Love Your Hair

Let's stop, for just a moment, with all the talk of organizing, cleaning, toddlers, and being crunchy. Let's talk about something totally insignificant in the grand scheme of things, something completely vain and self-appreciating - HAIR! 'Kay?

Disclosure: the following is a long rambling of my hair history. I'm sure no one is actually interested in all this. That's okay. I am. ( :

Because I have a confession to make. I love my hair. There, I said it. I really do - I love my hair. Man, it feels good to get that out.

I know as a woman, I am supposed to loathe the locks I was blessed with. I'm supposed to want to straighten or curl it every day, dye it a different color, etc. But I don't. I'm truly happy with the hair God gave me.

Why, you ask? My hair is not particularly great, honestly. And I'm really not good at styling it. Every once in a while I'll manage to pull off an impressive 'do, but I promise you its pure luck! I still see pictures of other women's hair and get jealous and wish mine was more ___ (insert adjective here) like hers. My hair is not extremely long, I don't have a super-awesome cut/color, its really not "special" at all. But I have learned - finally! - to love it for what it is.

Is this something that just comes naturally with age? I turned 30 this year, and I really feel like I have a better grasp on myself and my life (as corny as that sounds). Like I'm finally coming into my own and I'm truly happy with myself and my life. Does that just happen with age, or have I just happened to come to these realizations coincidentally? Who knows.

Actually, I've always liked the natural color of my hair. Its brown. But I have some natural blonde highlights and some red tints in there, and I love that. Especially the red. In high school, I really wanted to have more red in my hair, so I attempted to dye it. Huge mistake. It turned out metallic purple - no lie. It was hideous. I vowed after that to never color my hair again. My sister is actually a hair stylist and has offered numerous times to color it for me, but I have always stuck to my guns and just let it be the color it is! The older I get, the more red seems to show up. I'm cool with that. If I ever hear of a way to naturally encourage more red to present itself, I'll probably try it. But no more dyes for me.

When I was a child, I had absolutely gorgeous hair. It was down to my waist, super silky and soft, and pin straight. Of course, I wanted it to be curly (I'm the only female in my entire family that doesn't have naturally curly hair - everyone has ringlets but me!), but my hair just never held a curl, no matter what Mama tried. When I hit puberty, my hair drastically changed. It became dry and unruly - textured but not quite curly, or even wavy. I cut it off to my shoulders and had it heavily layered. It was pretty, but very time consuming to fix every day.

For several years after high school, I just let my hair go. I didn't get it cut at all, I grew out my bangs, I just let it do its thing. I wore it in a pony tail most days anyway, so who cared?

After that, I had a love/hate relationship with my hair for years. I alternated between growing it out and chopping it off. When I had C, it was pretty long. Of course, during my pregnancy it was gorgeous (pregnancy hormones give you great hair!), but after her birth, all those lovely hormones went away and my hair changed drastically. During pregnancy, you loose very little hair, which is why your hair looks so great - its fuller than normal. But afterwards, you loose every single hair that you should have lost the previous 9 months - and then some. That's how it was for me, anyway. I actually worried I'd have bald spots! I dealt with it for months, and then finally, I had enough. I had my sister chop it off - this time to my chin. I had an adorable little bob. It was sassy and pretty easy to deal with, though I straightened it every single day.

Eventually, I got tired of the bob, and started the growing out process again. I kept it shoulder-length for quite some time, but last year decided I wanted it long again. Until very recently I hated my hair. Its got even more texture to it these days, but definitely not curly. I was trying to tame it by straightening it every morning, but I hated doing that and knew I was frying my hair. I curled it some days, but it still doesn't hold a curl well, so that was normally a bust.

I wish I knew exactly what happened to make me change my mind. I know the Beauty Revealed Project on facebook helped me with my entire body image as a whole. And my favorite blog (The Small Things Blog) has been a huge inspiration to me to actually fix my hair every day. Kate at The Small Things Blog is a hoot. She lives in Raleigh and every Monday she posts a hair tutorial. I have learned a lot by watching her! And she has awesome hair - even more so now that she's pregnant. When I try to duplicate one of her styles, it never looks like hers, but that's okay.

Recently, I told my sister that I wanted to try a higher quality shampoo and conditioner. I'd been using cheap stuff for a long time, and finally decided maybe that was my problem. I tried Tresseme, Dove, Pantene, Suave, etc. None of them did anything for my hair. My sister suggested the new L'Oreal Ever Creme line. So, I headed to Target to see what they had.

