If you asked many of the people who know me to describe my appearance, I could probably guarantee you that the first thing they would mention would be my curly hair. It’s a big part of my image, and thus a big part of who I am, so this initial description wouldn’t surprise me, in fact I would quite like it! It’s unruly, pretty crazy, and it’s different every time I style it. I appreciate routine in my life, but my hair certainly doesn’t keep to any rules!
Both of my grandfathers are curly-haired men, as well as my nanny and my dad. One of my grandfathers is Irish, so I like to think of my messy mop as my 1/4 Irish blood showing itself (who am I kidding?!). When I was little, my mum (a straight-haired woman) never really tried to tame it, but when she did it was either in a puffy ponytail or bunches – apparently I loved bunches!
As I got older, my soft baby ringlets started to change into very thick, frizzy curls. Often, my hair was cut short but wasn’t styled with any sort of product, so I was a not-so-proud owner of the dreaded triangle hair. I didn’t know it then, but hair brushes were my worst enemy and only served to enhance the frizziness and triangular form of my mop. I grew up and moved into secondary school hating my hair, a hatred fuelled by the sharp rise in popularity of GHD straighteners. Because straightening my hair every day wasn’t an option, plaiting became my new best friend in an attempt to hide the frizz, until I went to the hairdresser one day when I was 12 or 13 and was introduced to something called a ‘hairstyle’. Sadly, I went for a full fringe, meaning I had to straighten it (if I didn’t want a puffball for a fringe), but I was also taught the miracle of having layers cut into my hair. My triangle-shaped barnet was no longer! Then, about a year or so later, I had another haircut, this time taking it short and in a graduated bob which ended at my chin. I absolutely LOVED this hairstyle. It gave my curls definition and volume, it was light and airy, and for the first time ever I was using a hair product specifically for curly hair (introduced to me by my hairdresser).
For years I had this haircut, over and over, sometimes good and sometimes bad (like that one time that she cut my wet hair to the length I wanted it to sit dry at, so after drying it sat two inches higher than I wanted and had terrible shape). That is until I went to university and found out that I wanted to do many other things more than I wanted to get a haircut.
Whenever I went to the hairdresser I would go to the most experienced stylists, purely because many stylists don’t understand naturally curly hair and try to cut it like they would straight-hair. More experience means more expensive in the world of hair salons, so I was paying through the nose for a wash, cut and blow dry every time I went, something that student me either couldn’t afford or wouldn’t prioritise. Because of this, and also because of the language barrier on my year abroad (my intrinsic fear of the hairdresser caused by bad previous cuts was only magnified by the thought of having to do it in French or Spanish!), I left my hair to grow long for a couple of years. Once it had grown past the awkward in-between short and shoulder-length stage, I fell in love with my long hair and never wanted to cut it short again! Only a couple of weeks ago did I have a proper trim of about four inches to get rid of the sad ends, but I’m currently loving having long tumbling curls.
They may be a pain to manage, and they most certainly get in the way sometimes (see how big my hair is in the photo from my graduation day above?), my curls are without a doubt my favourite thing about my appearance, and I like to show them off when I can! Learning to love them was a difficult process, especially through the 2000s when straightening was all the rage, but I’ve finally fallen in love with them. They are a big part of my identity and I would never give them up for the world! I have many people telling me how jealous they are of my hair, and the compliments I receive while sat on the reception at work, or while I’m out shopping or in a bar absolutely make my day. Years ago I would have given anything to have had straight hair, but nowadays I’m realising that I’m very lucky to have the manic, messy mop that I do!