From the time I was an infant, I always had very straight hair, and like many girls with straight locks, I always longed for waves. My desire for beachy waves was so pronounced that I spent my twenties and thirties habitually swirling my hair into an up-do with a clip while it dried in hopes that waves would form and remain there. However, because my hair is so thick and heavy, the sheer heft would uncoil my attempt at making soft curls, leaving me with the straight hair my DNA locked me into.
My hair became even thicker after I began competing in 2009. While many other women my age were lamenting the loss of their locks, I experienced such a surge in fullness that for about a year, I shaved the nape of my neck to lessen the mass of hair I had. A lot of it had to do with the increased protein intake (up to 180 grams a day at one point) which I had to incorporate into my regimen while I prepped for competitions. My hair also grew much more rapidly, and in 2010, my hair grew ten inches in eleven months. How do I know this? Because the area I had shaven grew a full eleven inches in that span of time, and the overall length of my hair kept me visiting my hairstylist for trims every six weeks.
Then I entered peri-menopause. What a joyous time, when a commercial can send you into a fit of tears, layering clothing becomes essential because of the hot flashes and night sweats, and your skin decides that it no longer wants to fight against the pull of gravity. About a year after I began sailing on the rocky seas of menopause, I had a haircut by an amazing stylist who remains my regular stylist to this day.
By some very odd coincidence, I noticed a pronounced wave throughout my hair when I washed my hair several days later. I thought perhaps I hadn’t washed out the styling products completely, but my hair began to look wavier and wavier with every subsequent wash. This persisted for over a year, and continued to perplex and annoy me. I went from never styling my hair, to developing a blow-drying and flat-ironing regimen which I still haven’t perfected, even to this day.
The rogue waves in my hair don’t seem to have rhyme or reason either. The waves on the right side of my head which frame my face are much wavier than on the left side, and for whatever bizarre reason, the right side is resistant to my efforts to obliterate the kinks with a flat-iron, even if I treat small sections and repeatedly iron the sections.
The sudden nature of the change in my hair texture was alarming. I remember hearing women tell tales, which I figured were tall tales, about how the texture of their hair changed overnight. And here I experienced the exact thing.
While hormones play a large role in hair texture (thyroid, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone), it can be rather strange to wake up with waves you never had, or to go from uber-curly hair to arrow straight hair overnight. It’s like the hormone fairy has a special hair wand which she uses to transform a woman’s strands like magic. The other funny thing is that hair follicles may return to their original state after a few years. My hair is starting to calm down somewhat, and there are times when my hair will be almost arrow straight after drying naturally.
I love the theory which Jonathan Torch, the founder of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute, has devised. He maintains that changes in the tone of the muscles at the base of the hair follicles are the culprits in hair texture changes over time.
All I know is that my hair seems to have a mind of its own now!