The Plot Thickens

March 5, 2013

And guess what? This is another story about hair, so, that pun is really, really intentional.

Have I always loved my hair? No. Am I constantly in search for the perfect product? Well, duh.

I have envied many people in my life and it’s quite unfortunately most often been based on the merit of good hair. How is it possible that my best friend in middle school could have gotten out of the shower every morning and just…came to school? I’d seen it with my own eyes: she’d get to school with wet-hair but by the time second period rolled around, it was dry, straight, shiny, and looking effectively perfect.

What about the products and the blow-dryer and the hair-iron?

I think if anyone has been able to ruin my mother’s life in any profound capacity, it has been me. Why? Because of my hair. If I had a dime for every morning we spent wetting my hair, gelling it back, combing it strategically, and tightly pulling it to create the illusion of straight locks in spite of its natural, frizzy, rather huge demeanor, I’d buy all of you drinks.

By the time I was in high school, I’d almost accepted the fact that I’d probably always hate my hair. My mom didn’t want me to think that the way in which I felt was wholly based on whether or not I loved my hair (“it’s from within,” she would tell me, “if you love you, everyone else will”), but the sporadic professional blow-dry I would indulge in made me feel like a considerably better version of who I already was. She couldn’t fool me, I had to love my hair but how the hell would I do that when I looked like a fucking poodle? And then I heard about semi-permanent hair straightening processes.

The subsequent four years found stick straight locks of hair that all too keenly resembled loose leaf sheets of paper cascading from my skull. My mom scoffed at the sight frequently, I thought I looked fantastic. For the sake of this story, I tried to find photographic proof so that we could share a laugh together but it occurred to me that I’d recently destroyed the evidence–just imagine, though, that it looked a little like the below. Only my face was rounder and I had braces. I also wasn’t cloaked in Sacai leather and plaid.

sacai-rtw-fw2013-details-053_143551494410

Every six months until I was a freshman in college, I would go to one particular hair salon located just four blocks from my home and sit there for three hours while a specialist wore a mask over his nose and mouth and dumped formaldehyde into my scalp. I think it must have been around the time I started college that my Jewish neuroses began to kick in and I was almost certain that everything I’d been doing the last eighteen years of my life had been giving me cancer.

The first ritual I cut to prevent terminal illness was the hair straightening.

Once I’d graduated from the bi-annual process, I was forced to rely on a hair-iron. When I got too lazy for that and began to grow hungry for something rather foreign: big hair, I let my locks run free. But the combination of post-Brazilian Kertain Treatment damage plus frequent hot metal to hair had ruined what I could now retrospectively recognize as only my thick, wavy–often kinky–really nice, natural hair.

There’s another brand of woman I have always envied: she who not necessarily has great hair, but works in, you know, the hair industry. She tests products on herself and then reports back because it’s her job–flocculent journalism, I like it to call it.

When I learned about AG Hair‘s keratin restoration shampoo and conditioner, I was reluctant to try it. (There have been few hair products that haven’t let me down.) The bottle told me that AG Keratin Repair would “fortify,” “reverse,” and “repair” damaged hair like mine. I was beginning to think the frizz was no longer even combat-able. Would my hair get flat again? I didn’t want that. Could I substitute post-shower creams?

Picture 1For the sake of social experimentation and nipping this particular, rather silly brand of envy in the bud, I gave it a try–I would use the keratin restoration shampoo and conditioner for exactly six weeks and appraise the effects on my hair. The products made me feel like I was in the final month of a keratin straightening treatment.

My hair is soft and it bounces (which it never did before) but it’s still wavy and rather thick–maintaining the body and health I want. Using the treatment didn’t change my natural hair, it just gave me the best version of it. And though it gets oily quite fast, that actually bodes in my favor considering the current fashion climate where dirty is cool and clean is, well, kind of snobby.

bottega-veneta-rtw-fw2013-detail-12_083330557892Recently, I was looking through the runway images from Bottega Venetta’s Milan Fall/Winter 2013 show when I noticed my interest focused on the way in which the models wore their hair. It was big and poufy and they looked phenomenal. To think, here I had spent the first half of my life trying ceaselessly to maintain something I didn’t have: straight hair, killing it by way of proverbial fryer. And now, I wanted it natural, huge, healthy, me. I reminded my mom of the torture that my hair and I subjected her to.

“Can you believe I now prefer my hair big?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she told me. “You’ve grown up, and it takes a woman understand the beauty of full hair.”

Oh.

Runway images via Vogue. Part 1 of 1 in a collaborative series with AG Hair.

