Curly Hair Was Not Meant To Be Tamed (Or Why You Should Never Get Your Hair Professionally Styled If It’s Curly)
Curly hair is a rollercoaster of emotions. You really, truly have no idea what you’re gonna get day-to-day. Each morning when you wake up and look in the mirror, it’s a mystery as to what you’ll be greeted with. Sometimes my curls look great, sometimes they look insane, and sometimes they just look super boring. I should’ve kept a running list of techniques and products I’ve used on it since the beginning. Seriously, this is something I think about often and regret not doing — it would be sickening and mesmerizing to see all the trials and tribulations I’ve been through with this hair of mine.
In short, it has kept me on my toes and taught me a lot of lessons for the better part of my life. But one lesson I can’t seem to fucking learn is that
YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER GET YOUR CURLY HAIR PROFESSIONALLY DONE FOR A BIG LIFE EVENT. EVER.
I thought I got this. I truly thought that after a few terrible attempts at having a professional style my curls for an event, that I now knew better. But it turns out I DON’T. If you have curly hair, you’ll immediately understand what I’m saying. If you don’t, level with me for a second so we’re on the same page.
Like I just said, curls are temperamental as fuck. They’re like that one friend who you love and is so pretty but you often feel like you have to tiptoe around them since they get offended and also startle easily (did I just describe myself? 🤔). Once you find your routine for your curls, you L I T E R A L L Y cannot stray even half a centimeter from that routine or they WILL react. Dealing with curls is like disarming a bomb, honestly. One wrong move and BOOM. All that being said, it’s been my experience that no hair stylist — no matter how good they are at their craft — knows how the fuck to work with them. For example, all my friends with straight hair seem to leave their haircut appointments not only so happy with it, but also saying things like “UGH I’ll never get it to look like this on my own. How do they do it?!” Whereas I’ve always left a haircut saying, “Don’t even bother drying it. I’m just gonna throw it in a bun and go deal with it myself.” The times I haven’t been adamant about that are the times my curls look like limp, flat dicks who promise this NEVER happens and asks if you’ll just give them a minute. I’m not blaming the hairstylists — in general, they know what they’re doing, just not when it comes to curly hair.
And don’t even get me started on the times I’ve relied on actual styling salons (like all the blow dry places) to deal with my shit. Sure, you can blowout, straighten, and curl curly hair, BUT EVEN THAT LOOKS TERRIBLE ON ME AND ALSO, LIKE, I WANT TO STYLE MY NATURAL CURLS. PLEASE! WHY WE GOTTA FIRST TURN IT INTO SOMETHING IT’S NOT? UNFORGIVEABLE.
Of the few instances in my life that I’ve put my faith into someone else to style my hair, it’s been a disaster. And this past weekend at my best friend’s wedding was no exception.
Why did I do it? Why would I risk something so dumb on the biggest event of the szn that I’ve been excited about for a year? Especially when I have been a victim so many times in the past? I’ll tell you why — because I found a picture. For the first time in my career, I found a picture of a curly hairstyle that looked SO doable and SO simple, it just had to work on me. IT JUST HAD TO. I even emailed the stylist months before with the picture to get her blessing and ensure I wasn’t crazy for assuming this could work on me. So, when the day came, I felt good about it. I was ready to finally achieve a good-looking hairdo done by a stylist — something that had been a feat for me for so long.
For reference, this is the picture I showed the stylist. Cute, right? Seems easy enough. Now, before you see what I ended up looking like, let me just say that the stylist was talented AF. She herself had the most stunning, thick, flowing locks, and everyone else’s hair she styled looked phenomenal and made me want to shave my curls off and get a long, thick, naturally wavy hair transplant. Alas, I can’t and shan’t, so I took my turn in the stylist’s chair and walked away with this.
I don’t know, y’all. I don’t have the answers. All I knew immediately was “Oh fuck no.” But do you know how awkward it is to hate what someone very talented just did to you when it’s NOT your wedding day or really just not YOUR day at all? Like, I had my time in the chair. I wasn’t allowing myself to have anymore or go back and forth with her. I knew I had to move on, whether it was right in front of her face in the bridal suite or by escaping to my other friend’s room to shake the ‘do out of my hair. I did the latter.
The good news is, for as difficult and bitchy curls can be, they’re also insanely resilient (wait. Did I just describe myself AGAIN? 🤔). So, upon entering my friend’s hotel room and having her agree with me on the fact that I looked like a colonial ghost boy from the 1800s, I began extracting the 37 bobby pins (yes, I counted) from my hair. Then I shook it out. Then my friend tried her small, tiny hands at helping me out and that, too, went poorly.
A minor improvement, but still just so… NOT me. It was in that moment I realized — curly hair DOES. NOT. DO. STRUCTURE. There is nothing contained or structural about curls. They’re wild and erratic and, more often than not, cannot be contained. I know this. I’ve known this. Yet there I was, trying to force them into behaving like I actually had a chance of making that happen. All day, my friends told me “just do that one thing where you put it in a low bun and twist your part back. It looks so good.” But I didn’t want to! I do that ALL THE TIME. Like, every day almost. I wanted something different. I wanted something fresh and new and out of the norm. And that’s when I had my other big epiphany of the day: Curls are different by their very nature. The same hairstyles I do all the time may feel stale and played out to me, but not to the outside world. They’re always taken by them, so why fix what ain’t broke? So, I did the damn low bun with a twist.
I know — I have a shit ton of grays. The point is, this style is me and I ended up feeling like me and acting like me and dancing like me. I also can say with full confidence that I absolutely have learned my lesson and will never again employ an innocent, talented person to try and figure my hair out for me. Unless it’s for MY wedding, and you better believe we will go through no less than 5 trial runs. Maybe 10. IDK. Whatever it takes so I don’t have a legitimate meltdown.
Here’s to our curls. May we embrace them, love them, and accept them for what they are — wild cards.