Sure, curly hair can be beautiful, but it’s a helluva lot easier to curl straight hair than straighten curly hair.
My 13-year-old attempts to straighten my hair worked, but it was still frizzy. I needed a solution. I had no money. And my mother wasn’t gonna pony-up cash for expensive creams or treatments.
“I’m crafty and creative,” I told myself. “I can find a solution,” I told myself.
And one day, I figured it out... or so I thought.
Now, before I tell you how I solved my problem, let me tell you that I honestly don’t remember why “this” seemed like the right thing to do. I can’t tell you how this item came to mind. But once I set my hopes on something, I’m just gonna do it. And really, at the time, it made sense.
My solution was plain ol’ vegetable oil.
Yep. Like the kind my mother cooked with. Yep. That’s the stuff.
I put the oil in a spray bottle and I sprayed my hair lightly. This made it glossy, but it was still very frizzy.
What the hell... let’s add more.
So I sprayed more on and at this point, I’m realizing that I may need to rub the oil in to get the desired effect. So I’m rubbing and it’s looking glossy & smooth.
So I’m spraying more, more to get deep into the hair, and I’m rubbing & smoothing my tresses down.
Now, my thirteen-year-old mind, is thinking that my plan has worked. And I’m sure a diabolical laugh came out.
“Let’s throw caution to the wind,” I say to myself. So I sprayed and rubbed like my life depended on it. I put enough vegetable oil in my hair to make sopapillas.
Oh! And I remember the joy I felt. It was so smooth and glossy. It only had a slight curl to it and it was so, so sleek.
I wore my hair this way for a day or two. I remember my blue bed sheets looked kinda funny (can someone say “grease spot?”), but I never gave it another thought.
Around day four came the most cringe-worthy moment.
I wanted to test my new hair. It was still looking sleek and I only had to add a little bit of oil here and there to smooth it back down. It still had quite a bit of wave to it and I became curious about how beautiful it might be if I straightened it; so I plugged in my curling iron...
You know, looking back now, I’m surprised I didn’t cook my hair right off my “blessed” head. And if I smelled a little funny before straightening my hair, you can bet your sweet cheeks that I smelled like fried chicken after straightening my hair.
And maybe I am selling my thirteen-year-old self a little short in the crafty department; because even though I put cooking oil in my hair and slid the slick strands between a hot curling iron, I did achieve the look I wanted. I succeeded.
I loved my new hair. Simple as that.
The vegetable oil phase only lasted a week, at the most. My mother may have noticed, but she never said a thing. It was summertime, so I didn’t go to school this way, but I’m sure I visited with a close friend or two. No one ever mentioned my new style.
The allure wore off. It was stinky and hard to care for and eventually, I noticed that it was too smooth and slick. And maybe, just maybe, I looked in the mirror and realized that I looked ridiculous (although I doubt I caught on that easily).
I returned the unused oil to the kitchen and washed my sheets. My room reeked of warm, homemade tortilla chips for a week but it was the last time I went to extremes for my hair.
I didn’t process that time in my life until I was in my 20’s... and when I thought of that incident, I laughed my butt off.
Thirteen was a hard age. And even to this day, it isn’t easy seeing commercials, TV shows, movies and glossy magazine pages with (mainly) smooth-haired women.
People still think I’m “blessed” with great hair. And, yeah, sometimes I like my hair.
Mainly, I live with it. It is what it is and what it is is curly.
And not that “curly” you see in magazines... that is wavy hair that had been curled with an iron.
You can’t trick me, Cosmopolitan. I know curly and I know slick when I see it.
Current picture of me... and my curly hair.