  • Rebecca

    Don’t you hate it when mother’s are right? =)

  • sialsiquiero

    We must learn that mothers are always right

    Sí al sí quiero

  • Molly

    I look back on the hours I used to spend straightening my hair in high school with utter confusion and pity. The naps I could have been taking with that time! Now that I’ve accepted my natural curly ‘do, my straight-haired friends are the ones jealous of how quickly I move from the shower to ready-to-go.

  • Iliyana Licheva
  • http://twitter.com/misshoax bianca

    fine, curly, frizzy, never-to-be brushed hair.

    that’s my lot in life. between the ages of 19 to 26, it was blow-dried straight in the colder months, and worn up in the split-pea soup that is a summer in toronto. then, at 26 i gave up. i was too tired, and too busy for the constant battle that was my eastern-european-jewish hair. it’s been huge and curly ever since. i still don’t brush it though.

    my curly-haired daughter will get some wisdom from her mother.

    (http://aweebitskint.com)

  • wen

    I have hair like your best friend from middle school. The prob? I’ve spent a lifetime trying to achieve full, wavy, carefree hair like yours :)

    • Sigrun

      Haha, exactly the same thing here. I want curls, waves and full hair. Mine is just straight and shiny! :)

    • http://lostinglamland.wordpress.com/ christine

      Sames…I love that I don’t have to do much to my hair, but I’ve always longed for full, wavy locks!

  • Carmen Weaire-Gil

    I want volume!

  • Malibu PR Gal

    The question for me is, how does it react to baby fine hair? I couldn’t deal with the daily maintenance of hair extensions so I am back to short, edgy rock n roll layers for fullness. However, I am still in search of length and in constant need of the miracle fullness product. Is this AG product “it” ( I hope )?!

  • Michelle

    I love your hair!

  • monkeyshines

    beautiful hairstyle!

    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/MsDenbi Denisse

    Same thing happened to me when I was younger. And I had a friend just like that too! I wanted my hair straight like all the “cool” girls and I’ll admit to also making my mom cry because of my little obsession. But your mom is right, it takes growing up to realize the importance of your own hair. Now I just braid it at night and wake up to some waves!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lusafdie Luciana Safdie

    I think this is a lesson well learned: Jewish mothers are never wrong, and we are fools for ignoring their advice, but we’ll soon realise it. (At least that’s what mine keeps saying…)

  • smenkes

    how much are you getting paid for this collabo?

    • http://twitter.com/IntoTheFoldBlog Camilla Ackley

      Oh Suzy, you joker you

    • Will Code For Clothes

      Even if AG did reach out to her, she wouldn’t report about it unless she did like it. If hundreds of brands contact you, you have a lot of scouring to do to find the ones that you like the most. A manrepeller’s gotta eat — men like skinny girls!

      http://willcodeforclothes.com

  • Jennifer

    I actually think your hair is really cute, but I used to have problems with my hair too when I was younger. I have learned to love it as well!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  • http://www.mybougeotte.com/ Victoria | Bougeotte

    I have straight hair, and have always wanted it curly and with volume, whilst my friends with frizzy and big hair wanted my hair. It got so annoying, especially when I started trying voluminizing sprays and nothing worked – my hair, apart from being straight, is very thick, and all you can do with it is plait or or try ponytails (15 minutes after curling it it’s straight again, and I’m not even going to comment on straighteners, they don’t do anything). It got quite annoying. Until I realised that I’m pretty blessed having a full head of thick and shiny hair (a lot like your best friend from high school). And now that I’m embracing it, I feel a whole lot better. I mean I get out of the shower, brush it, blow dry it in 10 minutes and done!

    http://www.mybougeotte.com

  • Camilla Ackley

    Honestly, I have the exact opposite problem. My hair is about as leightweight and thin as a sheet of paper thinly sliced. The only reason I put up with it and don’t just wear extensions or a wig or a rasta hat everyday is because It’s blonde and that’s kinda a saving grace because it makes it so you can’t really tell how thin it is. My friends call it angel hair, but honestly devil hair would be so much more accurate.

    Anyway, I think hating ones hair is intrinsic to adolescence.

    xo Camilla

    Into The Fold

  • http://www.injackiesshoes.com/ Alexandra

    I love this story so much!!! Especially your mom’s advice (I hope I can give such good advice to my daughter), but also your neuroses and the happy ending. You have such amazing confidence, it’s nice to see it was a process, so to speak. And, though I still fight my natural hair in every way, I, too have decided to forego Keratin treatments. They are just rough on the hair (much less their unintended consequences for the rest of the body). Rock on with your fab locks!

