First-World Hair Woes, Written Dramatically

This is going to be a ridiculously vapid and shallow post.

Please brace yourselves.

I cannot reconcile this state and my hair. I have spent the better part of an hour each day we have been here doing battle with my hair, and almost every day I’ve given up and put it in a ponytail. And not a pretty ponytail, either. A half-wavy, half-straight frizzy ponytail.

When I was a child, and also when I was a grown up, I had stick-straight, unbelievably fine, extremely thin white-blond hair. My mother kept it cut very short because if it reached below my chin I started to look like the little match girl.

Less blue, though.

And then came the years of the Bearing of Children.

I had Sienna, and my feet shrunk a size (unrelated but odd detail). Then I had Charlotte, and my hair tripled in thickness. There was literally three times as much hair upon my head as there had been before Charlotte was born. Gone were the days when I could blow-dry my sopping wet hair in ten minutes flat. Upon me were the days when the drying of my hair became an epic thing, a black hole that absorbed all my time and caused no end of discontent between the Ogre and I. And the pain! Oh, the pain. Alas, the texture of my hair remained unchanged. Fine hair, in case you are not cursed with it, tangles extremely easily. And now I had three times as much hair, which meant three times as many tangles. I began to use three bottles of conditioner to every one I used of shampoo. I had to brush and de-snarl my hair constantly during the blow-drying period. I had to use hair products, for the first time in my life, because for the first time in my life I had hair that didn’t hang on either side of my face like limp, diaphanous curtains on a sweltering August day.

At the time, we lived in Las Vegas, so the increase in volume was not accompanied by an increase of frizz. Actually, frizz is something I had only understood as an abstract concept, something that happened to other people and that seemed bothersome, much like spider veins or dark arm hair. Something I needn’t concern myself with.

Shortly after Liam was born, I began to notice something a bit odd. My hair, when I didn’t blow-dry it, had a wave in it. Just one. One wave, in the back, nearly bisecting the back side of my skull. Basically, it looked like I had just taken my hair down from a brief stint in a ponytail holder.

It didn’t phase me because I only let my hair air-dry when I didn’t go out in public, which was basically always.

Then we moved back to Dallas. And humidity.

The wave began to elongate and multiply, so that if I air-dried my hair it had enough ripples to make 1/3 of my hair actually qualify as Wavy. Not the sides, though, nor the ends. They were still stick-straight. Just the back portion, between my ears, beginning at the roots and extending within four inches of the bottom of my hair. Which remained straight as a broomstick.

I don’t need to tell you how confused and slightly horrified I was. While it was an interesting phenomenon, considered abstractly, and while the waves themselves held some promise, it was actually happening to me, and it made me look like I had had a run-in with a bad home perm kit.

So I began to lather on the hair gel, dry my hair wet instead of letting it air-dry for a bit, and use the Chi, daily. It. Was. Exhausting.

Luckily the Chi did a pretty decent job. One or two quick passes would straighten out most of the unruly waves that remained post-blow-dryer. I also managed to compensate on time by figuring out how to apply daily make-up in seven and a half minutes.

Then we moved to Florida.

I don’t even understand what is happening to my hair now. It’s become someone else’s hair entirely, not my familiar old hair. And whoever replaced my hair with theirs neglected to give me the owner’s manual.

My hair, it frizzes. My hair, it waves and kinks. But not the front right side, and not the ends. Everywhere else, though. My hair, it will not straighten. No combination of straightening shampoos, conditioners and gels, no new and varied blow-drying and Chi-ing techniques will entirely smooth the odd kinks and random waves.

I. Do. Not. Know. What. To. Do.

I’ve tried to use “Tousled” shampoo and conditioner, followed by some sort of curl-enhancing, frizz-reducing gel, scrunch it, and air dry it. The back and left side look great. The front right side is still straight as a board. The ends are limp, lank and refuse to hold a single wave.

I’ve tried to use straightening shampoo, a hair mask/conditioner, and straightening gel. I’ve dried it nearly straight out of the shower, carefully smoothing each strand with a paddle brush before attacking it mercilessly with a Chi. And yet, the back ripples and will not stop.

Seriously, though, I don’t know what to do. I’m not good at up-dos. A ponytail, a Picasso-inspired bun, and Pocahontas braids are pretty much the extent of my repertoire. But I figured some of you would know. Some of you even live here in southern Florida! Some of you have probably been battling hair issues for years! Some of you  must know how to make stubbornly straight hair curl, or how to make stubbornly wavy hair straight. Please, share your wisdom?

Oh yeah, and yesterday I noticed that I have spider veins on my knees. I’m eagerly awaiting the appearance of dark arm hair on my arms so that Karma can be fulfilled. 

