Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hair, Hair, Hair

     This story in the Miami Herald prompted me to share my hair issues.
     Curly yellow hair is my identity.  When I went to a conference last June, people kept telling me they knew me, and asking where we had met.  We hadn’t.  What they remembered was the curly yellow hair in my Facebook picture.
     It’s been yellow since forever. In high school, my mother encouraged me to leave the mousy brown in the dust. It was bad enough that I had to deal with frizz, mousy brown was just too much.  When my mother met one of her friends in the supermarket, her reply to “Did you see your daughter’s hair?” was “I did it for her.” 
     Why does a bad hair day have to define your psyche?  Having a bad hair day has become a pseudonym for whatever can go wrong in 24 hours. I envy the other side of the human race—men can shave their heads and people don’t make ugly faces at them. 
     About 8 years ago I discovered "Curly Girl, Lorraine Massey's curly hair bible.  Some of the advice in this article makes sense but.... 

     Carolyn Brundage recommended products that are wallet-killers.  I've tried them all, spent a small fortune, need more storage in my bathroom, and finally settled on L'oreal's Everpure moisture conditioner, the one in the metallic pink tube available for well under $7.00 at Walmart, Publix, Walgreens…,. No shampoo.  Never shampoo.  I use shampoo twice a year, when I frost my hair. The rest of the year, just conditioner.  I wash my hair with it and then use some more and leave it in.  (I promise, my hair isn't dirty, doesn't look oily, and doesn't smell.)

     I follow Lorraine’s Curly Girl rule and avoid all the "cones."  No silicone.  It doesn't rinse out and it’s too heavy. When I remember to do it, I “deep condition:” put in some stuff, cover it with one of those hotel shower caps, and proceed to spend my half hour on the elliptical machine. I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter what stuff I use; it’s the moist heat that makes the difference.

     As to color:  my hair isn't yellow and it’s worse than mousy brown.  Thanks to curly girl, I discovered that demi-permanent color does the job and doesn't mess with my really delicate curly hair.  I mix it with 20 volume peroxide, not the 10 volume they recommend, and it works as well as the smelly permanent stuff with ammonia.

     The article left out the most important advice of all.  Along with the no shampoo rule, no hairbrush, ever. And no hot implements unless you are desperate and have to coax a few strands into the corkscrews that you're looking for, in which case a small curling iron works. Otherwise, air is your best friend. Let your hair air dry. I love my convertible but hate my motorcycle helmet. 
     Years ago, when I was commuting on the Long Island Railroad, I used to stand on the windy platform in Port Washington with my wet hair.  It was then that I came to understand the igloo factor.  When my hair froze solid, my head felt warm.  See, that’s why the Eskimos live in igloos—ice is a good insulator. 
     Why all the fuss?  Why do we focus on hair?  When you visualize Debbie Wasserman Schultz, what do you see?  Her yellow curls.  Gloria Estefan’s curls are her identity when she doesn’t choose to fight them.  Julia Roberts looks best with her curls. The same for so many others.  Have they figured out the solution?  I think so, because they look pretty good.
     My curly hair doesn’t always look the same.  It varies from day to day.  Sometimes it gets frizzy, sometimes it doesn’t behave, sometimes I hate it. But, I never have a bad hair day, or is every day a bad hair day?

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