My haircare journey - By Rose
Hair Flick February is all about confidence and loving the hair you have. In honour of that, I wanted to share my own journey to loving the hair that I have.
For those of you who haven't seen me on the Lusid socials, I have fine curly hair. As a child, neither of my parents knew what to do with it. They never intentionally tried to change my hair or straighten it which I am grateful for. My curls came from my Dad but haircare definitely wasn't one of his interests. Naturally, my parents did what was familiar to them and brushed my hair. My fellow curlies reading this probably all cringed at that thought. There are many a school picture where I look like I have a head of blonde candy floss. It was a hit to my confidence when my friends all had easily manageable, long, straight hair.
One of my core memories that I can recall very vividly is of one of my first slumber parties. I was in Year 3. We watched the first High School Musical film which had just come out and if that wasn't mind blowing enough for me, then my best friend looked over at me and said "Oh my gosh we should straighten your hair! I'll go ask Mum!". I was confused. I didn't like the frizzy poofy mess I dealt with everyday but I don't even think I knew what a hair straightener was before that night. All the women in my family had (and still do) have very low maintenance pixie cuts of some sort so hair tools weren't something I had seen. But sure enough I found myself sitting in front of my friend's mum as she straightened my hair. I was so excited at the end result. I remember thinking how I looked more like my friends. And those friends said I looked a bit like Sharpay Evans who we'd just watched. My Mum wasn't happy when I came home, and now as I look back I probably would be concerned too if my seven-year-old came home saying "I look pretty like this".
Like I said, this was a core memory for me and it started a string of sleepovers where I not-so-casually suggested that we straighten my hair. And then a string more of arguments with my mother of begging her for a straightener.
By year 9, she gave in and said I could get one with my own money. I was thrilled. I started getting up for school extra early so I would have time to straighten my hair. I didn't want to stop once classmates started to tell me I looked better that way. If you're told that enough times, you believe it. I think the whole experience was probably just as damaging to my self-esteem as it was to my hair.
I eased off the straightener for university, mostly because I was so swamped with work I was happy to show up to class in sweats and a bun most of the time. But when I did straighten my hair for special occasions, I could never shake the feeling that I looked "better" that way.
It was actually my second year of university where I gave up the straightener for good. I lost my Dad to a heart attack. Besides my curls, I mostly look like my Mum. And a few months after it all happened, I remember looking in the mirror and wanting to have something I could look at and think of him. And so began the journey of taking care of my curls. I knew that heat damage and box dye were the two things that had hurt them so I gave both of these things up. It wasn't cold turkey on the box dye. I was grieving and still needed to go through one or two more rounds of shitty dark box dye to get that out of my system.
At the start of the following year, I went to my hairdresser and asked her to cut off all my hair and started growing a new head of healthy hair. I was a bit lost on what products to use that would help me nourish it but I found a leave in conditioner that a couple of fellow curlies I'm still friends with enjoyed.
At this point, I couldn't tell you the last time I straightened my hair and I'm happier for it.
I've learned a lot about ingredients to look out for and why since being at Lusid. It's been almost a year now and I've learned all about silicones and parabens and sulfates. I've learned to be gentle with my hair and to accept that it's not always going to look perfect. I love the hair I have now.
I've learned so much and that's a process that will continue for a long time yet.