becoming a curly girl (part two)

It was in November of 2012 that I was first told about the Curly Girl Method.  A friend of mine recommended the book to me after I expressed frustration over not being able to find a way to let my hair be curly without using a curling iron or having it be frizzy and poofy.

Written by Lorraine Massey, the Curly Girl Handbook taught me to think differently about a lot of things.  I learned about hair products and how the majority of them are filled with harmful chemicals that shouldn't be used on your hair at all.  Coating your hair in these damaging substances dries it out, locks out moisture, and interferes with your hair's natural texture and shape.  Curly hair is different from straight hair in a lot of ways.  One difference is that it is more porous, which means curly hair soaks up whatever is put on it much more than straight hair does.  It frighteningly absorbs the sulfate in shampoos which leads to dry, moisture stripped, un-curly locks.  Following sulfate shampoo with conditioners full of silicone makes it even worse.  Scott Musgrave wrote a fantastic post about why certain hair product ingredients are so terribly bad for your hair.

The phrase "straighten your mind, not your hair" is used throughout the handbook and the curly girl community.  What this means is you have to accept your hair the way it is naturally instead of trying to change it into something it's not.  When you start using gentle, sulfate-free cleansers, organic conditioners, and other products formulated without harsh ingredients, your formerly frizzy mess of a hair will be transformed into gorgeous curls/waves and you'll wonder why it took so long for you to try the curly girl method.

I'll get into more detail later on about products and the curly girl method, but if you're curious here are some great videos for you to watch.

November of 2012 was the last time I used a straightener or curling iron on my hair.  I bought the Curly Girl Handbook, read it in no time flat, and immediately searched for the kinds of products they talked about.  I didn't use DevaCurl products (the line developed by Lorraine Massey) for a long time because I thought they were too expensive.  I tried several different products, but they all still had sulfates and silicones in them even though they claimed not to.  (I'll get more into that topic in another post.)  I did see a difference in my hair while using those other products, yes, but it wasn't until I began using DevaCurl that my curls started lasting longer, there was a significant decrease in frizz, and my hair really started looking and feeling healthy.

Here's a history of my curls since I started the Curly Girl Method.

- December 2012.  Fledgling curls.  Not looking too great because of the products I was using and it takes a while to grow out damaged hair, but my hair was still curly nonetheless.

- March 2013.  Still experimenting with products and how to use them.  My hair was curly, but the curls didn't stay in very well and my hair was frizzy pretty much all the time.

- June 2013.  This is when I finally went to a professional curly hair stylist, Cass Carnahan.  I learned oh so much at my first appointment with her.  It was like reading the Curly Girl Handbook but a thousand times better because she answered all of my questions and explained everything so very well.  For some reason whenever Cass cuts and and styles my hair, my curls are a lot more loose.  They're tighter when I do my hair at home, but also frizzier, so I guess there had to be a trade off.  After my first curly appointment is when I gave in and purchased DevaCurl products.

- August 2013.  I saw a huge difference in my curls after getting to talk to a curly hair expert and when I started using DevaCurl!  It was amazing!  My hair was beautiful, healthy, and curly!!

- October 2013.  This was taken before my second curly appointment with Cass.  My hair was doing just fine, but I wanted to get the longer layers trimmed even with the rest of my hair.  It felt and looked much fuller and healthier even after that little change and I enjoyed another chance to talk to Cass about all things curly.  I even got my mom to go along with me and have her own scheduled appointment.  :)

It's been over a year since I started using the Curly Girl Method and I am beyond thrilled with how my hair looks and feels.  It's curly, it's beautiful, it's healthy, it's still a little frizzy from time to time, but I'm ok with a few misplaced hairs after the terrible mess it used to be.  I've always loved my hair because of it's color (yep, natural redhead!) but now I love it even more because of its curls.  Curls!!!  I wish I had known ages ago my hair had the potential to curl like this.  Never ever again will a straightener or curling iron touch my hair.  It's beautiful in its natural state, just the way God made it.  :)

Click here to read part one!

becoming a curly girl (part one)

I haven't always known about my curly hair potential.  It was an educational process of discovery and acceptance that led me to curly hair happiness.  I learned how to take care of my hair in a way that let it be itself without the frizzy aggravation I was so used to.

