an occasional use is good, if not necessary for me. I am also a conditioner fiend. I love deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners and conditioning masks. Again, they sink deep into the hair and maintain the kind of texture I want.

      At the end of the day, do what you want with your hair. There are so many ideas of what hair should look like, feel like, act like, but they do not work for everybody. They certainly don’t work for me. Instead, I found what I wanted for and from my hair, researched how to get it, and now do my best to keep it that way.

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