Hey all! Been a long time since I wrote something (since December, and I didn’t even share it to Facebook!!). I just haven’t had a lot to say, really, and even now I still feel a bit directionless about what this blog is even meant to be or what I want it to be. But I’m just going to keep on writing whenever I feel like it and hope that someone out there enjoys it.
So I’ve been going on about this on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram but is it really me if I don’t make a self-indulgent blog post about it also?! No. So… I’ve been straightening my hair since I was 12. My friends in intermediate were all doing it, as was my older sister, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon too. I had relatively straight hair anyway at 11-12 years old, but it was slightly wavy at the ends and around my forehead, AKA my baby hairs. So I started straightening my hair with a shitty TRESemmé hair straightener without a heat protectant and there started what was probably the worst thing I ever did.
Here I am at 12 with straightened hair hahaha. Anyway, this continued for basically what has been ten years. Ten whole years of heat damage. I moved up in the ranks, swapping my shitty Remington pair for a nice GHD and I started using a vegan de Lorenzo heat protectant about two or three years ago – but was it ever enough to make my hair survive 200 degree heat almost every day? Maybe for a while, but at about this time last year I think my hair decided it was through with being fucked with.
I’ve had issues with my hair for a while, in terms of accepting it within the context of my identity. I am about three quarters NZ European/British/Irish/whatever I’m white and about a quarter or a part or whatever Polynesian/Chilean/Mixed/whatever. I feel like you can’t really break down your heritage or ethnicity into neat little parts (like yes, my legs are Polynesian but the rest of me is white. Okay?!?!) so I usually just tell people that I am half white and half Polynesian; a part for my dad and a part for my mum. I identify as mixed race, yet this is a part of my identity that I continually struggle with as I am mostly white passing and don’t have a lot of connection to or understanding of my Polynesian ancestry. So this means that I have some mixed race features, such as a mixed sort of skin tone (pretty pale in the winter, but pretty dark in the summer) and a pointy-yet-flat nose and my hair. My hair is a mixture between thin and fine European hair and thicker, coarse Polynesian hair. I literally cannot describe it as completely one or the other because while my hair is kind of thin, it’s also kind of thick? Whatever it is, it is not white girl hair and I have always longed for white girl hair. Those Instagram/Tumblr/Pinterest photos of #hairgoals? Yeah, they never feature girls like me. It’s always white girls with amazing, voluminous, perfect-combo-between-straight-and-wavy blonde hair or beautiful, amazing black/brown girls with gorgeous afros and kinks and curls (usually it’s just white girls though #diversity). I have neither. I’m learning to just be okay with what I have.
But for so long I tried to tame my hair into something it wasn’t. I have naturally dark hair; dark brown to the point where it’s borderline black. I don’t particularly like this colour on me as I find it washes me out and isn’t super flattering. Since I was sixteen I’ve dyed it red every six to twelve months and found that it has faded to a flattering reddy-brown that I love – but doesn’t make my hair feel great or nourished or strong. I’ve straightened it to death in the hopes of having #hairgoals, only for it to never quite work for me. I could never and still can’t straighten my hair once and then have it stay straight for a couple of days after that. I have to do it every day because by the the time I leave the house, it’s already curling at the ends and rebelling against me. Those girls that say their naturally straight hair can’t hold a curl? That’s me, but in reverse. So I had to do it every single day to touch it up and even then it would only last a couple of hours before the flicking and curling and rebelling began once again. And every day I would just keep on trying, even though I knew my hair would never be how I wanted it to be.
Now I’ve worn it natural before. Plenty of times and for a decent chunk of time too. When I was in high school I went one summer pretty much only straightening it for special occasions because I was going to the beach so often that there was no point. I loved it being natural then, but it was unhealthy as shit because I didn’t deep condition it to make up for all the salt that was stripping my hair. I’ve also just worn it natural when I’ve felt like it and while they looked nice, I know it wasn’t my peak curl. Notice how my curl pattern is flat; this is because I wasn’t adhering to a method that allows my curls to reach their peak potential.
I’ve never taken care of my curls. I used to use whatever shampoo and conditioner I felt like. Then in 2015 I switched to only using Lush products for environmental reasons and while my hair probably benefited from it (pretty sure most of the products I was using didn’t contain sulfates or silicones, but I’m unsure) I was still straightening it. I continued to do this up until this year and for the past few months I’ve just been using whatever. This was not doing favours to my hair.
About this time last year I started to have trouble with my hair. I’d had a pretty good run with it all throughout 2015 where I was pretty happy with it. But it changed, as hair does, and basically this is what happened:
- I dyed it red again, which damaged my hair and actually didn’t look as good as I thought it did the other times I’d done it
- I ended up going to a nice salon on Cuba Street to do something with it that would make it look less shit and ended up taking a decent length off. The stylist used a cutting technique that was super good for my hair and we also did a Kevin Murphy treatment (all this shit was so expensive though and definitely not sustainable on my student budget).
- I felt sad about the length because I prefer my hair long but it felt healthier than it had in years and within months my hair grew the fastest it ever has (my hair has always been slow to grow). I was very impressed.
- But then it got sort of shit again and I missed my emo side fringe 😉 so I went back to my tried and true hairdresser that cut my hair from when I was 14. I got it cut to suit straight hair, so layers and a little side fringe.
- Not too happy with it, but it grows out and I feel okay. Still really short though.
- More unhappiness, another cut. More unhappiness.
And that leads to now. Last week. Pretty unhappy with my hair and the general texture/look/feel/colour/length of it. I’d heard about the curly girl method in the past and wanted to try it, but never quite felt ready to. Until now.
I’ve switched to a sulfate, silicone, paraben, etc etc-free shampoo and conditioner; I’m using the Sukin Nourishing ones and they’re pretty good! I’ve been only brushing my hair with a wide tooth comb when it’s wet and plopping it in a t-shirt and all that jazz. All of this information about looking after curls can be found on the Naturally Curly website and on various YouTube videos. I’m only a week in and my hair still feels pretty shit, but I’m getting there. I know it needs a cut soon to remove the damaged and dyed hair and to prevent split ends from running up the hair shaft. But I feel excited to finally be embracing my natural hair. I am pledging no more heat tools for at least six months, but truly I want to not use them ever again unless it’s for a super special occasion.
My biggest motivation behind doing this is that I want long hair. I love having long hair. I’ve kept it long most of my life since 12 years old, but it has always plateaued at a certain length and just will not grow past that point, no matter how much I try. My hair also grows extremely slowly.
Ignore my stupid face in both of these, but that first one was taken in August 2013 and it’s the shortest my hair has probably ever been (not including when I was a baby/toddler, obviously). The one on the right is almost an exact year later. I didn’t have my hair cut once between these two photos – which debatably may have contributed to its slow growth, but they still can’t prove 100% scientifically if regular trims promote faster hair growth! I did, however, straighten it religiously that whole year and note those shitty bleached ends. So, yes, it grew, duh. But it took a whole year to not even reach double my hair length.
So, long story short, in my quest for long hair, I’ve realised that I need to give my hair some major TLC. And that means dropping the GHDs and hairdrying and dyeing and sulfate shampoos and silicone conditioners and all that awful bullshit.
Let me know if you embrace your natural hair and if you’re curly, what do you do to reach #peakpotential?!
♡ kazface ♡