  • http://www.farandwildjewelry.blogspot.com/ abigail lind

    you haven’t lived until you’ve gone no poo .

    abigail

    http://www.farandwildjewelry.blogspot.com

  • Kate Barnett

    first step for me was japanese straightening at 16, which absolutely destroyed my hair. the strands would stretch like rubber bands but never bounce back. it was confusing and gross. the best BKT i ever had was in buenos aires… granted half my scalp peeled off over the next week, and I’m positive it was carcinogenic, but my hair was fab. i get BKT in the states every six months or so, but i’m getting disillusioned, and I’m wholly dependent on lifebooker loot to actually afford the process. So i might actually, finally, maybe be coming around to nourishing and working with my natural frizz and waves instead of killing my locks.

  • Nchanel

    you don’t have hair problems until you have natural hair problems… well, at least not really BIG hair problems. :)

    http://chanelwears.com

  • mom

    You HAVE grown up and I am so proud of you! You will, however, be always my baby and I am hear to give you advice whenever you need it! MOM

    • Kate Barnett

      Is this actually Momma Medine?!

    • Leandra Medine

      MOMMY!!!!!! I freakin’ love your guts.

  • Jamie

    ‘The bigger the hair, the closer to God’ Or something like that, right? I love the pic of the ‘big and poufy’ hair, its such a fun look!

    xo,

    Jamie

    http://inspirationlush.com/

  • Lizzy

    I have thick, curly Jewish hair which I hated to death. I longed for stick straight, Asian glossy locks until I was about 30 and realised that I looked BETTER with big, curly hair rather than lank, flat-ironed curtains around my face. My 12 year old daughter has my hair and basically sleeps with her flat-iron. I wish I could convince her that she is beautiful in her natural state, but I think that’s a lesson she’ll learn on her own. Because obviously, I’m her mother and anything I tell her is wrong :).

  • Eva

    Great story! I always hated my hair until a few years ago. Does it curl? YES. Does it go it’s own way? YES! Do I look like a poodle when it rains? YES! But at the end of the day it fits me and it’s okay! It is me ;) xx

    http://www.creativityandchocolate.blogspot.com

  • helen puistaja

    The usual, I always had strait hair and as a child did not understand why the hell can’t I have locks … still a bit cranky about that in my teens. So at about 22 I got dreadlocks. The closest thing to locks I could get. Now I’m sporting a half dread half normal hair and am at least perfectly happy with my hair :)

  • http://vickiarcher.com/ Vicki Archer

    We always want what we haven’t got at some point!…I loved the look at Bottega too, those waves look fabulous, and oh so glamorous!…xv

    http://vickiarcher.com

  • smenkes

    I won’t even deign to respond to that last part- whcih crammed fat-shaming and female objectification into a single, nonsensical phrase. I just think that like other blogs and news sites have done, the MR should be more upfront about the fact that this is a sponsored post and not just a spontaneous endorsement of a product she tried and liked. What’s even worse is its awkward placement in a rather personal anecdote.

    • Alain

      Print publications are guilty of exactly the same thing. Scan the market pages of any big fashion glossy and you will see it full of recommendations for products and brands who have paid heavily for Ads at the front of book or OBC. There is nothing wrong with this, especially when the brands featured and who advertise are in line with the editorial standards of the mag or blog. There is nothing wrong with this – how else can quality blogs and print publications stay alive.

    • http://twitter.com/alainaelise Alaina

      She said right at the bottom that it is a collaboration with AG Hair, aka a sponsored post. I don’t think she could be more upfront about it.

  • Rachel Perlmutter

    I used to have this problem with my hair. I’m not sure if it is that I grew into appreciating fuller hair, or that I’ve become more product savvy – or both, but I’m so happy to see fuller hair on the runways. It’s inspiration for girls like us with er, fluffier manes.

  • Sara

    I have big morroccan curly dark brown hair that needs A LOT of attention!! But what really surprises people is the fact that my younger sister (from the same parents, just saying..) has lighter brown… straight hair..! Despite the fact that I sometimes want to trade hair with my sister (does that even make sense??), I love my hair and try my best to let it be!!

  • http://twitter.com/LocalAndOpulent Lesley O.

    I need VOLUME!

    A new post, Designer shoes at Aldo prices is up on Local & Opulent.

    http://localandopulent.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/aldo-rise-aw-2013/

  • Tamar Ariana

    I LOVE this article! I did my first (and last?) Keratin treatment in December 2011 (now over a year ago!) and it has not yet come out. I want my curly hair back and it seems the only way to do that is to grow it out – the treatment is just not coming out! I’m at that confidence-shattering stage in hair growth where literally the first half of my hair is crimpy and curly and the ends are perfectly straight. This is much more of a struggle than the curly hair I was born with – what a way to learn to love your hair!

