Tag Archives: hair

The return of the spiral curl

In 2014 I put up a post about doing the “curly girl” method, a way of taking care of anything from wavy to super curly hair. I haven’t been hard-core about wearing my hair curly and in fact, was under the impression that shorter, layered hair was better for bringing out waves and curls. Since I’ve let my hair grow long and focused on doing various hairstyles (with posts showing photos in 2016, 2017, and 2018) I didn’t think I could achieve the same “curly girl” results (as I did with shorter, layered hair). Nonetheless I started fooling around with it again this winter and was surprised that I could still get natural curls (curls, particularly wavy ones, are typically harder to achieve in dry, cold winter).  I was delighted to see the “return” of my token Scarlett O’Hara spiral curl. It doesn’t show up all the time but I’ve been seeing it more often recently.

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The very spiral-y curl is underneath other, less curly hair but I tried another photo a different day with the rest of my hair in place to show context. All the colors you see are my own; the hair underneath is MUCH darker than the top layers which grow from the crown and are, as you can see, very light.

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Curly hair is dry hair and the key to bringing out nice curls is conditioning the holy hell out of it. Middle-aged hair is dry hair too so you’ve got to double down on conditioner, especially when it’s long, if you want it to look nice. In fact, some “curly girls” wash their hair with conditioner (they call it co-washing; cute no?😊) I’ve tried washing my hair with conditioner a few times and it actually seemed to produce good results. I was afraid it would just make my hair wimpy.

Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook, has a product line, DevaCurl. The products are pricey so I don’t use them exclusively but I have to put in a word for One Condition,  a rich, creamy conditioner that has made a big difference in my hair. I’m not washing my hair with the expensive conditioner; I just mean it’s good stuff as a conditioner – one I often treat as a leave-in.

4/14/19 I’m editing this post to add another, recent photo of my spiral curl, in its spiral-y glory. It just dries like that. I’m a little obsessed – how unusual for it to show up in middle age.
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This post is NOT “My Hair Tricks & Pics” 2018 but…

In 2016 and 2017 I did posts showing lots of photos of hairstyles I created. I skipped that for 2018 but posted Faking Long Hair Without Extensions and included a few shots of my hair in other (relevant) posts. I took photos in November I didn’t yet post with two new styles.
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Earlier this month I did a seasonal style.
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If it’s not apparent from the above pictures, I’ve been growing my hair. I’ve had really long hair before but it’s been many years. For several years I focused on a layered, wavy look that is the hallmark of the Curly Girl style. This is a photo from two years ago with my natural hair, that is, no curlers or curling iron involved, just the results of doing the Curly Girl techniques.
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You might ask, “Gee Colette, if you can have that hair why wouldn’t you want it ALL the time?” Let me answer that friends. I took this particular photo because of how $%&#@ rarely my hair actually DID this. I could do the exact same things and not get the same results. It was hair as crapshoot. Plus I missed all the different styles I used to do with longer one-length hair. Chances are, I will return to the layered, wavy style down the line some day when I feel up to fooling with it but right now I’m having fun with long hair.

A word on long hair in middle age. 1) Many older women don’t want the bother of long hair, 2) Many women can’t grow their hair long when they’re older, 3) Some women grow or keep long hair – who probably shouldn’t – because a) they always had long hair, b) they equate long hair with being feminine or sexy, c) the man in their life prefers long hair, period. I want long hair, assuming I can grow it, only if it looks decent and complements me. I’m not sure how long those conditions will be true; there may be a window here that I’m leaping through before it shuts. So, I’m shooting for two feet long and have about 2″ more to get there.

My hair color is all my own. One of the oddities that came with middle age is that my white or gray hair grows only on the crown. The under layers are quite dark, dark blonde or even light brown.
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My Hair “tricks and pics” 2017

Last October I posted My Hair “tricks and pics” 2016. I’d let my hair grow most of the year and during the summer had gone back to doing hairstyles I’d done years prior when my hair was long, plus created new ones. I’ve continued to let my hair grow this year – if it looks good I figure why not? It has to be in decent condition and flatter me; simply being long isn’t enough. These pictures help keep me honest since we often forget how other people see our hair which is from all sides; not just what we see when we face a mirror.

