Saturday, September 26, 2009

An afternoon rendez-vous chez la coiffeuse, part one: The story of my locks

I have naturally curly, dark brown hair.

My hair has posed me much drama and trauma throughout my life. Mama Cat used to blow dry it straight, right after my shower and immediately after she doused it with Johnson's No More Tangles. When I was nine years old, I got my first major haircut. It was Mama Cat's hairdresser, and Mama Cat was tired of having to deal with my locks, so out came the scissors and CHOP CHOP!!

Mama Cat's hairdresser chopped it from waist- to shoulder-length, and put layers in. Lots of 'em. Mama Cat had no idea what to do, so she put my hair in those Goody pink sponge rollers before I was sent off to bed.

Did I mention that Mama Cat didn't believe in mousse, gel, or any styling products?

It didn't help that I was the only girl in my class who had hair like I did. I longed, I mean longed for straight blonde hair like my friend Beth's. Or baby-fine hair like my friend Bethany's. Anything but my untamed mess of a 'do.

When I got to high school I did my hair on my own, but I was just as frustrated as Mama Cat was. My hair had absolutely no style. I'd wash it in the morning, and put up the top layers with a barrette, and let it air dry. My hair had grown long again, and it would try in little banana curls all around my neck. People loved to tug at my curls and watch them spring up once they released them.

In college, the situation got worse. I wasn't able to get off campus much; the town bus never went in the area of a hair salon. Hell, I could barely afford a haircut to begin with. The one time I got a mall haircut in college, during my sophomore year, it was...well, awful. Horrendous. Ug-lee.

Following graduation I went to Mama Cat's new hairdresser, who was a personal friend of ours. She understood my hair, and never failed to give me a bad cut. That, and I babysat her grandchildren, so we got along famously.

Then I moved out of the house. I found a hairdresser in New London whom I adored. I mean, adored. Not only did he understand my hair, but he was just an amazing person. We clicked on the first appointment. He and his partner were renovating a house when I went to see him, and he always showed me pictures of the latest updates. He also showed me many pictures of his little dachshund. I was absolutely heartbroken when I moved and had to leave him.

I moved to the M-town and it took me forever to find a new hairdresser. I found one, and stayed with her for three years, but after that time, I needed a change. So I went from hairdresser to hairdresser for about a year or two, never really...well, "feeling it." Ladies, you know what I'm talking about, n'est-ce pas?

Not to mention, I couldn't find a hairdresser who understood curly hair. I met many people who would not only cut my hair as if it were straight, but they'd blow dry it straight every time I got it cut. Then I'd go home, and wash my hair the next day, and of course, I would not know what to do with it because it had been cut as if it were straight.

I finally learned to accept my curls about three or four years ago. I also adopted a rawther unorthodox process of styling my hair:
  • I usually washed it the night before. I'd go to bed with a wet head, but the curls would be about 75% dry by the time I woke up the next morning.
  • In the morning, I used a spray bottle to mist my curls and prepare them for styling. I then used a combination of three products: leave-in conditioner, serum, and hair gel. All of these products were combined in the palm of my hand. I'd rub my hands together, flip my hair over, and distribute the cocktail throughout my strands.
  • I'd get in the car, and, depending on the weather, either turn the heat all the way up, vents at full blast, or roll the windows down. During my commute, I'd use this air to dry my hair. I'd finger comb my hair at stop lights.
  • Finally, I got to work and got out of the car. I'd look at my reflection in the driver's side window, flip my hair over, and shake my hair one more time before entering the building.

So that's how I used to do my hair in the morning. Note that I said used to. Because a friend of mine decided that it was time for an intervention...

TOMORROW: Part two of my story...


Anonymous said...

ooooh, a cliffhanger! I can't wait for part two! I sympathize with you. I don't have curly hair, but when I last got a perm, I got a glimpse of what it might feel like...even though a perm is different, I still had problems figuring out what to do with it. I also struggled finding the right hairdresser too for many years, but finally I have one that I am happy with :-)

Jodi said...

My last trip to the salon was a nightmare. If you noticed in my pics with Sue..that my highlights are sorta..gone. She just matched my roots to the main color of the rest of my hair. It looks red to me in pictures. Anyway, she put "highlights" in my hair. I don't see them. I go back the next day and said to her that I don't see highlights. She leaves me with the same woman who cut my hair like she put a bowl over my head and traced around it. She left me for almost 3hrs with her because she had a Yankee game to go to. Get this...I really could have used your help because the lady didn't speak a word of English. She spoke Spanish only. She kept saying "OK Mami?" UGH. I still don't see any highlights. Next time...finding a new place. It is SO frustrating. So I totally get what you say about "not feeling it".

christine (booktumbling) said...

I completely understand the hunt for the perfect hairdresser. Not everyone understands how important this is. I cannot wait to see what happens...suspense!!!

septembermom said...

I have curly brown hair to with a mind of its own. I'm interested to hear about part 2. Wondering about the intervention :)

Jenners said...

I can totally relate to hating my hair, horrible haircuts, and the search for the perfect hairdresser. Sadly, I haven't located that person yet ... I just gave up and go to Great Clips, which isn't doing me any favors.

RunninL8 said...

My routine? Shampoo, condish, rinse out the condish-but not ALL of it! Wrap hair in towel-no more than 3.5 minutes!!, then combine some kind of "curl crème" and moose together(don't ask me HOW I came up with this magic) and scrunch in da hair WHILE IT'S FLIPPED OVER. Flip back up and DO NOT TOUCH for the next hour, or else... suffer the frizz. I look like like a drowned rat cancer patient with crispy hair during that hour but....I don't dare go out. Hour up?! Flip over, gently fluff and scrunch, flip back and voila! Some days looks good/eh, some days...~sigh~...ptthhhht.
And the bitch is that my hair is fine as well. Thank GOD it's curly!
I've totally enjoyed the curl bonding! Thanks for sharing!