After eight years of dipping in and out, I’ve finally vowed to bin my addiction. To my straighteners that is. We have a love/hate relationship you see. I’ve set myself the formidable task of kicking my addiction to the curb and locking away my flat irons to gather dust on the shelf for six whole months. It’s going to be a challenge but I’m hoping to reap the benefits in the long run rather than getting the quick fix which I usually crave.
On my fourteenth birthday and after much begging, my mum finally bought me my first pair of straighteners and it was love at first sight. I used them religiously every day, learning how to tame my curls (which at that age I found a nuisance and ugly) and I was thrilled that I’d finally found a way to have the same hair styles as my friends. I went to a school where there was very little cultural diversity; very few girls had the same textured hair as me, and the other mixed raced girls who did always straightened their hair. My dad however, had his reservations and would nag me to keep my hair natural, to stop using straighteners and refused to let me relax my hair (which today I am thankful for), but I was fed up of people touching my hair and exclaiming “wow it’s so wild”.
As time went on the condition of my hair remained healthy despite the heat I used religiously; I put it down to the exasperating time, money and effort my parents put into moisturising, combing and conditioning my hair throughout my childhood. I rarely let my hair be in its natural form unless I was confined to the security of my home on wash day, yet as soon as my hair was dry and the heat protector was spritzed, the straighteners would be back out smoking and running up the electricity.
Despite having to tame my frizz from escaping and springing throughout the day, I was in love with my trusty straighteners and nothing could break us. They saw me through my early university years and never let me down. My addiction grew stronger and I started to realise that after prolonged use the front of my hair became naturally straight, only curling at the roots. This set off a pang of guilt inside me, but not enough to knock my addiction on the head.
However, as time went on and I approached my early twenties I used my straighteners a little less. This was only down to how monotonous and time consuming the pain staking task had become and not down to how the condition of my hair was deteriorating. I easily grew bored of my hair; I would chop and change the style and experimented with my curls from cutting it into a short straight shoulder length bob, to using extensions to increase the length. I went onto dying it into a deep shade of brown and using silver shampoo to lighten my hair in the sun. This final act of hair torture was the straw that broke the camel’s back; after returning from a long period overseas being baked in the scorching sun and salty seawater dipping’s, my hair was broken.
In early 2014, my hair was a considerable length but I knew in my heart of hearts that the ends of my hair were dead and they had to go. No amount of oil or moisture would combat this and I still continued to occasionally straighten my hair (which had been limited to special occasions), and I grew envious of how good condition my hair used to be. After years of abuse, I knew I had to do something about it.
After a lengthy amount of time sat in the hairdresser’s chair, the dead ends were gone and the condition of my hair seemed to have improved. On my way out of the door my hairdresser pressed a serious note to me about the condition of my hair and made a subtle suggestion to leave the straighteners alone for a while. I knew that my on and off relationship with my flat irons would have to come to an end right now if I wanted to keep what remained of my thick head of hair.
I know that the road to recovery will be long and tough but I’ve ordered myself a good supply of products to keep me going through my curly haired summer / autumn and I’m going cold turkey. I can feel many-a-tantrum and strops with my curls coming along, but I vowed myself to stay strong on the straight and narrow path, I’m feeling determined and refuse to relapse.
(Foreword, if anybody does catch sight of me with even a slither of straight hair from June to November, I do give you permission to punch me in the arm.)