  • Marina Casapu

    As a teenager I taught myself to sleep motionless, so my hair could be flat and straight in the morning. Now I want volume….

  • http://www.facebook.com/paula.mcclelland1984 Paula McClelland

    HA! Reading your blog and your hair trials actually inspired me to go more natural – my hair straighteners were due for an upgrade – so for awhile there I was just spraying sea salt spray in it when wet and letting nature takes its course – and it was great! I have however since purchased some GHD’s and am slipping back to old habbits. Still, I haven’t forgotten what I learned – and that is: It’s much easier to work with what you’ve got than to beat yourself up for what you may never get! #knowledge_bomb

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.
    http://shoe-fiend.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Saakshi Kaushik

    I don’t know what part of me was under the illusion that I was the only kid experiencing this: frizzy, poofy, big, wavey (definitely not in the beach babe way), kinky, voluminous hair which, at the time, I wanted to shave off. Now, post ombre, post excessive use of straightening iron, I now realise that, usually, if you’re born with it – that may be how it is meant to be. Another great post my love!!

    Your love, voguishsoul.

  • debbywarner

    Why are we never happy with the hair we have?

    • Sarah

      Because we look to fashion shows every 4 months to tell us what to admire.

  • http://www.anorexicescapades.com/ BougieHippie

    The comment section has turned into the best part of these posts.

  • Ash

    AH! I have big thick hair, too. I live in a really rainy area so my hair usually looks like hell by the end of the day, but it’s so great during the summer! When I’m done with school I will move somewhere dry solely because of my hair.

  • disqus_UxGvUrZB0z

    Speaking as an Armenian woman I have spent my entire life battling lots and lots of hair. Removing hair, straightening hair, dyeing hair. Now that I am a little older I have gone right back down to my roots. Full wavy hair and mega-thick eyebrows (minus the uni-brow) and I have never been more content with my appearance. You always go back!

    • http://twitter.com/nouchaline Aline Chirinian

      Me too :)

  • tranbta

    I too walk out of the house with wet hair. I just wish I had the patience to blow dry to create volume. Ah well. http://teawithtran.tumblr.com

  • Anna

    great hair style!

    szkoły

  • Penny

    Hey my name is penny dweck
    Your blog is so cool
    I love this post my hair is straight
    I always wanted it to be big and curly haha

  • http://twitter.com/Illuminata8 Illuminata8

    Many, many memories of my aunt straightening my hair in her kitchen with the big plastic pink comb that came in the box of Curl Free *NYC circa ’78-I’ve come to terms with the massive volume of my Puerto Rican huge metal hair-and on uncontrollable Amazonian record breaking humidity days, there’s always the messy bun-my standby of the last year! Curly tops unite!! Big hair is beautiful, your wise mom is a queen, which I am positive she’s always known-muuuuah to you both!! You inspire me!! Thanks lady!!

  • Natalie

    Oh my lord I can completely relate! In 6th grade I finally decided nothing was ever going to make my hair look like Stephie’s shoulder-length, silky straight, strawberry blonde locks… So I proceeded to wear my hair in a ponytail the entire year. Then I chopped it all off (SUCH A BAD DECISION) and it wasn’t until my senior year of high school, when it reached maximum length once more, that I realized my hair was never as bad as I had perceived it to be. I have long, wavy, super thick dark hair. I now see how lucky I am that it’s so low maintenance – I use bumble and bumble products and wash it every other day, and I can just brush it out and wear a headband (exactly what my mother was trying to tell me to do when I was a young’n). We celebrated when my days of crying at the dinner table about how ugly my big hair is were over… But alas… The baby sister with the curly-q, milk chocolate colored stands of (perfect) hair, is struggling to see how beautiful it is because she hasn’t learned how to maintain it and, duh, kids are cruel and make you conform. Would you happen to know any tips or products to use with curly hair? Or any celebs she can look to for inspiration? :)

  • mulberry&melrose

    omg i love this article! i wrote one in a similar vein but I was reviewing and was really happy w/ moroccan oil. i’ve realized that you can’t keep fighting it and it’s better to just embrace your natural hair. btw i love your hair! :)

  • Rach xo

    haha i feel like that is every girls struggle. to one day just embrace her hair the way it is. minus the hot styling products. that said…im still struggling to love mine but have put down the daily hot tools.

    http://www.designerdreaming.blogspot.com

  • http://sriaria.blogspot.com/ A. A. Medina

    I’ve found that shampoos and conditioners thin my coarse, curly hair. Have you ever tried rinsing your hair with salt water? Living within 5 miles of the coast my entire life, I’ve come to learn that ocean water is an unparalleled hair treatment.

