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New Hair Day

Call me late to the party. Call me short-sighted. I have now opened my eyes and am ready to face some truths.

My realization started when we buried my father. It is still painful thinking back to that day and the preceding 2 months. He went in for his second knee replacement. Following a very successful surgery and first physical therapy session, he lost consciousness, never recovering and finally passing 72 days later, a month before his 76th birthday.

My father was regarded by most people as the “real” Santa Claus. His full belly, bushy natural beard and white hair hanging to his shoulders added to his demeanor to complete the picture in a lot of people’s minds as what constituted Santa and Dad embodied it all.

Following the burial, I got busy and though needing a trim, I just didn’t get my hair cut. As my hair gets a little longer, it gets a lot thicker and curls on the ends, despite my best efforts all my life to eradicate the curls. (Thanks, Dad). My 49th birthday came and went and still I didn’t get the needed trim. By this time we were in the throes of trying to sell our old house. I kept putting off a haircut until after the house sold.

As my hair continued to grow, the long hated curls came into full bloom, moving past the curly tips and a consistent wavy to my hair and developing into loose curls all over my head.

Getting dressed one morning, I was looking in the mirror and wondering what I could with my new-found “curly-ness” to make it behave. I did the only thing I could do on days like this, I washed it to get it to lay down and brushed it flat before heading to work.

Later, researching what I could do with my hair, I happened on references to a book called Curly Girl: The Handbook, having been recently updated. Intrigued by a chapter in this book for men with curls, I picked it up and gave it a quick read.

I was shocked to find out that I wasn’t as ecological as I thought I was. I, of course, knew about the sulfate poisons in laundry detergent and had not used them in years, but I didn’t think of the same things being in my shampoo. I was informed that Sulfates were as bad for people as they were for the environment and unnecessary.

The book opened my eyes and I found curls in my mirror to be cherished and celebrated, instead of being cut and “chemmed” out of existence. I am finding the courage to not fight my nature as a curly head.

I have tossed my sulfate ridden shampoo, actually going no-poo until I can find a curl friendly sulfate free shampoo, for those times I really need a good hair cleansing. The rest of my family had already gotten this message, it seems, as they had switched to Wen, dumping their shampoos over a year ago. Okay, I’m late to the party, but give me enough time, and I’ll figure it out.

I’ve said NO to Sulfates and YES to my natural curls.

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