Talk about overwhelming! L'Oreal has a bazillion different lines of hair care products. And for some reason, they're not all in one section of the hair care aisle. I was so confused. I finally found the new Ever Creme stuff, and of course it wasn't that simple. So many options!!

The blue bottles at the bottom caught my eye, though. Ever Curl. Okay, I do not have curly hair, but I read the bottle anyway. And it said it was for curly or wavy hair. Hmm..my hair is kinda wavy. I grabbed it to try. My hair is SUPER dry, as well (just like the rest of me), so I also grabbed a bottle of the leave in spray (conditioner). I also purchased the Ever Curl cream gel (and ain't that a weird concept? but its awesome!).

The first night I tried this shampoo/conditioner I was in love. My hair was super soft. It even brought out some more of my waves, which was pretty cool. The next time, I used the Ever Curl cream gel as well, and wow! I was impressed.

After I fell in love with L'Oreal, my sister sent me Bed Head by TIGI to try. She gave me the formula for super dry hair, and it really makes my hair soft and silky. I tried using it and straightening my hair, but obviously I need more product to make that happen, cause it waved back up pretty quickly. I've kinda given up on straightening it now.

I've experimented quite a bit with all my new products and I think I've found a routine that works well for me. I'm letting my natural wave do its thing, and trying to enhance it a little. Since my hair and scalp are so dry, I only wash my hair twice a week. I worried that all the extra products I use now would make me need to wash it more often, but so far I haven't found that to be true.

Here's my hair this morning. This is day 4 hair. I washed it Saturday night and have put quite a bit of product in it daily since then.
(I love how my iPhone makes it look more red than it is!) See? Just a little bit of a wave goin on. I dig it. Today I decided to wear it in a bun, but every morning I'd added more product to get it wavier. By the time I go through a whole day and then sleep on it, its fallen flat for the most part, but it'll perk back up pretty easily with either the L'Oreal Ever Curl cream gel or my Not Your Mother's Sea Salt Spray (I've blogged about this awesome stuff before). The greatest thing about both of those products is they don't make my hair feel too crunchy/stiff (they do if I overapply or don't distribute well enough).

So here's a shot of my shampoos and conditioners. I have been alternating between the 2 different brands. Probably when these run out, I'll only purchase more of the L'Oreal.
Oh yeah. The L'Oreal Ever Curl stuff is 100% vegan, which is awesome. I'm not a vegan, but I like to use products that are. ( :

And here are my many "extra" products. I never thought I'd be a hair product girl, but I've learned that if you have wavy hair, its pretty much essential!
Don't worry, it doesn't take all these every day!

I discovered the Not Your Mothers brand a few months ago. I use the Clean Freak dry shampoo every once in a while, mainly when I want to do an up-do and need more volume at the crown. It really helps! I think this product would be awesome if you had oily hair. I use it sparingly, since I don't seem to produce oil.

The NYM Sea Salt Spray is just awesome. I started using it months ago, when I realized my hair was naturally wavy. I have found that using it with the Ever Curl cream gel (use the cream gel first) really does a nice job. Both of those products can be applied over and over without a nasty build up. On my hair, anyway. Probably wouldn't be the same for someone who actually produces oils on the scalp.

The L'Oreal leave in spray I'm still deciding on. I haven't seen that it really does all that much for my hair, though to be honest I've only used it a couple of times. Maybe occasionally I should douse my hair with it and not add any other products, just to give it a break?

The NYM She's a Tease hair spray is okay, but its not my favorite, and I'll be searching for another hair spray when it runs out. I like the smell of it (all the NYM products have good smells), and I like how it doesn't make my hair feel stiff or hard. But it doesn't hold as well as I'd like, either. I don't use much hairspray, but some days I need to spray my bangs a little to hold them to the side better. I'll probably try the L'Oreal hairspray next.

Wow, this post turned out to be WAY longer than I originally intended. Sorry. Who knew I had so much to say about my hair? But really, I'm happy that I have finally FINALLY learned to love and work with my hair, and stop fighting it. I'm embracing its natural texture (and enhancing it), and it just feels so freeing. It doesn't look like the hair you see in magazines or on TV, but that's okay. Its me, its mine, and I love it. ( :

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