Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Shirley Temple Curls

Q: I have naturally curled hair. When I was little it was like "Shirley Temple". When I was around 10-12 years old my parents cut off my hair. Ever since, the curls didn't grow back beautifully and were frizzy. So when I became 15, I went to the hairdresser to straighten my hair and did it every 1.5-2 months ever since. Now I'm 28 and I want my curls back. Is there a way to get the curls back from when I was little without cutting of all my hair? My hair is now shoulder length. Some advised me to have a permanent but others didn't, so therefore, I would appreciate to get your advice. I really hope you can help, because I'm forced to tie my hair in a ponytail because it curls anyway and is rather frizzy. When I want it straight I have to blow-dry it and that takes about 1.5 hours when I do it myself. All I want is to get out of bed, take a shower, dry my hair (with a towel) put some mousse (or whatever) in it and have it look good. Now, day after day, I have to put some {brand name deleted} in it so it shines a bit (since I have very dry hair) and tie it real good so it hasn't got a chance to curl (actually frizz). Do you know how come my hair re-grew frizzy when my parents cut all my hair? Is there a chance to get my "Shirley Temple curls" back? Hope you can help.
A: The first thing I'd like to do is address the issue of the change in your hair after the childhood haircut. There are all sorts of "old wives' tales" concerning the way to handle a child's hair. My own grandmother railed at my aunt because she had my 8-year-old niece's hair cut short, clipping off most of her silky curls. Her hair never looked the same again. It was always a beautiful, rich, chestnut brown, but she never again had the ringlet curls that she had before that cut.
My grandmother also had carefully monitored all of my nieces' hair up to that point and would selectively trim out any long, straight locks that began forming in my nieces' hair, because she believed it would make sure that their hair stayed curly into adulthood. As I grew older and began studying cosmetology, I learned what should have been obvious: as we grow and mature, so do our hair follicles. This means that the texture and wave pattern of our hair can and does change over time.
This seems pretty obvious to most of us if we think about it because we all know that if this were not the case many of us would still be walking around with little more than peach fuzz on our heads. For many of us, our hair changes from baby to toddler stage, from toddler to child, to teenager to adult, then may turn gray or become thinner as we age even more.
It's interesting to note that the haircut in question - yours - came at the same time that puberty would have begun. As with most haircuts given to children, the new hair growth will seem different because it is more mature. Given the rate of hair growth and the length of the hair cut off, you could see as much as a year's worth of aging in the hair that grows to replace it.
In your case, puberty can have a dramatic effect on the hair's growth patterns and wave patterns because of all the hormones being released into the body. The hair is meant to grow thicker and fuller, and often with a different wave pattern because of the changes in the hair's follicle shape as it matures.
As to the frizz that accompanied this new growth after the cut, you probably have puberty again to blame, along with possible mishandling of the hair given its new length. It may have been over-shampooed, under-conditioned (since it was likely easier to comb or brush at the shorter length).
Given your repeated statement about the hair being dry and frizzy I would tend to think the latter was the bigger problem. When you began to have the hair straightened you more likely compounded the problem since straightening processes are prone to causing the hair to be dry and (therefore to frizz).
My initial advice is for you to begin a regimen of deep-conditioning for your hair at least once a week. I recommend you use a moisture-rich cream conditioner (there are a variety newly available from all the most popular makers). This should be applied to damp hair, covered with a plastic cap and heated with warm towels or a hair-dryer for 20 minutes. Then rinse the deep-conditioner with cool water.
Furthermore, I advise you to begin conditioning your hair every day, even if you don't shampoo. You can either use a rinse-through conditioner at night and wear your hair turbaned in a towel for a while to allow it to dry as much as possible, or you can use a spray-on, leave-in conditioner before you style the hair, and again at night before bed. After applying the leave-in conditioner, carefully comb it through the hair to distribute it using a large-tooth comb.
If you want to return your hair to a look similar to your "Shirley Temple" days, you may be able to get a perm to emulate the curly look you seek. It depends, however, on the process used to straighten your hair. If the hair was straightened using thio straightener, you will have no problem, if a hydroxide-based "relaxer" was used, you cannot do anything but cut the hair off and wait for virgin hair to regrow. (Trying to perm hydroxide-straightened hair will destroy the hair completely.)
You will need to see a professional for this service, and preferably the same stylist who performed the straightening processes, since he/she will know best what products were used.
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Teenagers and hair problems
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