My hair is an issue on which I have many feelz. Although I have been growing my hair out for the past four years, I have had a complicated relationship with my hair for the past two decades. After age 11, my stick-straight hair morphed into a coarse, naturally-curly nightmare that plagued me socially and emotionally. I wonder how many hours of my life I spent sitting in the upstairs bathroom of my parents old house endlessly blow-drying and pulling my hair straight. For not only is my hair coarse and curly, but it also incredibly thick. Thick hair is great and something that people dream about. Incredibly thick hair is exhausting, painful and a completely different experience than a hair commercial.
I grew up in the age before the internet with a family who had no experience with curly hair. We also lived in an intensely hot and humid environment… suffice to say, middle school was particularly rough for me. I acknowledge that middle school is rough for many people… but oof, my time was pretty bad. It was years before I could re-read Watership Down and not have flashbacks about being called “Big Wig.” In the past, I’ve had my hair thinned, chemically- straightened, creatively-layered, and many another method to try and control what I got going on on top of my head. I’ve used countless products and spent countless hours trying to get my hair to comply to the fashion-norm at the time. Again… the 90’s were a dark place, people.
But, along my journey, I picked up some curly-hair knowledge. My journey also saw the important evolution of the straightening iron with the addition of ceramic and tourmaline tiles. These tiles are similar to the ones they put on the outside of space shuttles. I like it when they apply space-age science to hair care. As much as I love future hair, I am also a huge fan of vintage styling and have cultivated a skill through its research. I’m not saying my hair is ever perfect, but I have (out of necessity) developed skills and tools to deal with it.
This past Friday, I went for my yearly (yes, yearly) haircut. Although I had been growing out my hair for the sole purpose of donating it, I hadn’t realized how attached I had gotten to the long-ness of it. This is the longest my hair has been ever. But after having met a beautiful, little girl with alopecia (and learned that if I donated in her name she would always be eligible for a no-cost wig) I knew that Locks of Love was the charity organization to which I wanted to donate my hair. The minimum donation requirement for Locks of Love is ten inches. *insert joke-of- choice about ten inches* After measuring and re-measuring my hair, I almost waffled, opting to put it off for another year. But, I got over myself and my stupid ego and vehemently vowed that my vanity mattered not when I was “doing it for the kidz!” So, I did. I went and saw my awesome pal Julie who works at an AMAZING salon in Los Angeles. She braided, measured, and snipped off ten inches of my hair.
Although, my hair is STILL quite long, I’m still getting used to the “short”ness of it. I am grateful for the weight it has taken off my scalp, but miss some of the ‘dos I was able to do with longer hair… but, I wouldn’t change a thing. And, to quote Bill Dauterive, “It will grow back.” I am grateful to be able to do this for someone and encourage you to do the same, if you can.
Have you ever donated your hair? Did you ever sell your hair in an O. Henry-type scenario? Did you have perfect hair growing up? Or did you struggle? I would love to hear what the world says about their hair! As always, let us know!!!
OMG, I hated my frizzy, curly, thick hair in junior high and high school too! All I wanted was to look like Patti Smith, but every attempt at straightening ended in miserable failure (so I never got to step 2: Dye gloriously straight hair jet black). I’m starting to feel like I’m too old to have hair this long, but if I cut it as short as shoulder length it frizzes up into a really floppy, messy afro on super-humid days. Have you tried the “Curly Girl” method of just washing it with conditioner and not combing it? (Or, at least I think that’s what the method is, I haven’t bought the book yet.) Do you think I should try that? Or maybe I should go for a buzz-cut in my old age …
I’ve tried the conditioner-only method and it was one of the greasiest days… I’ve gotten to the point where I wash my hair maybe once a week? Maybe? Often times once every two weeks! My best hair days are dirty hair days. For curly hair though, I wash it, comb it with a very big toothed comb, put on some curl-holding product, and THEN don’t touch it. Curly hair has such a limited shelf-life which means that having the ability to pull it back/up is key. In theory, the idea of short hair is quite appealing, but in the summertime, if I am hot and sweaty, having my in my face and not long enough to pull back is a recipe for hair-saster. There are some classic 13-year-old Leigh shots of me with ear-length hair and bangs that are laughable, truly, sadly laughable. Though, for what it is worth, I think you would look killer with some Patti Smith hair. Wigs have come a long way and there are some great ones that are super cheap. Live the dream!!!!