How to look after curly hair when you’ve never had it before

I didn’t curl my hair. My hair, you might say, curled me. It was a stealth re-style, ordered by nature and art directed by a hurricane.

We know that the emotions connected to hair are rarely simple. It’s usually the first self-directed physical marker of significant change – the post-divorce chop, the big birthday colour job. And I should address the elephant in the room from the off: any black woman who’s had to face the dreaded, ignorant ‘professional hairstyle’ commentary can tell you about the politics of hair much, much better than I can. Here’s just one of many occasions when black women have done the education for us. As a white woman of reasonably copious privilege, my hair wasn’t something I needed to think about very much for a long time. This was partly because straight fine hair flies under the white beauty radar, and also because I had a fair amount of it (female baldness, both voluntary and involuntary, also being the cause of much comment). But over the years I’ve lost quite a lot, and that’s often been tricky to come to terms with, even if my carefully chosen Instagrams hide it well. And along the way, it also changed look entirely, and that had a strong impact on me. If that seems superficial to you, head back to read something else another day. I usually write about films and books and occasionally food.

For now, it’s a hair story. My hairmoir, if you will. Continue reading →