I kept doing the styles pictured last year but here’s a few new ones from this year too. Forgive the photo quality; these were taken in the mirror. And — the hair color(s) you see are all mine (I get asked this regularly). The lighting makes it look different from one shot to the next – my hair is very light on top (crown) and a lot darker beneath. If you remember (or look at) last year’s post, it is decidedly longer now. I’ve been having a lot of fun doing my hair this year.

As I am writing this post I’m at the library and realized I failed to take a picture of my hair as it is this moment, which is one of the ways I wear it most often, so I managed to get a picture now, by turning my head for a selfie.

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There’s a barrette under this

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French twist. Metal comb.

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Side view French twist.

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Bun on top, ponytail on bottom. Metal pin.

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Two braids, top one twisted into bun.

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Single braid twisted into bun.

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This starts with a simple ponytail. I pulled the ends of my hair back up through the elastic band & fanned it out.

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High ponytail. This requires long, one-length hair or it won’t all stay in the elastic band.

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High ponytail seen from side.

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Two braids, one atop the other. Metal pin.

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This was an experiment with chopsticks; I merely guessed how they’re supposed to be used in hair (must remember to google).

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Side view of previous shot

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Side view of previous shot with hair clip.

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A very recent “invention” I did which is not as tricky as it looks (but would be tricky to explain in words!) As with the others pictured, that’s a regular pin, the kind you’d use on clothing.

Bonus picture(s): The following is not my hair. I bought this “hair” years ago. To be clear, I’m not sure what it is as it doesn’t have clips. Perhaps it’s an extension meant to be “sewn” in? (I have no experience with hair pieces or extensions having only seen them being used on TV.) Why did I buy it? It was inexpensive (a couple dollars) and color-wise it was a perfect match! I wore it only once many years ago at a public event where I was a vendor. Not one person I knew said a word about it. Funny that. I enjoyed my “hair” and it felt swingy but since it has no clips and I’d kind of jerry-rigged it, I did worry about it falling out. (It didn’t but I bet people would’ve noticed that.) I put it in at home to show you now.

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NOTE:  Likely delays in responding to your comments but I will!

Son of a Gun!

At a rummage sale recently, I smiled happily to myself at the sight of a familiar-looking bright red blow dryer for sale, a Clairol© Son of a Gun, one of which I previously owned. Apparently they are now “vintage.” I drew a picture of it in a college art class.
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When I was a teenager still living with my parents and enough of our older siblings had moved (and stayed) out, my sister (who was two years older) and I finally got to have separate bedrooms. Yet my sister would arrive at my door pleading for help because her hair dryer, a different brand, had once again sucked her long blonde hair into the back air vents and entrapped it. There she’d be with her head bent at an odd angle, hair dryer dangling and effectively stuck to her head till I’d help her get untangled. She called her blow dryer Son of a Bitch.

Fiddle-dee-dee!

Not quite two years ago I discovered the Curly Girl Method. No, it’s not a religion or a diet and it doesn’t involve selling cleaning products door to door. In short, it’s a way of taking care of your hair, for anyone – no matter their ethnicity, black or white, male or female, young or old – who has anything from a slight wave to tight coils. Here’s where it started with stylist Lorraine Massey. Nikki Walton, aka Curly Nikki is another well-known advocate.

There’s scads of information online for further reading, but the basics are: stop washing hair with sulfate-based shampoos (they create suds and strip hair of moisture which wavy/curly hair in particular needs), condition the hell out of hair, use gel, and ideally air dry.

My hair always had a wave and held curl well if I used regular or hot rollers. I liked that and had no interest in flat-ironed stick-straight hair (which magazines, Hollywood, etc., have touted for years).

There are different kinds of curly hair and I believe from my own research, that I’ve got a fickle kind (oh, that’s not the official name), meaning it’s unpredictable. It can’t be counted on to do the same thing two days in a row and further, did you know one person could have different kinds of curls on their one personal head? I know it now. Still, applying the basics of the care outlined above have made considerable improvements and brought out waves and curls heretofore unseen. I’m sold.

The thing which has most captivated me is the emergence of my one and only Scarlett O’Hara spiral curl. It resides alone on the left side of my head, beneath other hair (which is doing a variety of things, just not spiraling). I’ve never seen this before. Why is it the only one?? Why didn’t I get a batch of ’em? It comes and goes like the Cheshire cat, but here it is, with the rest of the gang pinned up out of view, on a recent day.

Fiddle-dee-dee indeed!

Fiddle-dee-dee indeed!