I don't think I'm unlike most women in that I constantly struggle with my hair.
I think it was in junior high/high school that I really had it the worst. The "feathered bang" was the look at the time - that and the two big rolls down either side of the face. I could never have the right look because I didn't really have the "right" hair. I have very thick, very coarse hair, its wavy but not in what I would think of as a good way. when I was younger, if it was wet and I didn't blow dry it, it took hours and hours to dry. I could go to sleep with a wet head and wake up with parts of it still not dry. In high school when the only things I knew how to do with it was blow it dry and then apply a curling iron, I just hated it. It didn't look like the other girls' hair (or at least, I didn't think it did). It wasn't shiny, it wasn't long enough, it wasn't straight enough, my bangs would make this weird ski jump thingy off to the left and if I didn't wrestle it into submission with the hairdryer, brush and curling iron, its natural inclination to wave was the entirely wrong direction. One time, when it was really long, my mom thought I should trim the ends and let my DAD do it. To this day I cannot figure out WHY. By the time he finished "evening it out" it was up past my shoulders and I was in tears for days.
It wasn't until I hit my twenties and went for my first expensive haircut that someone finally showed me how to deal with it. I had it about shoulder length then, and the stylist, Michael, asked me how I styled it in the mornings. I told him how I blow dried it and combed it and curled it and he just stared at me with this expression of abject horror on his face. "Oh, honey," he said, "let me introduce you to the diffuser!" That was the beginning of a much improved relationship between my hair and I and it last well into my mid-thirties.
It was the pregnancies that ended what I like to think of as my "good hair" years. The first thing I did wrong was look at myself in the mirror one day in the third trimester of my first pregnancy and decide I looked too old. Unfortunately no one had hidden the scissors, and I cut bangs into my formerly one-length hair. The second thing that happened was that I HAD the baby, and I experienced for the first time in my life what it was like to NOT have thick hair. And the thinning behind my bangs was so unbelievably upsetting to me that for months I didn't even want to leave the house. I tried getting different cuts, different ways of layering it, but it just didn't look or feel right to me. Before Connor was born, I gave up and had it cut boy-short. The stylist who I went to cut it with a razor, just like the men's cuts:
I loved having short hair, especially with two small children in the house. Getting ready in the morning was a two minute process. Eventually, though, the desire to have my former hair returned, and I started growing it again. I don't have to tell any of you how agonizing a grow-out can be. The older you get, the longer it takes, and it took me three years to get it from short to long. Mid-length hair requires a lot more styling, so I was back to having to get up super early in the mornings just to have time to fix my hair before work. The job that I moved to Washington state to take, the one I am still at now, is a casual environment so its not like I have to have "perfect" hair or makeup, but like a lot of people, I don't like leaving the house looking sloppy. What's gotten more difficult over the past year is that I have been needing to be out the door with both kids by 6:30 am so I can drop them off in time to get to my vanpool, and I haven't had anyone around to help me with them or with feeding the dogs/cats/chickens/horses. I get up at 4:30 in the morning most weekdays just to make on time. I needed to do something different. I started showering at night instead of in the morning to save some time, but then I found that my hair was even worse. Applying a curling iron to wavy hair that's been slept on is inefficient, it doesn't work that well, and it takes forever. Most of the time I'd end up with a pony tail, but then I'd end up with pony tail headaches by the end of the day. I was getting really, really close to just giving up again and having it butchered short, only to save my sanity.
Then a few weeks ago a coworker told me about the flattening iron she had been given as a gift. She always has straight, shiny, glossy hair which I envy. It didn't take much to convince me to at least give it a try.
Its not like I don't' want to have curly hair. There are days when I have time to style it and I am very happy with it. But what I needed was a 10 minute solution to the out-of-control morning hair, something that would allow me to leave the house on time but without looking like Cousin It. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe I have found THE HOLY GRAIL OF HAIRSTYLING. For reals.
Proving this requires me to do something I am really uncomfortable with, i.e., posting pictures of myself. In the spirit of this unsolicited product recommendation, though, I am going to put on my big girl panties and be brave.
Here is the "before" picture, taken last night. This is hair that was blown out and then curled, as opposed to having been dried with the diffuser, so the only really curly, kinky places are underneath the top two layers. But it provides a good visual for the starting point. The other picture is one I took on my cell phone a while back, that's when its been diffused dry and allowed to curl naturally.
OK. So the whole process takes about 10-15 minutes. The iron itself is a CHI product, it was $76 and change ordered online through Costco. Its a laser-heated iron, so it goes from 0 to 392 degrees fahrenheit in under two minutes.
I do it in three sections, bottom layer first, middle layer next, then top layer, and I use a salon-grade hair oil to add a little shine and protect the hair from breakage. Each section of hair only needs to be run through the iron one time, its THAT hot and works THAT well.
Finished product (and yes, no makeup and YES, I realize my nose is big):
Can you believe that?
And my hair is SOFT. And shiny! And it swings when I move my head! And the best part is: NO MORE BAD HAIR DAYS!! That IS a big, fat, hairy deal.
Besides, if things go REALLY wrong, I can always wear a hat: