For as long as I can remember I have had a bad hair day. Almost every spontaneous photo of myself from grade school on up has been ruined due to my frizzy curly out if control hair. I hate it. I was the Greek girl with the Afro in all my class pictures. My life’s obsession became looking for a way to make my boukles straight once and for all. I tried everything. What is a Greek girl born with a lot if curl to do? Here’s are a list of options for dealing with the thick curly locks your Hellenic genes gave you.
If you look around you and a bit behind you, you will soon realize that curly- hairedness is quite common for Greek people. I swear it must be from the time of the Greek gods when nymphs and mortals mated with goats and horses to produce fantastic hybrids. (I’m convinced those stubborn black stubs that grow in week after week under my chin date back to the time Greeks mated with goats in ancient days. I mean some hair is not human! It has to be animal!) All the Greek gods were curly haired. Look at the ancients. Practically all the statues of prominent matricians in the museums and on fresco walls wore their hair curly. Look at your family tree; honestly without counting those you know straighten their hair, how many people in your family have naturally curly hair? More than half maybe? Curly hairiness like everything else is genetically passed down. I inherited mine from my Giagia Eirini. So like your traditions and your joke making ability you should be proud of it. But we have a problem here–
The problem is that curly is pase. No one wears their hair curly anymore. 20 years ago it was all the rage to run and perm your hair; everyone wanted luxurious curly hair. “You are so lucky,” every Greek hair dresser would tell me.”You don’t have to spend hours and a fortune to have your hair curly.” But nowadays, no one I mean no one, not even the cardio guy Richard Simmons wears her hair curly. Who is the last Hollywood actress you remember sporting curly locks–Geena Davis? Bette Midler? Oprah, maybe. They’re has beens. No current LA queen would be caught dead having nothing less than pin straight hair. Especially not the Kardashians who I swear have crazy curly hair as their genes are Armenian and come close to being Greek. So if you want to kick the curl, what are the options? Here’s a list:
The Curly Que
- Gets your unruly locks to be tamed into a smooth silky straightness. You can have the hair of a Japanese geisha.
- Easy to maintain. Just a touch up with a straightener and you’re good to go
Lasts 3 – 6 months for some
- Expensive and time consuming. Expect to dish out from $150 low end to $ 600 high end for a good treatment. You’ll be in the salon from 4 to 6 hours so make plans ahead of time
- Good for you? I’m no scientist but how healthy can it be to soak your skull in harsh chemicals for six hours. The keratin straightening treatment is the more gentle approach where only proteins and keratin get hot ironed into strands but it does not last as long
- Curly overgrowth starts appearing as your hair grows leaving you with a mushroom top head
- Cheaper alternative just watch the electric bill as blow dryers burn a lot of energy
- No harsh chemicals
- Lasts only as long as your next hop into the shower, rain or workout
- Time consuming can take from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending how much hair you got not to mention the aching arm muscles from balancing brush, blow dryer, towels and other hair products
- You have to know how to do it.
Hair straighteners: If you lack time or skill to straighten hair with the blow dryer, some women opt to go straight to the straightener. I recommend one of the professional type straighteners for the Greek curls as the pharmacy store ceramic plated straighteners only make it frizzier and not as pin straight as you are expecting. I recommend the Babybliss Pro, but my favorite is the Izunami lithium- plated professional straightener that reaches to 450 degrees F and is what hair stylists use to heat keratin directly into hair.
- These things actually work. You just part your hair into sections an inch and a half wide and press for 8 to 10 seconds (sometimes longer for extra stubborn hair) and pull through to the end of the strand
Easy to do. Even I, a complete dummy when it comes to hair care can manage to use a hair straightener and look semi-presentable.
- a cheap alternative to chemically straightening hair
- tendency to dry out hair quickly with this method (as well as your blow dryer)
- danger of frying hair beyond repair if you calibrate the straightening iron too high (believe me I’ve done it–my hair felt like burnt fur and fell out like shattered pieces of glass)
If you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you will never tame your curls, that you will forever carry your head like a Brillo pad or for those days when you want to give your hair a break from the dryers and the treatments, here are some tricks and products to use especially designed with curly in mind:
Ouidad: this salonist has made a name for himself styling women with tight curls (Arabic women take that prize). His line of shampoos, conditioners, leave-in sprays, mousse and other product are especially formulated to tackle the problem of curly hair. His salon on the West Side is a mecca for curly hair dos. He knows how to “dry cut” curly heads because he understands the science behind curls; each curl has its own personality. I recommend a trip just to see if his team can help you keep your curls and still feel good about it.
Conditioning: If you put your curly hair through all sorts of straightening torture chambers, it is essential that you take the time to moisturize and deep condition it. It is recommended you use a hot oil treatment at least every two weeks and use a daily leave-in conditioner (John Freida has plenty of these on the market.) Moussing it up also helps define and refine curls keeping them from frizz. Argan oil, tea tree oil, even good old olive oil or coconut oils are good for deep conditioning. This involves saturating the hair with warm oil and covering it with a plastic shower cap and sleeping on it till morning. I usually mix a blend of argan, olive oil and almond oils which I purchase directly from the health food store and cover my hair with it. Another Dominican friend, also prone to frizz and dried out curly hair, swore by this trick: she washes her hair only twice a week (curly hair needs only occasional washing because of its tendency to dry out) and she applies the hair conditioner once, rinses, and then applies it again and half rinses it off.
There you have it koukles with boukles. Either live with your curly hair and be happy, or get rid of them and go straight. Either way you are beautiful.