On our run this morning, talk turned to hair, which is strange because currently, DreamGirl has no hair. She ran without a cap, her bald head still nubbly in spots as the chemotherapy continues to work its magic.
I thought I was being petty as I twisted my hair into a braid to control the frizz created by the humidity. I reminded myself even as I tucked the braid in a cap that DreamGirl will be starting from scratch when her hair starts to grow out, so I should quit complaining. I thought I might feel uncomfortable talking about hair problems with a bald woman, but I didn't.
I asked her how she could resist telling bald men that she likes their hairstyle. She just smiled.
Then she told me that her daughter is having hair issues. When she brushes it, it grows huge.
"Tell her not to brush it," I urged.
"She doesn't have curly hair," DreamGirl said.
"Trust me. If her hair is getting big and frizzy, she has curly hair if you just allow the curls to emerge."
This is still a novel idea to many people, but if you have curly hair, brushing is not the way to go. I should know.
For years I brushed my hair and dealt with weird bumps that I tried to smooth down. When I read the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey, I became a convert.
I know what you're all thinking. Isn't this the same woman who loves to straighten her hair? Yes, that's me. But in this humidity, there's no sense pretending I have straight hair. I have to let it curl and control the frizz the best I can.
I start in the shower. I don't use shampoo. I haven't for years. Curly hair has open follicles and shampoo is bad for it. Curly hair also doesn't get greasy.
So I rub my scalp and add conditioner. I spread the conditioner from my scalp to the ends, removing all the tangles with my fingers. It's important to remove the tangles because I don't brush it, remember.
In humidity like this, I also leave some of the conditioner in. It isn't leave-in conditioner, but I only rinse the top of my head and leave conditioner on the ends.
When I get out of the shower, I don't wrap my head in a towel. Instead, I use a towel to scrunch it and get out the excess water. Then I add a hair product. I use Aveda Confixer. Then I let my hair dry. That's it.
I'll pull down my bangs and try to dry them, but they usually curl up again.
I got to thinking about curls after I went through old pictures for Grace's photo album. I saw some pictures of myself that I loved. My hair was really long, down to my elbows, and dark. The curls had taken over in long rolls that looked almost Rastafarian. This was at the height of my Curly Girl phase.
Before I read Curly Girl, my hair looked wavy instead of curly. That's because I used a pick to comb it every day after my shower. Not combing or brushing it makes a huge difference -- and can even lead to the Rastafarian look.
That's why I told DreamGirl that her daughter should stop brushing her hair. The more we curly girls brush our hair, the more we'll resemble Rosanne Rosannadanna from Saturday Night Live.
I even have a favorite curl. No matter how many times I straighten my hair, once I let it curl again, a curl on the right side down below my ear always emerges. It falls in a perfect long loop. Why can't all of my hair do that? Then I would truly have Romance heroine hair.
My hair is much shorter now, which is a problem for curls. The shorter the hair, the less weight, which means it has a tendency to frizz up. I like the weight of long hair to help control the frizz.
That's where straightening my hair has foiled my plans again. The more I straighten it, the more I damage it and have to cut the ends, thus resulting in shorter and shorter hair.
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