    • Leandra Medine

      Really? I have found that the ocean totally F’s with my hair

      • http://sriaria.blogspot.com/ A. A. Medina

        All are different, I guess. But yes– it makes the curls/waves more defined and dissolves the excess oil. Worth a try again, perhaps?

    • Shawnee

      Each time I vacation in FL, I go on and on to everyone around me how much I love my salt-watered-and-sun-dried hair. The best. B&B’s Surf Spray is fantastic for *almost* recreating just that.

  • abbigliamento donna

    Dressing stylish is very attractive. Interesting blog.

    abbigliamento donna

  • http://chezsasha.com/ Sasha

    Well, moms know everything. Duh

  • Jon

    I know this post is about hair but…. that leather shirt! So good! Perfect color, and the way the collar is constructed in so lush and tactile. So much better than if it was really angular and flat.
    http://jonatparsons.wordpress.com

  • Shawnee

    I love this post! I have crazy, naturally wavy hair. All of my middle/high school years I would straighten the heck out of my hair. Rain was my worst enemy–my curls came out to haunt. Not until my senior year did I start to appreciate the natural wave.. it probably had to do with not wanting to wake up in the morning. Now, being a college student, I feel so lucky that I can shower at night then wake up and go. And in the summer! Wet hair is no big deal. Au naturale haired women, unite. Yes—I think it took growing up and becoming comfortable with myself to truly appreciate my hair.

  • http://ravenmaidenmaven.blogspot.com/ Lydia Teo

    So true…used to hate my hair when I was 13 or 14 and had my hair straightened…but now I freaking love my hair! It looks like its permed and when I tell people its natural they get so shocked…I feel so blessed with my hair. No matter what kind of hair you have, embrace it!

    ravenmaidenmaven.blogspot.com

  • Nikki

    Big hair is the shit!

  • Kris

    I LOVE my curls. But, when I was little all I wanted was straight hair. My mixed girl curls always seemed like so much work. I’m really happy I got over that desire as I got older and now embrace my gorgeous curls. I think you really do look better with the hair you were born with anyways.

  • alexarae6

    As a jewish girl with an afro as a head of hair I cant TOTALLLLY understand where you are coming from. I am in the, “if my hair is not perfectly straight” fase of my life and its getting rough to keep up with. While studying in abroad in prague, the volume of my hair is reaching a level of Monica Geller in the bahamas. It’s nice to know that someone else has used the term, “poodle” to describe their hair!

  • alexarae6

    As a jewish girl with an afro that I call a head of hair I TOTALLLY understand what you mean. I am at the, “I can’t leave my room without stick straight hair” fase and it is getting tiring. While studying abroad in prague this semester my hair is not cooperating like it should and is getting may-jorly rough to keep up with. It (my hair) has a mind of its own, and daily is reaching Monica Geller in the bahamas volume. It is comforting to have someone else refer to their hair as a, “poodle.” Our moms can sympathize with each other over our envy of the girl that has naturally straight shiny hair.

  • alexarae6

    As a jewish girl with an afro that I call a head of hair I TOTALLLY understand what you mean. I am at the, “I can’t leave my room without stick straight hair” fase and it is getting tiring. While studying abroad in prague this semester my hair is not cooperating like it should and is getting may-jorly rough to keep up with. It (my hair) has a mind of its own, and daily is reaching Monica Geller in the bahamas volume. It is comforting to have someone else refer to their hair as a, “poodle.” Our moms can sympathize with each other over our envy of the girl that has naturally straight shiny hair.

  • Hilary Hall

    Some of the best advice I’ve heard in a while has come from your parents mouths and landed on this blog, thank you for sharing from one meshugatz to another. I take back what I said about cutting your hair (a few weeks ago!), you’ve got balls .. Swarovski encrusted ones, with fangs layered on top

  • Valerie

    I don’t understand…in all your pictures your hair is straightened, and in other colaborations for products for straight hair you say you want it straight and now that its a different collaboration you like it big? But youve never kept it big for photos?

  • Ana

    Same thing hapenned to me. I got a terrible haircut as a teenager (crazy bangs that went all around my head like a crown) and after it grew back (ponytail everyday til then…) i discovered i could leave it to dry by itself and it looked great, big and curly. As i have grown older my hair turned from curly to wavy but i love it just the way it is. The big secret i guess is in the haircut, that has to be very different from the straight haircut.