So before we begin, I must confess that I am a self-proclaimed pun lover, hence the title of my first post 🙂 Now that we got that out of the way, on to business.
I’ll start off by telling you about my lifelong hair dilemmas and about my how I got to where I am. I’ve had curly hair, short hair, wavy hair, long hair, blonde hair, red hair, dark hair, etc. Madonna has nothing on me. But with each stage of my life and each style, came trials and tribulations. I once accidentally tried to dye my hair (at home) auburn and it ended up being BRIGHT orange, but we’ll save that gem for another day. Let’s take a trip down (bad hair) memory lane…
In being totally candid, I inherited a funky mane from both of my parents. Some would say I was doomed from the start. My Dad’s hair is coarse, wavy and thick (or at least it began that way- it’s getting thinner and lesser in his old age). Sorry Dad. My mom has wavy hair too, but it’s a little softer. Together, they gave my bro and I some interesting challenges atop our heads. My brother teases that he has Velcro for hair…but getting back to me…
I was born with a head of dark hair- quickly followed by a bald phase, but as a toddler, I had all the cuteness of Shirley Temple, with my sweet blonde ringlets.
As a little girl, I grew thick waves of gold. It sounds better than it was. That’s the PR professional in me coming out. My hair was not cute. It was unruly and prohibited me from doing cool stuff like crimping or spiral curling it. It had grown out of being curly on it’s own, but was a far cry from straight. And let’s not even talk about the cut. My face says it all. Really, Mom?!?!
As you can see, I was a total child of the 80’s with my Pound Puppies. And as the 80’s marched on, my hair darkened and my Mom let me grow it out just a bit.
Through middle school and into junior high, my hair was at its worst <insert cringe>. I just wanted big poufy bangs like everyone else, but flat irons were really ineffective back then and weren’t really mainstream. I tried for bangs, but it ended up as a mass of fluff on my forehead. FAIL. I got head lice TWO TIMES in fifth grade- prompting my mom to insist on a short hair cut. With curly hair, I resembled “Baby” from Dirty Dancing and was affectionately nicknamed “helmet head” by my classmates. Let’s not kid ourselves, awkward hair is made no better by antagonizing classmates.
Slowly, I began to embrace my curls (and abstained from getting them cut) and learned how to work with and not against them. Aussie Sprunch Spray became my go-to hair product that gave my wooly mane some actual style.
The curls continued through ninth grade, but I longed for long, pretty straight hair. I was able to achieve the length, but straight smooth hair was another thing. In 9th grade, my mom begrudgingly shared a trade secret she had kept under wraps (for good reason) until she couldn’t take my complaining any longer. In the sixties and seventies, when she was battling her undesirable waves, she broke out the ironing board and iron (sans spray starch) and ironed her hair- yep, just like Dad’s slacks. I was intrigued. Straight hair was my heart’s desire- even if this did seem unconventional- and like a recipe for split ends.
I commissioned my mom, keeper of this trade secret to blow out my hair with a round brush every couple of weeks. Serums were just hitting the shelves and we were first in line at the drugstore. I remember my mom bringing home new bottles of oily smoothing agents regularly. Funny enough, she still surprises me with straightening product to this very day. Anyhow, Frizz Ease had just come on the market; and it definitely helped. It was this process that began my quest for the perfect product.
Post blow out, my then thick, voluminous mane was still a bit much. It needed to be tamed, so we broke out the Black & Decker iron and my mom helped me position my head to be parallel with the board- while I knelt on the floor beside the ironing board. Section by section, she would iron my hair, giving it a straighter effect. This process was a good step toward my desired hair, but it also came with some risk. Iron burns were very painful and though my mom was extremely careful, my neck got in the way a couple of times. Darn neck.
The craft of hair ironing was later improved by a girlfriend that I met my sophomore year in high school, who like me, had very curly hair. She and her sister had truly perfected their ironing technique to make silky straight hair. Game changer! She taught me to use smaller strands of hair when I ironed, in order to ensure every piece was flattened. And, she also taught me to iron my own hair so my Mom was off the hook. Again, my neck was fair game for burns, but the results far outweighed the hazards.
Lucky for me- er, my neck, flat irons advanced and reached unprecedented temperatures, antiquating ye olde GE iron and ironing board- and saving my hair from unprotected damage that an iron causes.
Today, my technique is down to s science for me. I am able to get my hair smooth with a round brush and use my flat iron to finish the look. I rarely let my hair dry naturally, so I do this every 3 days. I never stop searching for a new heat protectant, finishing gloss or deep conditioner that can prevent breakage and make my hair prettier. And, of course I want to find the best hair dryers, brushes and tools to assist me in my styling. While I have learned a ton from my own trial and error through the years, it’s a lifelong learning project. Join me as the project and search continues…
What hair trials and tribulations have you overcome? What was your worst hairstyle growing up?