  • A’ine

    I have naturally curly hair, and it goes frizzy in humid weather, snowy/freezing rain weather (like I have today here in Ottawa), and just overall damp/odd weather. I have to use a product on it, or it's game over. My hair is also very very thick.That said, I do have one side that "behaves" and one side that doesn't…and my curl isn't consistent…I have pieces of hair that I have to have cut shorter, to make up for the fact that they are straighter than the other 99% and hang longer, so it looks like I have a bad haircut if my hairdresser doesn't do that.All this to say: I so, so SOOOOOO sympathize. I would recommend going to a hairdresser, and ask specifically for one that can work with problem/frizzy/wavy/however you want to describe it hair…you may find you have to get a new haircut, to accomodate where your hair is now (the hair equivalent of dressing for the body you have now, not for the one you want, or the one that was). If it's a new haircut/style, then you need to specify that it be easy to maintain and easy to style…a hairdresser worth their salt will teach you how to do it, and tell you what product(s) to use.For the frizz, you will have to get a a product…if you don't, you will have insta-afro (or some version thereof). It's worth spending extra money to get a decent hair product…those I've found you get what you pay for. Try and avoid products with alcohol in it: they will dry your hair, and make your scalp itch like I-don't-know-what. I think your first step will go to a good hairdresser…ask around and find out a good name. Good luck! :)

  • KT

    Hello, this is my new best "No Heat Curls" and it has saved my life, and my hair from the barrage of heat styling it takes to get the "ugly wave" out. I love this because you can blow dry a little or let it air dry, then put it up in the headband and let it set for however long. Take it out, tussle with your fingers gently and do a little spritz of hair spray. practice this has become my go to hair styling method. At first, it was if I was feeling too lazy to straighten and it worked as a good casual look, now I have gotten good enough that I did this for Christmas mass and loved it. Good luck.

  • Karen

    I'm glad i'm not the only mom whose hair went from stick straight to weird-wavy after having children. My second child has wavy hair, and after I had him, my hair went curly…on the underside. All the hair on top (I have longish hair) was straight, but the underside was crazy-curly. Then my third child, who had gorgeous blond curls as a baby, gave me even more waves. It got to the point where I could let it air dry and it would be, well, wavy! My hairdresser loved it. I couldn't reconcile myself and wavy hair, though, due to bad memories of my mom forcing permanent waves on me. So I straightened it with a flat iron every. damn. day. Then I got pregnant with my fourth, and he has straight baby hair, and my hair is going straight again. I also have fine hair, and a lot of it, and my only suggestion for the tangling is, comb it in the shower with a wide-tooth comb while rinsing. If you wrap it in a towel and then dry to detangle it, it's worse. beyond that, I would go to a hairdresser who does the hair of somebody you trust and adore, and ask for advice. I'm sure there's other transplants down there in Ave Maria, who had to adjust to the humidity.

  • TKDMom

    My hair is wavy in the front and straight in the back. It's really humid where I live too. I learned how to french braid it for the really bad days. I'm waiting to see if you get any helpful tips I can steal!

  • Mary

    your hair story sounds a lot like mine!!! I gave up. It just looks bad. Today when I left the house I put one of my husbands stocking caps on. Not kidding. :)

  • Anonymous

    I, too, live in Florida. Anywhere else, my hair is incredibly straight, but here, it curly on one side and wavy on the other. If i want to leave it down, I let it dry in curlers. If I dont want to bother with that, I usually tie half of it up in a pony tail, it makes the differences in my hair much more subtle. Braids and up-dos are also great. Try any of this woman's hair styles.;=relmfu They are actually pretty easy.Good luck! Welcome to the Sunshine State!

  • Kari Palmeri

    Hi Calah! Congratulations on your move! I'm so happy for you and your family! Of course I had to comment on this one :) I loved the "No Heat Curls" Suggestion and just spent 5 minutes watching the video. It's awesome when people can come up with ideas like that! I'm going to tell you something that will change your life, or at least your hair life. If you can, you must try the Express Blow Out by Coppala. It is an in- salon treatment that I charge about $100 for. It will not really straighten your hair but it controls the frizz and makes your dry time WAY faster and easier. Your hair will also stay straighter and less frizzy throughout the day. I do them all the time here in Vegas. I am sure they do this in Florida and if they don't then shame on them. It really is life changing :) I cant live without it in my hair. Good luck! Oh and I'm so happy to hear you're using a Chi!

  • Angela K

    I feel a little shallow that this is my first time commenting, but I completely empathize and I thought I might actually help here. I used Fructis' leave in conditioner when I was in Dallas and it worked great. And if it's humid and you're like me you also have a lovely sheen of shine on your face all day long and into the night. Bare Escentuals' mineral veil is amazingly helpful for shine. I don't know how it works, but it does. Also, I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for your honesty and candidness.

  • Jdel:

    my hair wouldnt straighten either when i moved to humidity-filled chicago. at first i absolutely hated it and thought it was awful. then i grew it out, got a good haircut with lots of layers put into it, and i rocked it natural and loved it…it was so full and wavy! it's what i suggest. no use trying to fight it with chemicals. put some john frieda 'beach wave spray' in it, scrunch it a bit and let it do its thing. but layers are key for thick hair. that way it doesnt look like a frizz mop. you will get used to it. also, you should post a pic of it.

  • Sara

    If you want to encourage your curl, I would recommend you visit They have forums with lots of product reviews and answers to many, many questions. I've always had the wavy spot down the middle of the back of my head, but now I can wear my hair wavy/curly every day. It takes a little bit of work, and you have to totally change the way you care for your hair, but once you figure it out, it is so easy! Good luck!