...backwards, sideways, any which way. That's basically what my hair has been looking like these past few weeks.
Just in case you don't know, I have masses (and I mean MASSES) of curly (and I mean CURLY) long hair. It is, and always has been, a gigantic frizzy mess. Every hairdresser I've been to has told me that I have enough hair for three heads as each and every one has battled to take control of my unruly mop. Most can't handle it but even those that can are visibly sweating at the the end of the appointment. Hence I don't go to the hairdressers much at all. Twice a year at the most, and that is usually for a basic trim which leaves me with wet hair at the end as my hair can only be air-dried, and it takes about 5 hours for my hair to be completely dry.
So you get the picture. My hair just won't be 'normal'. All I ever wanted it to do was lie down and behave, like a well-trained dog.
When I was about 13, my mum took me to a Greek lady who said that she knew how to 'relax' my hair. She proceeded to coat my hair in this noxious smelling liquid and left it on my head while she tended to another client. Never had I felt so abandoned. My scalp was burning and I felt my entire head burn up. The stinging was incredible. I told her that it was hurting me and I was told that I had to suffer to be beautiful.
When the blessed time came to rinse off the liquid fire, the assistant clumsily poured half of the neutralising solution down the plughole, and therefore only half neutralising the burning liquid on my head. Thus my scalp continued to burn. While my hair was being dried we noticed that it had gone pink (yes, PINK) in some areas, and that I had actually lost a patch of hair on one side of my forehead. My scalp was raw and there was bleeding. To top it all my hair was not even any less frizzy and it still took an hour of blow-drying to get it to look smooth. My mum then asked the hairdresser if this was a normal reaction to the hair relaxant, upon which she replied that she wouldn't know as this was the first time she'd ever tried it out on someone!!
As compensation she offered to blow-dry my hair for free the next few times I went back to the salon. Not that I wanted to go back, but there being little choice in finding someone who would do my hair meant that I was indeed back in that salon in the weeks that followed having my hair badly blow-dried. I had scabs on my scalp for up to a year. If that had happened nowadays then we would have sued for damages!
Happily, and despite my moaning, I've grown to accept my curls and not try to permanently eradicate them. At the end of the day it's no use to fight against nature, you'll always lose. On the rare occasion that I have my hair blow-dried straight I enjoy maximum 2 days of silky, straight glory before a nano drop of moisture appears and then I'm sporting that 'finger in the plug socket' look.
And so back to now, and the bush-dragged mane I'm sporting. Well, today it finally got what it needed. Good old, plain simple curl cream. I've been dallying with gels, serums, mousses and sprays these past few weeks, wondering why my hair would either puff up like a Bichon Frise....
or lie flat and 'oily' like René Higuita....
After weeks of this rubbish, I went to the shops to pick up my old faithful L'Oreal Elseve Sublime Curls (Soin crème définissant) styling cream. I don't know why I stopped using it, probably out of boredom as it's nigh on impossible to find drugstore styling products for curly hair, and fed up of buying the same one each time I thought I'd try some alternatives. What a waste of time that proved to be.
My other favourites are Redken Fresh Curls Curl Refiner and Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancing Lotion, but they are prohibitively expensive here in Belgium, so the Elseve (in the UK 'Elvive') cream is really my only option, although it's proven itself to be a more than decent budget contender.
So today I finally have my 'good' curls back, defined but soft, with just enough volume to ere on the side of glamour and not circus act. I am happy once more, and so is my hair. :)