Friday, January 11, 2019

What a Difference a Wash Day Makes: Adventures in Curly Hair

Melinda Palacio

Dark curly hair is hard to photograph.

  After decades, I’ve finally come to accept my curly hair. My personal hair war began when I was a teenager and decided I no longer wanted long hair that was down to my elbows. Little did I know, until my grandmother cried for the lopping off of my hair, that my hair was something sacred that I shouldn’t have so easily discarded. 

Thirteen-year-old me allowed a woman who had a hairstyle I would never choose for myself cut my hair, a mullet (hair cut close and short to the face with long stringy strands hanging down the back). I should have felt the odd snips, the falling hair and the sheer pleasure she took in spinning me around, snipping here and there, nodding her head as if she were playing air guitar or singing her favorite Metallica song. 

It wasn’t until after I was mortified by having a hybrid mullet and after I had chopped off the rest of my hair into a short Peter Pan style that my grandmother told me the story of how she had prayed to the Virgin Mary for me to have hair more like my mother’s hair, instead of my father’s kinky hair that he sometimes wore in an impressive huge fro. 

I eventually grew out of the bad haircut, but my hair would never be the same. It grew out frizzy with some straight strands and some curly, overall I sported an unruly and untamed mane. I used to do dream about having smooth, straight hair like my mom’s. In the spirit of wanting to be more helpful, my mother once suggested ironing my hair. This was before the invention of the flat iron, a contraption much like a curling iron only it straightens your hair. Being somewhat low maintenance when it came to my appearance, I never tried a flat iron and only blow-dried my hair when I went to a salon (which after the disastrous chopping of my locks was infrequent). 

Fast forward to the present, I’ve embraced my curls and follow the curly girl method (yes, this is a thing), for washing and styling my hair. As much as I’ve tried to spend less time on social media, I’ve discovered a different platform for frittering away time, the world of YouTube where I’ve taken guitar and singing lessons all in bursts of short four-minute videos that can add up to a lifetime if not careful. I’ve also learned how to do things I thought I already knew how to do, such as wash and dry my hair. According to the curly girl method, washing your hair with conditioner or shampoo without parabens or sulfer and drying your hair with a t-shirt instead of a bath towel, can tame wild, frizzy curls. This method also works for people who don’t know they have curly hair, but whose locks hint at a wave.

Giving up shampoo at first seemed impossible before I noticed that there are several more products and shampoos that are marketed to people following the curly girl method than when I started last October. I’m glad I have finally accepted my wild, curly hair and hope that young girls coming of age can be proud of who they are and what they look like. 

NEXT WEEK Santa Barbara kicks off its annual Martin Luther King Celebration


P.O. Box 475, Santa Barbara, CA 93102;


Together We Stand”

Wednesday, Jan 16th - Sunday, Jan 25th; Noon - 4pm
Karpeles Manuscript Library and Museum, 21 West Anapamu St, SB Exhibit,
Including original handwritten speech of MLK Jr. “I have a dream” delivered at March on Washington, Aug 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial; other related manuscripts.

Thursday, January 17th, 12 Noon, UCSB Eternal Flame, Buchanan Courtyard
 “Walk With Us”;  1pm Program/Reception -Multicultural Center. Co-Sponsors: Center for Black Studies Research, EOP, MCC, MLKSB. 

Friday, January 18th; 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Congregation B’nai B’rith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Rd, 93111  Shabbat worship service.  All faiths communities welcome. Music with worship band, Red Sea Rhythm Rockers, and gospel choir, Unity Inspirational Ensemble.

Saturday, January 19, 2019, 5:30pm - 8pm
 The Impact Hub, 1117 State St. SB,  “An Evening of Poetry and Art” Co-sponsored: Pacifica Graduate Institute, Alumni Relations.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Santa Barbara faith organizations and churches will honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy.  Locations posted on website:
Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr. HOLIDAY - Monday, January 21, 2019

9:00 a.m. Morning Program, De La Guerra Plaza, Santa Barbara.
Speaker, music, dance, elected officials.
10 a.m. Unity March-De La Guerra Plaza, State Street to the Arlington Theater. Faith and Church congregations, community organizations, others encouraged to participate. 

9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m., David Gorospe Trio, Arlington Theater Foyer- 1317 State St., 
SB; jazz and popular music to welcome marchers.
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Arlington Theater Program, Gospel Concert: Coastal West Community Choir and Santa Barbara Community Choir, Essay and Poetry Awards.   

                                 All events are free       All are welcome 

1 comment:

Andrea Mauk said...

My hair is half curly and half straight, amd not in a convenient pattern. It has taken years to love it. I feel your past hair anguish.