Why You Should Experiment with Your Hair at Least Once

 Hair. I have a strange relationship with my hair. If you’re like me, then you also feel a deep emotional attachment to your hair. My day usually goes well if my hair also happens to look great. My bangs swoop in just the right direction and my curls bounce all day long. My hair journey is long and complicated and to be totally honest, I wish it weren’t. I wish I could write how you should love yourself no matter the state of your hair, but that just isn’t true. For a lot of women (and men) their hair is important to their emotional well-being. Humans are just wired to want to impress other humans with their silky locks. 

So when I got bangs last October I was really scared. My hair grows slowly, and I worried if I ended up regretting the cut, I’d be forced to pin my hair to the sides of my head for the next five months. Luckily, my leap off the deep end didn’t result in a crash and burn. I ended up loving my bangs! So much so that I have continued to cut them again and again months later. It took awhile, but I think I’ve finally learned how to style them. 

It’s taken over two years for me to learn how to properly care for my hair. From starting sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to oiling my hair, I think I’ve finally found products and routines that work. Since childhood, bouncy natural curls have been my go to. A simple shower in the morning reset my hair and brought back to life all its unique twists.

But I lost my natural curl almost two years ago after going on a prescription medication. It’s common, the side effects online warned of it. I think I lost a bit of myself the day my hair stopped curling, and maybe that sounds ridiculous. Why should anyone care about their hair that much? But in all honesty, everyone always complimented my hair. Aunts would come behind me and run their fingers through my curls commenting on their beauty. Friends at school raved about how easy my hair must be to style. I never touched my hair with heat products until I lost my curls. I didn’t know heat damage was a thing until I did it to my own hair. I lost the part of myself everyone complimented me the most on. Now my hair laid flat and lifeless against my head. 

My natural hair about a month before it stopped curling.

I had to either straighten or curl my hair with heat every morning. I did it religiously. I switched to sulfate-free shampoo thinking it might revitalize my hair. Nothing worked and my hair only grew weaker and dryer. It broke off leaving thin pieces at the ends. I desperately wanted longer hair like all the beautiful girls I saw online, but the longer my hair grew, the thinner it became. 

My hair after six months of using heat nearly everyday. While it was long, the ends were thin and dry causing large amounts of breakage. 

So I stopped. My freshman year of college I stopped using heat. I started a strict hair routine packed with moisture. I switched to Olaplex (no product placement here, the stuff just works) and began using hair masks twice a week,  sometimes three. My hair was either in braids or in a claw clip. I refused to use heat products until the breakage was under control. I started using a hair serum by the Ordinary to thicken my hair (I have genetically thin hair, there is only so much I can do, but it helps). 

At the end of my freshman year of college, one day after taking a shower, on a whim, I scrunched my hair like I used to when it was curly. I giggled to myself, What good would this do? I would have to just blow dry and place it in a ponytail. To my surprise my curls came back. For the first time in nearly two years my hair bounced and twisted and twirled. I texted my mom a picture, she couldn’t believe it either. I still don’t know why or how my curls came back (anyone with curly hair knows it has a mind of its own). I like to think it was because of the strict hair routine, but I can’t say that for sure. My hair has always operated on its own timeline. But my hair is a million times healthier now. It breaks off less and has a thicker appearance despite cutting bangs. I style my hair with heat about once or twice a week, and I am careful to use good heat protection when I do. 

My curls at the end of freshman year.

This sounds like a lot of work for “just some hair”, right? I mean, why does it matter? I can’t really say why I and so many of my close girlfriends feel such deep connections to our hair. But I will say, losing the piece of myself I loved the most changed me. I learned to evolve with my body. Ok, so my hair doesn’t curl anymore, I will evolve with it. Our bodies change and fluctuate and society often tells us they must stay in one mold for us to be happy. Our hair should be unrealistically silky and flow down to the middle of our back. That isn’t realistic. Our hair, our bodies change. It’s ok to find a lot of joy in the way your body looks but when it decides to change, learn to change with it. Learn to admire something new about your new shape. You will always be you. Your body doesn’t change that. 

It’s ok to want to have beautiful hair and a slim waist. I find a lot of self-confidence in my appearance as well. I do my makeup even when I’m going nowhere, just to feel more confident. All I’m saying is, don’t lose yourself in the process of trying to look a “certain” way. You’re all that you’ve got. Take care of yourself the way you want, not the way you’re told you should

So maybe try cutting bangs or adding highlights. Cut your hair off or add extensions. Try something new and try evolving with your hair. You will unlock a new self-confidence. Your evolution will uncover a deep love for your ever-changing body.

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