Growing up, I was told I had extremely curly hair.
My mother used to oil it every day and make two plaits. Although I hated it then, and was made fun of by girls whose parents allowed them to keep their hair short for looking unfashionable, I now realise that it was a good thing. The oil actually protected my scalp and hair from the hot, very dehydrating Indian sun.
Unfortunately though, the constant plaiting did straighten out my curls somewhat. So now from extremely curly hair, I have extremely wavy to slightly curly hair.
When I grew up and got a trendy haircut, I still maintained the Sunday morning oiling and washing routine and have had soft lustrous curls for most part of my twenties.
And then shit hit the fan and I began the greying. To my utter horror my hair transformed into a beast I had never encountered before. From soft bouncy curls to angry, rebellious, frizzy mass growing straight out of my scalp. The first thing I did was to cry a river and then ran to the stylist and got it cut very very close to the scalp. The first time in my life that I had such short hair.
A few years later I got it straightened with a cysteine treatment. For the first time I had poker straight hair. I really enjoyed that phase. Straight hair is so easy to manange, sigh. But any chemical treatment is eventually damaging to the hair health and my hair began falling.
So I stopped the treatment after a couple of times and that’s when for the past few years I have been following the Curly Girl Method.
Since then it has been a journey of discovery. There was very little information on grey, curly and frizzy hair. I have had to read, teach myself and understand the needs of my hair.
I have realised that my hair is an extension of my personality in many ways. It hates discipline and order. It cannot be ‘managed’. I have spent years understanding and learning to love it. And learning to accept it.
My hair is now the best that its been in twenty years. But menopause is rapidly approaching and that may cause more changes, particularly thinning of hair. I may eventually have to go back to a close crop. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to everything life sends my way.
None of the advice I’m about to give over the next few days is scientifically or dermatologically ratified. These are my experiences, my gradual understanding of how health- mental, physical, social, affect our hair health and consequently appearance almost immediately. Hair care requires you to slow down and spend time nourishing yourself. Take care of yourself, breathe deeply.