All my life my hair has attracted attention. People touch it, people ask if I’ve had a perm (is that even a thing anymore?), and mostly people just try to guess my ethnicity (I’ll never tell). I was always “Hair Girl.”
I was raised by a straight-haired mother who was never quite sure what to do with my insane Jewfro. She, of course, thought I was perfect and let my curls run wild.
She washed my hair every day, like straight-haired people do. Brushed it, like straight-haired people do. It was, to be frank, terrifying.
My childhood was defined by frizz, bad hair cuts, and lots of hats.
I just did not understand why I didn’t have shiny, swishy, blow in the wind locks like my friends. I didn’t have any curly role models and in the late 90s/early 2000s pin straight hair was all the rage.
When I was old enough to start worrying about my hair, I begged hairdressers to hack off my curls. I wanted to look like Winona Ryder in Girl Interrupted or like Audrey Tatou in Amelie… both styles completely impossible with my hair. That, however, did not stop me from trying.
I had a truly awkward, awkward phase.
A pivotal change came when I first read Curly Girl: The Handbook, written by the ladies of Deva Salon. I learned not to brush, that conditioner is my friend, and most of all, to love the unpredictability of having curly hair. Since then I’ve learned to have fun with my hair. I’ve experimented with many styles and most importantly, I’ve stopped trying to look like everyone else.
Here are my curly hair golden rules:
NEVER brush curly hair.
Try not to touch curly hair until it’s completely dry.
Use a diffuser if you must blow-dry and don’t towel dry. Curly hair dries best when it is left soaking wet with a lot of product.