In our series, Curly Hair Chronicles, the women of The Huffington Post share their strategies, struggles and successes with maintaining wavy, coily and kinky-textured hair. Home editor Shana Ecker chimes in about her roller coaster love affair with her curls. Read on to find out what she endured to eventually appreciate what she's got on top.
I've had a love/hate relationship with my hair since I was young, and my mother would stand behind me struggling to comb out my knots while I watched cartoons. Two early traumatic memories come to mind, and ironically, both occurred on playgrounds.
When I was five and my mom chopped off my locks into what can only be described as a "Mom bob," someone mistakenly called me a "little boy." Ouch! Then in the sixth grade, my friends pulled the scrunchie out of my half-up hairdo (this was the only way I knew how to control my brushed-out frizzy mane) and played keep-away while I desperately tried to get it back and hold my hair at the same time.
Fast forward a few years, and after lots of experimentation, my hair is still coarse and curly, full and thick and definitely has a mind of its own. But some days the stars align, and thanks to some amazing products, my hair falls into shiny ringlets down my shoulders. But I often give into its unruly ways and tie it back in a messy knot, hoping it looks somewhat purposeful.
I've worn my curls short(ish), long, highlighted and natural. I've tried gels, mousses, serums and creams. (Here's my current fave.) I've gone through phases when I would get it blown out weekly and keep it straight by carefully flat ironing it section by section while watching episodes of "The Real Housewives." I've even tried making DIY concoctions with ingredients like eggs, avocados, mayo and various oils that were supposed to de-frizz. And every time I was on the brink of doing something really drastic because I was at my wit's end, someone would convince me to to rethink it by saying, "I would kill for your hair." Or "That (insert hair treatment fad here) will fry your beautiful curls."
I did ride out the formaldehyde-ridden treatment craze, mostly because I was scared of the horror stories I would read from fellow curlies on NaturallyCurly.com (yes, it's sort of like a club). But recently I had the opportunity to try a gentler, formaldehyde-free alternative -- the "Zero Frizz Quickie" treatment at Julien Farel Salon. The application was easy, odor-free and went on like a deep conditioning treatment. After the stylist blow dried my hair, it was smoother and shinier than ever. I would definitely do it again.
My curls have forced me to be adventurous and take risks. They're always a conversation piece. They've stressed me out and cost me money, but they've rocked some major updos over the years. And sometimes , I'll catch a glimpse of my reflection or see a candid photo and think, "Whoa, look at that great head of hair!"
More reasons to crave long and silky strands:
Want more HuffPost Style beauty content? Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostBeauty. (For everything else check out our main HuffPost Style Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram @HuffPostStyle.)
Do you have a beauty story idea or tip? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)