Reclaiming

Ever since Sayre died I’ve felt at war with my body. Like it was a hostile force not doing anything it was supposed to. This only deepened after Aurora died. Then January approached and there I sat about to turn 28, not pregnant again, and Aurora’s birth day approaching on the 20th. So I decided to do the one thing I could have any control over: reclaim my body. I started Weight Watchers as previously mentioned, and I’ve already lost 15 pounds. I feel better and my face and body are already showing a difference. I then decided to do something about this hair.

No one tells you that after miscarriages you still go through the same postpartum joys such as hair loss, hormonal acne, awful mood swings, aching breasts (I had to wear compression bras for almost 4 months after Aurora because my milk ducts are determined), and a host of other things. I had just started to see regrowth after Sayre when I fell pregnant with Aurora, and then I lost her one month later and the postpartum hair loss began again. I’d run my hand through my hair and come away with clumps of hair. I thought for sure I was going bald because no one told me this was going to happen. Miscarriages aren’t considered real births by most people and you’re not considered a real mother so you’re not prepped for postpartum. I went back to work a week after my D&C with Sayre. One. Week. Imagine going through all of that on top of the emotional pain and trauma AND recovering from a surgery and being back at work. My office was upstairs so I was also climbing two flights of stairs multiple times a day. At one point, I got to the landing and started cramping and barely made it to the top. One of the other teachers saw me and knew that look from having a wife and multiple children, and he immediately came over and made me sit. The only person, other than my doula and second midwife, who ever treated me like a woman in postpartum state recovering. So, when my hair started falling out, I didn’t have the mental energy to do anything about it. I was in survival mode. Then I got pregnant again. Then miscarried again. Spent the summer repressing and pretending nothing was wrong.

During the months of repression, I’d noticed my hair had changed. It had started after Sayre when I noticed my normal shampoo and conditioner weren’t doing the job anymore. My hair was oilier at the roots but the ends were dryer and I always had frizz. I mean, it was awful. So a few months ago I stopped combing my hair. All it did was create a puff ball. But I was having the issue of my hair going straight. I’ve always had natural curl in the form of 2B waves (google the hair chart). But my hair was straight now. After going down a YouTube and google hole (we know I’m an obsessive researcher, whatever) I found the Curly Girl method. Basically it’s this:

Sulfate free shampoo

Clip your roots while drying

Air drying

Silicone free conditioner

Cleansing conditioner (cowash)

Gel (soooooo much gel)

And other silicone free products

Washing and conditioning upside down

NO combs or brushes

I’d already moved to silicone free conditioners years ago with Lush but their shampoos have sulfates in them. Sulfates are what make your shampoos and soaps lather and get that squeak after you wash your hair. I hate the squeak and always have because it meant my hair was about to be tangle city. I decided to treat myself to some new products (damn them for building an Ultra 20 minutes away…so much money spent) and see what happened. So I invested in Devacurl products since they’re the originators of the CG method. Here’s the list of what I got:

Low poo delight (for wavy hair)

Decadence delight (conditioner for wavies)

Light hold gel (for wavies)

Volume and frizz foam

Believe In curl plumper (like a leave in conditioner)

I also ordered Aunt Jackie’s No Shrink gel, it had a firmer hold that I’ll discuss in a minute.

With all of my products in tow, I hit the shower. I washed my hair with a cleansing sulfate shampoo (Neutrogena has a great one I love) to get the silicones out of my hair from the styling creams I’d been using. Only sulfates can break down silicones so you’ll have to do a cleansing wash before starting CG. I washed then I flipped my head over after getting my hair sopping wet, and conditioned my hair. I used a shallow palm full of the decadence delight and was nervous. Usually, conditioners made my hair super greasy if I used that much but I was determined to follow the steps and see if they worked. I gently ran it through my hair and then scrunched my hair to work it into it. This is called the “squish to condish” method and I can’t tell you enough how much I love it. I truly saw a difference in how my hair took product and my curls shaped up. I then clipped my hair on top of my head (something I’ve been doing for years) and let the conditioner sit for the remainder of my shower while I shaved and exfoliated. Then I flipped my hair back over and let the water wash gently over my hair, not scrubbing or anything, then squished my hair some more. It makes a fun noise and I’m always amused, I’m a child. I took a very small amount, about a chickpea sized, of conditioner and squished it into my hair as a leave in. Leave in conditioner has never worked for me, but I was following the steps. Finally, I turned off the water and, still upside down, took my hair T-shirt (I’ve dried my hair with an old cotton T-shirt for years, really cuts down on frizz) and did one scrunch to get excess water out. Then I turned to applying products (still upside down):

1. Believe In, quarter sized amount squished into my hair

2. Volume and frizz foam, one pump worked through and squished then a second pumped squished on to the ends

3. Light hold gel, a shallow palm full smoothed over hair then scrunched in

By this time I already had beautiful curls formed and drinking all this in. I was ecstatic! But the journey wasn’t over yet…now it was time for plopping. Plopping is a drying method to absorb excess water while not agitating curls. I’ve done it in the past and was meh on it. But it’s an essential CG step so I did it. Placed my hair in the plop (same T-shirt), tied it (google plopping tutorials on YouTube, that’s how I learned), and went about the rest of my routine for 20 minutes. When it was time to take the plop down, I was nervous. I flipped back upside down and untied the shirt. My hair was in beautiful loose ringlets. I wet my hands, took a generous amount of Aunt Jackie’s gel, and scrunched it into my hair. Gently flipped right side up and scrunched the ends, fixed my part, and made sure my cowlick would behave. Then I flipped my roots. The CG method says to clip the roots of your hair while air drying or diffusing to creat volume and get the hair to not dry flat to your head. I watched Real Life Curly Girl’s clipping video and did my best. Then I air dried and hoped for the best. My hair did dry crunchy and flat, that’s called the gel cast. You want that. It helps your curls become super defined and you scrunch it out after your hair is fully dry.

I scrunched out the crunch and omg. My hair is curly. My curls were back!!!!!!!! I’ve been wearing my hair like this for week and I’ve already received so many compliments from students and teachers! My husband thought I was using my curling wand and was shocked when I told him my hair grew out of my head like this. I tried the As I Am coconut cowash today so we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited to see how my hair reacts over time to the CG method. In the meantime, I highly recommend to anyone with waves or curls. Best hair days I’ve ever had!

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