Here is a journey back in time through the tortures my hair experienced before I knew of its curly potential.

I was 16 or so in these pictures.

This is how I wore my hair for a very long time.  Frizzy, poofy, often shampooed twice in the shower with damaging sulfate shampoo because it never felt like the water got all the way through it.  Such was my life.  Forever unhappy with my hair and jealous of my sister's smooth, straight locks.  I avoided straighteners and curling irons because I knew they were bad for your hair, but I couldn't resist them forever.

I cut my hair short.  Bangs came soon after and I straightened my hair all the time.

What followed was continuous straightening and curling.  It took me 45 minutes to either straighten or curl my hair and it always felt so dry but then so dirty the day after I took a shower.  I would take showers at night and then do my hair in the morning because it took so long for my hair to dry and I could avoid some of the poof and frizz if I let it dry and get flattened overnight.

My hair was such a bother.  I planned my schedule around it.  If it was going to rain, I didn't bother trying anything with it because I knew it would just frizz into a giant poof ball.  On those days I raked back into a ponytail or french braid.  When I had to drive 45 minutes in the morning to get to my college classes, I would get up even earlier so I had enough time to make my hair look presentable.

I attempted a couple times to let my hair go natural, but it didn't work very well because I didn't know about damaging ingredients in hair products.  I filled my hair up with chemicals that dried it out just like the curling and straightening did.  (I also had to twist it into a bunch of pin curls after I showered to get it to look even slightly curly.)  It never stayed nice through to the second day which meant I had to take another shower and and start the process all over again.  This routine didn't damage my hair any less than the straightening and curling did.

My hair was dry, flat, lifeless, awful, and sad.  People talk about coloring and perming being bad for your hair.  Well, curling irons and straighteners are the same way.  They damage your hair mercilessly.  I finally chopped it short (again) thinking it would be easier to manage if I just straightened it all the time.  This happened in August of 2012, a few months before I learned about the curly girl world.

Click here for part two!


getting married

With this new year comes exciting changes in my life.

In five months I will be marrying the most wonderful man in the world.  I can't remember what my life was like before I met Noah and I am so fervently looking forward to being his wife and having him as my husband.

Another change coming this year is that I will be moving to Michigan to live with my love when we get married.  Nine years ago I moved from Texas to Illinois with my family.  For the longest time I said I wasn't going to move any farther north or east of where I am now (so I wouldn't live anywhere even colder).  I guess God has a sense of humor.  :)

Long distant relationships aren't easy.  Hours of driving, so much money spent on gas, missing each other as soon our visit is over.  It's not fun.  We express our frustrations with being separated by bickering with each other when we're not together.  Not very lovely, I know, but it doesn't happen on purpose.  It happens because only the two of us understand how we feel about being apart, how hard it is, and how much we want to be together.

My dearest Noah.  I can't wait to marry him.  :)  We are both looking forward so much to our beautiful May wedding in Michigan and spending the rest of our lives together.

Getting married is a bit of a scary thing though.  You're promising to spend the rest of your life with someone.  Think about that for a minute.  The rest of your life.  The ups and downs, the good and the bad, the times when everything is perfect and the times when you're not the greatest person in the world.  All of it.  You're promising to share every little bit of your life with someone, and they are promising the same.  The fact that I'll be moving away from my family adds to the scariness a little and I'm sure the reality of it all will hit me even more as our wedding date gets closer.

Despite the trepidation, I'm more excited than anything else.  I'm excited about being married to Noah and the home we will share.  I can't wait to sit in church together every week and do devotions together in our home every day.  I'm looking forward to the struggles we will face together and the joys we will share.  I can't wait to be Noah's and for him to be mine.

I'm looking forward to it all so much.  :)