Hair: My Herstory
My curly hair has been a source of disappointment and delight for as long as I could remember. I have looked in the mirror in amazement over it and cried my eyes out. Over my 38 years, my hair has gone through every possible stage. It’s been long and short. I’ve been with and without bangs. And why yes – I did have a mullet. It’s been dyed red, brown, blond and blue black. I’ve had highlights – auburn and gold. It’s been wavy, curly, crimped and ironed straight.
I had kitchen haircuts for the first 18 years of my life. When I was a little girl, I detested my mother’s Saturday night ritual of ‘conditioning’ my hair. She’d set up beauty shop in the kitchen. Bring out her bristle brush and her squirt bottle filled with Wesson vegetable oil – yes folks, vegetable oil. She’d scrape and brush and part my hair, apply oil and brush some more. When she was done, I’d sit in the kitchen with oil dripping down my face. After twenty minutes, she’d wash my hair in the sink with Prell or VO5 shampoo, her manicured nails scrubbing my scalp clean.
The Cut Off
The summer I turned 19, I decided it was time for all my hair to go. I had gone through a series of bad breakups and needed a fresh start. And in my mind, in order to cut a guy out of my life, I needed to cut my hair. So I got a pixie cut. I hated it for the first few months. It was the mid-90s and short hair wasn’t trendy.
I never realized how thick my Latina locks were until it was boy cut short and hair product (lots of it) was absolutely necessary. I tried everything to manage my short hair – pomade, wax, mousse and gel. When I finally found a hair product that I liked – I bought several jars at a time because they were so hard to find.
After a while, I grew to love my short hair. It made me stand out and gave me a sense of confidence and courage I never felt before. Having short hair made people look at me differently. I saw myself differently too. I learned not to care what people thought about me or my hair. I had spent so much of younger years, hating my hair – trying to make it work, wishing it was different and never feeling satisfied with the result. Having short hair taught me that the length or texture of my hair didn’t define my beauty.
Long Hair vs. Short Hair
There’s this misconception that short hair is easier to manage. That was a comment I heard over and over when my hair was short. “It must be so easy.” Well. I’m here to say that it’s not. Having short hair is high maintenance. At least it was for me.
Short hair required a trip to the salon every 4 – 6 weeks – if I didn’t, my hair was uncontrollable and sloppy. I used so much product that my hair needed to be washed every day. And do not even get me started on the agonizing process of growing it out.
Today my hair is as long as it was when I was 17. (I’m 38.) And I’m feeling some kind of way about it. I’m not ready for a pixie cut again – don’t think I ever will. I love my hair now. I love the texture and how it curls. I like the versatility long hair allows. And it’s easier. I can go days without washing my hair. I go months without going to the salon for a cut. As a working mom, I get busy and I forget and I don’t make the time for myself. And if I’m having a bad day, I can pull it back in a bun or ponytail.
On Monday I have an appointment at to get my hair cut. And I cannot wait. It’s been months since I’ve had one – my ends are dry, my layers of my Latina locks grown out and my curls are limp. I could use a new look and I’m open to anything. Anything except short hair.