Live Curly, Live Free - Introduction
In 1997, before I became a hairdresser, I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida in late September of that year. The last of the Gulf Coast’s brutal summer was behind us, but I didn’t know it at the time; the only thing I can remember was thinking how much harder it was to straighten my hair in this subtropical climate. But although it was much more difficult, it was still manageable, and I smugly figured I had a handle on living life as a “straight curly girl” 900 miles to the south.
If only I had known.
Fast forward to July 1998. With the onset of Florida’s searing and humid summer heat, my hair had morphed from a beaten, dry, yet relatively straight fall of locks into a mess of frizz and cotton wool I couldn’t control. I was in a complete panic—whatever was I going to do? I had straightened my hair since I was 16 years old and I didn’t know how to live life as a woman with curls.
I cried. I cursed. I spent a fortune on products that promised me sleek, straight hair, but only delivered more of the same frizzy mess. I’m lucky I didn’t need an extra room in my beach house to hold all of the products that had
been used once and discarded as yet another failure. It was a veritable graveyard.
After about six months of struggle, I finally threw in the towel and took to wearing my frizzy hair scraped back into a ponytail—to work, at home, out shopping, out clubbing, day in and day out. I didn’t know what else to do, but I knew I was tired of the battle. I was tired of getting up two hours early every morning to do my hair when I was an unkempt mess by 10:00 a.m. anyway. I was tired of looking and feeling like I had ugly hair every single day of my life.
There was one thing I did know: I loved my hair when it was wet. Right out of the shower, I had awesome, gorgeous spiral ringlets that fell 3/4 of the way down my back. I wished I could figure out how to do them so they would stay that way when they were dry. But it never failed—the more my hair dried, the more the curls would disappear and leave an ugly, frizzy, tangled mess in their place. Most frustrating of all, I didn’t understand why.
I found naturallycurly.com not long after its launch and was astounded to find women who had the same problems with their curly hair that I did. None of us had any more insight than the others about why our hair did what it did, let alone how to fix the problem, but it felt good to belong to a sisterhood who “got it”—the frustration, the yearning, the obsession to have beautiful, frizz-free curls, the way nature had intended them to be.
Slowly, over the next several years, information on how to take better care of our curls started making its way to us. I started abandoning “bad” product ingredients in favor of those that were more curl-friendly and was almost immediately rewarded. My hair began to stay more “ringlet-y” and less frizzy. Total strangers started coming up to me to ask to touch my hair and ask how I managed to get my curls to look so good or even if they were “real.”
I was invigorated by the reactions and fired up by the clear need still out there for education about curly hair, so I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a hair stylist and curly hair specialist. Since 2002, I have been studying the science, care and maintenance of curly hair.
After receiving my cosmetology license in 2007, I began passing that knowledge along to a very happy group of curly ladies whom I am blessed to call my clients and friends. They, God love them, call me “The Curl Whisperer” and many of them drive hours, or even fly in from other states, just to come and sit in my chair—primarily because there are so few stylists out there who can handle curly hair properly.
I continue to be amazed at how little information on curly hair is available and at the lack of stylists who know and understand its properties and needs. That upsets me: the science behind the art of curly hair is so straightforward, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand it.
Despite the fact that over 65% of the population has curly hair, curl prejudice and ignorance runs rampant through our society (ever seen that television show that pairs wealthy men with attractive women where the “expert” insists wealthy men don’t want women with curly hair?). Most beauty schools still place little emphasis on the important differences between straight and curly hair in their educational programs.
Unfortunately, I don’t see that trend reversing itself any time soon, so it will take the curly hair community as a whole—both curly clients and curly hair specialist stylists—to promote curly hair education and banish curl ignorance once and for all.
Most frustrating to me is some of the more recent information that leads people to believe their wave pattern has anything to do with how they should care for their curly hair. It makes me crazy to see people buy into the philosophy of “my hair is classified as curl type G52; therefore, I should use products X and Y in my maintenance routine.” That is completely wrong and will only spell trouble for the typical curly girl in the long run.
It is critical for us to understand that the beauty of curly hair is only as good as the science behind it. It is your hair properties, not your wave pattern, that will help you to determine how to care for your curly hair properly. That’s basic trichology—good hair science—and in this publication, I’ll show why any curly girl can achieve the curls she wants by first understanding her hair and its properties, then applying a few simple rules to the science of hair so her curls become the amazing, magical things they are and should be.
It is also worthwhile to note that hair science applies to everyone, curly or straight, and can be used even in the event your wave pattern changes over time. My mother, for example, was much curlier when she was younger than she is now—she has morphed into a “wavy”—but the principles of hair science are just as applicable to her today as they would have been forty years ago. I personally find it comforting to think that a basic understanding of trichology will allow me to understand my hair for the rest of my life, no matter what my hair decides to do 10, 20, even 30 years from now.
I wrote this publication in a fairly straightforward manner, using plain language—you will notice a distinct lack of fluffy pictures or cute terminology here. You will, however, see bold type scattered throughout the pages when I felt a piece of information was important enough to highlight on its own, so pay close attention when you see any bolded text.
There is a lot of information here for you to read and digest, so take your time and don’t become frustrated if you don’t seem to “get it” right away. Focus on one section at a time and don’t rush through it. It isn’t difficult, but it will take a while before you completely understand all the principles here and develop a solid familiarity with your new curly lifestyle, so make sure you set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
I am happy you will be joining me on this interesting journey through Curly World, and I’m willing to bet you will have more than a few “A-ha!” moments as you begin to understand the science of hair as it relates to your own.
Isn’t it about time you started to live curly and free?
Live Curly, Live Free – Unlocking the Secrets Behind the World of Beautiful Curly Hair
By: Anderson Taylor, Tiffany
Publication Date: November 25, 2015