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Last April, I looked at photos of myself in 2014, and I really missed how versatile my hair was. During the summer, I wore it curly some days, and some days I wore it straight. It looked healthy, full, and (in April 2016) I felt that I looked good in 2014. After a heartbreak during that summer, I decided that straightening my hair was the only way I looked somewhat attractive.

It never fails to amaze me how heartbreak can completely screw with your head.

S0, in an effort to fix the heartbreak and/or win back the guy, I figured that my ugly curly hair was one of the reasons he and I didn’t work out.

Yeah. Settle down, Psycho.

Of course, in that stupid attempt, I fried the crap out of my hair. I used the 450 degree setting, did it almost every day, and never used heat protectant spray.

Don’t get me wrong, my hair looked great straightened. Then I started curling it with a wand. My poor hair really went through a lot. All of 2015, I just continued the straightened hair thing. No one likes curly hair. Who even has curly hair?

Fast forward to February or March of 2016. I finally got my haircut by Kim (Kevin’s stylist). She said my hair was a little fried and also that it was thin.

Thin?!

I used to have thick hair!

So, I mulled over on that for a month. I stopped straightening it for a few days/weeks, but my hair wouldn’t hold a natural curl. It sat limp and didn’t do anything. I asked Kim’s advice.

Chop. Dat. Off.

Now, I haven’t had short hair since 2010 or something. As I sat in her chair that day in April, I nodded and told her to do it. “How short?” she asked. “Chop all of the damage off,” I advised. “All?” she showed me how far up it went (about a half inch from my shoulders). She decided to cut it a little longer, maybe an inch past my shoulders. Before her first cut, she asked if I was sure. I told her to do it before I changed my mind.

There it went. All of my hair.

When I finally got home to wash it, it felt alien to me. I was used to feel hair on the middle of my back. My hair didn’t require nearly as much conditioner as before. Did it even need conditioner? This was foreign ground for me.

When it finally dried, I was shocked. “That’s it?” I wondered. My hair still looked limp. It was fluffier, sure. It was much shorter, all right. It was still not curly.

So began my journey of bringing my curls back to life.

Enter r/curlyhair. I spent a lot of time on the subreddit trying all of their techniques. I will say, I never did try the Curly Girl Method. I sometimes skipped shampoo. I sometimes used sulfate free shampoo/conditioner. Mostly, though, I followed Kim’s advice.

I used Beach Waves shampoo and Conditioner by Redken, as well as their spray. That gave me volume and some minor curls. Eventually, I got into a groove. This took MONTHS.

My current routine is: wash with the Redken. After the shower, wring my hair once in the sink, then apply Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and scrunch. Then apply Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and scrunch. Then apply the Redken spray and scrunch. Then apply John Freida frizz Ease and scrunch. Air dry for about two hours. Scrunch out the crunch with a bit more John Freida Frizz Ease.

It took me a long time.

I recently bought a mousse for volume. I also changed shampoo and conditioner for added thickness. Literally started these two a few days ago. The shampoo is OGX Biotin and Collagen. My sister swears her hair is thicker from using it. She has always had thin hair, and I’ve noticed the thickness. She also takes biotin supplements, so it’s probably a mix of both. I’m sticking to just the shampoo/conditioner for now.

I decided last week that I wanted to straighten my hair again. For old time’s sake, you know?

I bought heat protectant spray. I’ve been looking longingly at photos of my long straight hair. It wouldn’t hurt once, right?

So, I sprayed the crap out of it with the spray. I let it dry, because I read you shouldn’t straighten when your hair is wet (with anything).

Then I started with my 200 degree iron.

It took me 20 minutes to straighten, but it had that fly-away, fluffy straight. So I re-straightened with 250-300 degrees and called it a day.

It’s as long as it was nine months ago (in fact, a little bit longer). It feels stronger and healthier.

So, was it worth the 30 minute ordeal?

Absolutely not.

I can’t believe I used to do this regularly.

I can’t say it isn’t nice, because I do like it. I feel more conventionally pretty with straight hair. This also might have to do with the fact that it’s longer when I straighten. I easily lose 3-4 inches (at least) when it’s curly.

I also feel more like me with curly hair. It requires a lot less effort, too (which is fantastic).

So what’s the verdict?

I’ll straighten it occasionally. Not on “fancy” occasions, because then I’ll start to view it like McDonald’s–like some kind of silly, inaccurate reward. (You know when you’re a child and you get McDonald’s once a month or something and you feel like you just won the lottery, when really, you’re totally ruining your body and it’s not at all good for you.)

So, today, January 31, 2017, I have straight hair. Tomorrow, it’ll be curly again, because I’ll get all sweaty from Total Body Cardio.

That’s the other thing: when I work out and get sweaty, I have to wash my hair. I work out every day. I get sweaty about 4/7 days a week. I don’t want to straighten my hair 4 days a week. Once a week is fine. Maybe on yoga days, when I don’t get nasty sweaty.

Then again, maybe just stick to curly.

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