The Curly Journey:: What I Learned About My Hair Post-Baby

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Photo Credit: Carly Urbach Photography

You’ve heard it before. You’ll hear it again—possibly even 1000 more times. You have what everyone wants. Curls.

Friends and strangers alike offer compliments to your hairstyle regularly. However, your standard response is “Thanks (Insert eye roll here)” Every complaint in the book comes to mind.

The Curly Truth

You roll out of bed looking like a drunk lion, one side of your mane standing up on edge the other frizzed beyond recognition. You assume people must think, “Is that a person or a poodle?”

You can’t go anywhere without first doing your hair OR tossing it up into the weirdest of top-knob buns.

Hairstyle? What hair”style.” Curls can’t be cut into a “style.”

One word. FRIZZ.

OK, OK, OK. Slow your roll, curly girls. Wavies—you, too. I’m here to tell you that your life as you know it is about to change—all with three researchable words.

Curly. Girl. Method.

Would you believe me if I told you that, quite possibly for your entire life, you have been taking care of your hair all wrong? That’s right. Typical haircare is geared towards straight strands that can take a little pummeling from sulfate shampoo as the oil emitted from the scalp slides seamlessly down the hair shaft. The same strands that sag under the weight and become a greasy mess when engorged with conditioner. In fact, using regular shampoo, conditioner, and products can sicken your curly hair.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Limp, unorganized curls
  • Dry, straw-like texture
  • Out of control frizz
  • A general hatred of your mane

Curly girls prescribe to a different set of rules. Stay with me for this is true, out of the box, break-the-mold thinking.

My hair was amazing for years. I’d even adopted many of the curly girl tricks on my own without realizing there was a whole haircare system dedicated to waves and curls.

curls prebaby
Pre-Baby Amazingness (who doesn’t take selfies on good hair days?)

Then I had a baby.

Well, I had a baby, and I’m getting older. So tom-a-to, to-mah-to. At some point, I was going to need help. After my first kiddo, my curls were limp, dull, and disgusting. As with anything in my life, I didn’t sit idly for long. After chopping my long mane, (a gut-wrenching and desperate maneuver as any curly can tell you how slowly kinks seem to grow), I wasn’t any happier with my locks. So, I did a little research.

Again, as with anything I do, I went in headfirst (pun definitely intended). Bought and read the book, joined half a dozen Facebook groups dedicated to Curly Girl (CG), and ordered another half dozen recommended hair products.

Hopefully, my findings can start you off on the right foot. However, ultimately, I encourage you to do your own experiments and reading as my lovely 3a/2c combination curl type is not likely to precisely match your own.

Start small.

Mama, if there is one thing I know for sure. When you go all-in to CG, there is one emotion and one only. Overwhelm.

It’s a lot, lady. So remember to start small. Tackle a couple of things at first, and I promise you will gain more knowledge this way. Like with parenting, you can’t try all the tricks day one and know what will work out in the end.

If there are three things I can impart upon you to begin your curly journey, remember these:

  1. Ditch the sulfates.
  2. Silicones = Plague.
  3. DON’T BRUSH

In a nutshell, toss out your shampoo, avoid silicone ingredients, and (unless you want unruly, homely hair) throw away any and all brushes in your home. Wide-tooth combs are now your best and most loyal friend.

I have high porosity, moderate protein, fine hair. What does this mean?

My curls air dry within 2 hours, my hair doesn’t break off at a random tug, and I have thinner hair strands. All things you will learn about your own hair in time.

When I started CG, my hair was DRY. So I caked it in butter-based conditioners. A good start until my hair was healthy. Then I couldn’t figure out why it looked so limp all the time.

After all, I fixed it, right?

Here’s the deal.

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix. In fact, it’s not even a one-size-fits-one fix. I had to continuously change methods and products my entire first year. I discovered my routines between seasons are different. I have stumbled on a reliable product or two, but for the most part, my hair is an ever-changing fickle mistress blown about, literally, by the weather.

What I can tell you is—There Is Hope.

Read the book, join the groups, start small. Endure a little transition hair (the pandemic is a great time for this) and embark upon your own journey to smooth, lustrous curls.

And just maybe, the next time someone compliments your hair, you can give them a genuine smile, a perky thank you, and leave your eye rolls at home!

At the end of the day, you do you. Not everything CG fits with my hair or my lifestyle. I’ve tweaked a bit and continue to try new methods whenever I can’t get my hair to cooperate.

And I’m three years in!

If I can do it, so can you.

Now get ready for my selfies as I take you through two years of my Curly Journey.

The Curly Journey
Summer 2019 right before baby #2 (left) September 2017 post lock-chop (right)

 

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sarahoogeveen
Sara is a career child welfare worker turned career mama. After having their first child, Marian (Feb 2017), she realized her true calling in life was to mom and mom hard! Sara resides with her husband, Blake, and daughter in West Omaha. They are expecting their second child, Henry, August 2019. Sara is a Nebraska transplant from Iowa while Blake grew up in Bellevue, NE. She has a professional background in child development, psychology, and human services, and puts these degrees to use every day in raising her children. Sara is a staunch believer in only being able to care for others when you also care for yourself. When she’s not momming, she can be found reading books from a book club she co-leads, cooking, or crafting.

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