How Marula Oil Helped Me Make Peace with My Hair 

  I’ve written many times about my hair battles and woes. For the last 10+ years, I’ve had more or less the same hair cut and have tried with varying degrees of success to keep it straight without making it flat. You see, my strands are fine and like to get kinda curly when left to their own devices. It’s easy to flatten them with too much product, while not enough product (or too much heat) creates a pouffy mess. Humidity leaves my hair both limp and frizzy. The fight for a good hair day is not easily won. 

I’ve spent some time cycling through several shampoos and hair serums, trying to find the right formula to make my hair do what I want it to. But every combination left me frustrated. My hair either felt heavy and greasy or looked dry and frizzy. Then one morning, desperate for a change, my eyes landed on a little vial of Marula Oil I had purchased on a whim several months ago at my hair salon. 

According to its website, Marula Oil contains antioxidants and oleic acids that hydrate, tame frizz and add shine, “completely transforming hair.” I’m generally weary of beauty oils – a little usually goes a very long way – so I dabbed 4 or 5 tiny drops into my palm before rubbing my hands together and then working the treatment through my damp hair. The oil had a very light, clean scent that reminded me of the salon. It wasn’t greasy and made my hair very easy to detangle. I flipped my hair upside down to blow it dry and hoped for the best. 

After drying and styling my hair, I instantly noticed how healthy it looked. It was shiny, frizz-free, and felt weightless. Most notably, though, it wasn’t as straight as I’d expected, but in a good way. My sometimes unruly curls had been transformed into soft, pretty waves. And I actually liked it. 

Not long after discovering this new-found appreciation for my natural texture, I concluded that my tried and true long-layers hairstyle was no longer doing it for me. I decided to jazz things up a little with some side bangs and a lot more layering. The result is a flattering cut and a mane that’s much easier to manage. The additional layers give my hair some body and let more of my natural curl show through. The oil keeps my strands sleek and soft, so that even when humidity makes my hair extra wavy, it still looks healthy and pretty and not like a hot frizzy mess. 

It feels good to make peace with my hair, especially after so many years of fighting with it. Who knew a few drops of oil could do so much?

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Happy Hair

It seems I’ve been writing about hair a lot lately, probably because with the changing of seasons comes a necessary change in hair care. Plus, I’ve been experimenting with new products a lot lately, and while some have been pleasantly surprising (I’m still loving Aussome Volume 2-in-1 shampoo), it really is hard to find a new hair product that really noticeably makes a difference in your hair.

So this week I must share a story about my mom’s hair. She, like most women, has an ongoing battle with her hair. The hair issues most of us face (frizz, flatness, unruly bits) is exacerbated in her case by the fact that she has very curly hair, hair that appears to become curlier by the day. On the plus side, she can pull of the cool slightly disheveled look with ease. On the negative side, sometimes she simply does not have any control over her mane.

Recently we were talking beauty (she indulges me by letting me tell her about my latest revelations and product picks and I try to help her solve her hair- and makeup-related problems) and she told me that her hair made her feel old. She said it felt dry, and she didn’t know how to fix it.  Now, we have different hair types, and I am no expert on outrageously curly hair, but I was not about to let my lovely mother go around feeling old and unhappy. So, after listing off several of the products I have given her to try over the years, only to be met with a resounding “it doesn’t work,” I remembered the shampoo and conditioner that was sitting in my shower, largely untouched.

I instructed her to try the duo, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration shampoo and conditioner. My sister had passed the bottles to me due to their coconut scent (which I love). I used the stuff a few times but found the conditioner to be too heavy for me, making my hair limp and flat. But it was VERY moisturizing, and I figured it was worth a shot.

Apparently she did too. A few days later we met for lunch. Mid-conversation I stopped, put down my sandwich, and looked at her hair.

“Your hair looks great today,” I told her.

She agreed, and told me she’d used the Hello Hydration a couple of times and that it was really starting to make a difference. I reached out and felt her hair – touchably soft! The duo had really moisturized, and relaxed her curls enough to make her hair look soft and pretty, not old or unruly.

Ah, happy hair.

Learning to Like My Hair

Looking back at old photos of myself throughout my younger years, there is one glaring flaw that kept me from looking as put together and pretty as I would have liked: I had bad hair. There were never any crazy styles or anything; my hair has, for the most part, been of medium length, and I spent the majority of my childhood with a bob, or whatever a bob becomes when it grows out a bit. In my teens I would occasionally go to my hair dresser with a picture of a pixie cut and instruct her to lop off all but a couple of inches, but I never had a hot pink Mohawk or crazy big hair or a bad perm or anything like that. 

No, the problem wasn’t the style, it was the lack of style that the previous paragraph clearly indicated. My hair was always just there, a separate entity, not a part of my overall outfit or look. I did practically nothing to take care of it. I’d get it cut every now and then. I washed it and combed it and let it dry. Eventually I cared so little about my hair that I would let pretty much anyone cut it. Friends who wanted to practice their hairdressing skills would snip and style it. I figured a free haircut was worth the risk of a bad haircut. What did I care?

Somewhere along the line I started caring. Tired of never being completely pulled together, I wandered into a Rite Aid one day and bought a bottle of John Frieda Daily Nourishment Leave-In Conditioning Spray. It was on sale and seemed about as low maintenance as a hair product could be. I went home, took a shower, sprayed some of the frizz fighting potion in my hair, and went about my day. Hours later, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my hair looked… good. What had formerly been a kinda wavy, slightly frizzy mop was a soft and shiny, still wavy, head of hair. I was hooked.

But fighting frizz was only part of the battle. You see, my hair is very dark, very thick, and very prone to a condition that I call triangle head, where, upon reaching a certain length, my hair ceases to increase in length and instead increases in width, giving my whole head a very triangular look. Suddenly giving a damn about my hair, I resolved to get a real hair cut and start getting them on a regular basis.

The cut I chose was not earth shattering, but it worked. A trim, some subtle  layers and a blow-dry later, and I was actually feeling pretty. My hair actually looked like it belonged on my head!

Since that day I’ve been getting my hair trimmed and restyled regularly, and I won’t leave the house without blow-drying my hair. It adds that bit of polish and style that my hair was definitely missing in my younger days. And I’ve graduated from the John Frieda spray to some fancier frizz fighters. Until about a week ago I was hooked on Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream, which protects hair from heat damage, keeps frizz at bay, and leaves hair nice and shiny. Lately I’ve been using Living Proof Styling Cream, part of the brand’s no frizz line. The new product  keeps my hair almost completely frizz free and also makes it incredibly soft, but it lacks the shine that the Glossing Cream provides. I still have bad hair days, but simply putting a little effort into my hairdo makes me feel a lot better about it, and sometimes I actually feel proud of it.

One night while out having drinks at my favorite bar, a girl I barely knew came up to me and said,

“Your hair always looks perfect. I hate you.”

I couldn’t help but smile.