Tuesday, February 22, 2011

in which I become a deva

I did something huge (for me, anyway) this weekend. I got a haircut. But not any haircut. A Deva cut. (Pic at the end!)

The Deva cut is the brainchild of Lorraine Massey, who is the curly girl's guru. She realized that since curly hair is not like regular hair, it shouldn't be cut the same way either. Every cut is different, and the stylist cuts your hair based on your curl pattern. Everything, from the products you use, to the way you dry it, is different than everything you've ever heard.

For a girl who normally goes to Supercuts and hacks her own bangs with sewing scissors when they get into her eyes, spending any significant amount of money on my hair is not a regular occurrence with me.

But my hair's been bugging me for quite a while now. I loved my haircut when I chopped about 8+ inches of it off a couple of years ago, but lately it's been just awful - flat on top, big on the ends, lifeless, and most of the time relegated to a ponytail. I hated the fact that still, if I wanted to go anywhere special, I had to wash my hair the day before and put it in french braids so that it would be dry and relatively calm for the occasion the next day. I wound up liking my hair about twice a month, maybe, if the stars were aligned and the moon was in the seventh house.

So one day I commented to one of our sitters that her hair always looked terrific - curly, not frizzy, just really pretty, and asked her what she did. "Oh!" she said. "I have a Deva cut." And then it all made sense. More than 2 years ago, another friend of mine had done the same at the big salon in Soho, and her "after" pics were just gorgeous. I knew all about Deva already! After much discussion, encouragement, hemming and hawing, and watching many many YouTube videos,  I was finally ready to take the plunge and do it too. I found a salon near my parents' that did the cut, and made an appointment.

Except instead of being excited, I found myself getting worried and nervous. I honestly couldn't sleep. I'm working on being able to do nice things for myself, and even though everyone I knew was giving me thumbs up, I was still freaking myself out about hair. Not to mention that this was going to be expensive. But you know, when you never get your hair cut, your budget allows for a little extravagance once in a while. And yes, I knew it was stupid to worry. But I worried anyway.

I really shouldn't have. It turned out to be a great experience, and one I will gladly repeat. Renee, the incredibly friendly stylist, cut my hair dry with the care of someone trimming a bonsai tree or a topiary. She would pull out a curl and let it go, watch how it snapped back, and then trim again. She answered all my questions, but mostly there was a comfortable silence. It was so incredibly low-pressure. I was worried my hair wasn't really curly and I had been fooling myself along. Not so! Even before they washed and conditioned it, I could see the curls bouncing up.

And this is one of the most surprising and gratifying things about the whole experience for me - everyone there complimented my hair. Not just people working there - people who were clients, or sitting under the dryer, or whatever - would look over from time to time and say, "you really have the most gorgeous hair!" I'm used to being annoyed with my hair, or wishing it would be shiny, or just look more like everyone else's. These were people who knew hair, telling me it was beautiful, not huge, or messy, or looking at me like I was a freak because I had so much of it. It was kind of like a celebration of my hair.

After it was dry, I was looking at a gorgeous mass of curls. My curls. I can still put my hair up (with masses of curls), pull it back in a headband (with masses of curls springing from it), or tuck cute barrettes into it. I still have the length, but it's like it's free from trying to be something it's not. It's not straight, it's not thin, and it's certainly not tame. I alternated between grinning at myself like an idiot in the mirror, and staring at my reflection wondering who the heck was this chick with the sophisticated hair?

Another reason I really wanted to do this cut was for Angela. She is my curly girl, and while Sophie has wavy hair and can practically sit on it, Angela's looks much more like mine. I hear her complain about it, and how it isn't straight or look like her sister's. "That's okay," I tell her. "It looks like mine!" And I'll make a special point out of using the products on her hair, or styling it with the clips while it dries, or doing something else to show her how we're sisters in curliness, and that it absolutely rocks.

Curly girls unite!

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