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Friday, August 1, 2014

Four Things That Happened When I Stopped Caring About Getting My Hair Wet


You know how some women get really upset when you touch their hair? That's not me. I think a pretty good indication of the beauty and health of your hair is how "touchable" it appears. I've always believed it's the ultimate compliment when your hair is so attractive that it generates a reflex to reach out and touch it.

Note: That doesn't mean that I particularly enjoy complete strangers touching my hair (although this has never happened) or that I enjoy when people approach my hair with a curiosity that makes me feel inhuman (this has happened sparingly). 

So for years, in my quest to create hair that made it difficult for any one to resist touching it, I visited the lovely Amanda of Bang Salon (if you're in DC - get you some!) every two weeks faithfully. The result was touchable, soft hair that earned approving nods from strangers and friends alike. The other result is that I (really my hair) became downright allergic to water. In my opinion, if I wasn't formally washing it, my hair had no business getting wet.

And then... one day a few years ago, me and a few coworkers were rewarded with tickets to a Nationals game. It was gorgeous out, the boss was buying Five Guys, and I was having a more favorable hair day than usual. Everything was swell. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a la Miami, the DC sky turned cloudy and in an instant, there was a downpour. We were all soaked completely through and sprinted to the car, dodging puddles, our hair curling and tightening as we finally made it to the car. My friend and I sat there for a few moments, breathing heavily, shivering a bit in the cold, looking down at our drenched clothes, and then we looked at each other... and burst into laughter so intense we hiccupped. I pulled my hair into a messy bun, and after the rain magically disappeared, we headed back to the office with the windows down, hoping to air dry. And you know what happened? Nothing detrimental. The world didn't come crashing down. My hair just wasn't perfectly coiffed, which if I'm being 100% transparent, usually didn't look perfect anyway... which brings me to my list.

What really happens when you stop caring about getting your hair wet?
1. I found out what my hair really looks like. Even though my hair isn't chemically straightened, I almost always pressed it immediately after washing it, and didn't really take the time to explore too many natural styles. It turns out... it's actually pretty cool!



2. I got healthier. For years, I only sparingly participated in activities that would "sweat my hair out." This long list included swimming, running, hiking, weightlifting, biking... basically moving. That's just silly. Also, thanks to a great date idea sponsored by Groupon, I tried bikram yoga a few years ago and I am now addicted. For those of you who don't know, bikram is a 90 minute session of yoga in a room set to 105 degrees... with a humidifier. In short, the moment you walk in, you're sweating. Since I've let go of this obsession with keeping my hair dry, I've become an avid hiker and (bikram) yogi.

3. I saved more money. When you know that there's a possibility your hair might get wet, you're not as willing to spend significant amounts every two weeks on something that could all go down the drain with one bikram session or spontaneous water gun fight.

4. I had so. Much. More. Fun. As some of you may have already noticed reading this, the restrictions you place on your life to protect your dry hair are pretty well... restricting. The other day I invited a friend to a party at a lounge and the first question she asked me was "What's the temperature like? Is my hair gonna sweat out? I just got it done." And my reflex (in my head) was "Really??" It'd been so long since that was a concern of mine, I couldn't even fathom deciding on whether or not to go to a party because of a "sweat out" concern.

If I was worried about my hair, I never would have been able to do this [video]:

I realize that proper care of hair --particularly kinky hair like mine-- requires moisturization and such. I also realize that we only get the chance to live life once. I prefer to spend it jumping cliffs. :)

So what are you thinking? Do you protect your hair from water religiously? Do you schedule your activities around hair appointments? Do you think it's ridiculous that I ever cared? Do you think it's ridiculous to participate in 105 degree yoga?

Share your thoughts!