Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Evolution of Curls: A Pictorial Review

Believe it or not, I didn’t have naturally curly hair when I was little.  I remember well all of those Saturday nights I spent unable to find a comfortable way to lay my curler-laden head (and I have very thick hair, so it was a LOT of curlers) so that my hair would be nice and curly for church on Sunday morning.

Here’s an example of a very small me with curler-curled hair, a superman t-shirt, and one of my best buds, MJ:

And a picture of me a little older showing off my long, only slighty wavy hair (and my rockin’ early 90’s t-shirt clip):

In the second grade, I decided I needed a perm, of course (I'm on the right):

By the 6th grade, my hair had started to be a little more naturally curly, and I began the long, long process of learning how to live with my curls (yep. that’s MJ again).  It was several years before I would really figure it out:

Somewhere around 16 years old or so, I had finally mastered the curl-care routine that would be my standard throughout high school and college.  It involved obscene amounts of mousse and/or gel, and lots of scrunching as I blowdried.  I don’t think I have to point myself out in the picture below—the hair is kind of hard to miss:

By college, I had grown out what I now lovingly refer to as “the doo-doo bangs” (don’t ask), and went through a couple of phases of very long and very short hair, and every length in between, still working the regime of lots of mousse/gel and scrunching:

A couple of years ago, I discovered something called Curly Girl, and it gave me the most awesome curls EVER:

I've blogged about it before.  But it was a lot of work.  Plus, I’ve always enjoyed the flexibility of being able to wear my hair straight or curly, and I couldn’t do that with Curly Girl.  I felt trapped, which I discussed here.  I blogged about it here and here too.

So finally, taking some of the ideas from Curly Girl, I developed a curl-care routine all my own.  These days, before getting out of the shower, I turn my head upside down and rinse with cool water.  Then, I scrunch my hair with a towel for a bit, and gently stand up right.  I spray it with a dose of TreSemme No Frizz Ultra Light Shine Spray, and then put a dollop of conditioner in my hand.  I water it down a bit and apply it very sparingly to my hair almost as if it were gel.  My goal is to just tame the frizz enough to let it curl on its own.  Then I flip back upside down and blowdry on low while scrunching until my hair is about 80% dry.  That’s usually all the patience I’ve got, so I just let it air dry the rest of the way.  I think that helps with the frizz, too.

The result is a softer, more natural-looking head of curls than my old mousse/gel routine, even if the curls aren't quite the ringlets that they were with Curly Girl:

I'm really happy with it!  (Most days, anyway.)   I hope you enjoyed my trip down hair memory lane!


  1. Having naturally curly hair myself, I am DEFINITELY familiar with the evolution of your hair except mine became naturally curly around 5th grade when I had a bob and all it did was frizz like a 'fro. In high school, I learned how to tame it, thank goodness. I'm looking forward to trying your most recent technique!