How to unleash your hidden curl: A secret recipe for straight haired girls

straightA couple of months ago I met my friend Phoebe for happy hour and she showed up with these gorgeous curly locks. The whole time I’ve know her she’s always had straight hair like me, and now, this amazing hair! I sat there in curl envy for a while, and then broke down and asked her how she did it.

I figured her response would be some expensive product + a time-consuming, complicated ritual involving hot rollers and curling irons — something way beyond my interest and skill level. But she confessed it was a combo of air-drying and drugstore cheapies. With an investment of less than $15, what did I have to lose? I’ve always considered myself a straight-haired girl (the straight sleek hair trend was good to me) but her recipe worked! My hair had a little body, a little curl, and the softness was a nice change-up to my routine.

I was dying to share the method on Borealis but I felt dorky asking her (as if I put everything on the blog!) But then a friend complimented my hair, and I knew I had to swallow my pride and ask. Phoebe laughed, assented, sent me her recipe, and even agreed to share some pics with you.

curly hair recipe collage

How to unleash your hidden curl: A secret recipe for straight-haired girls

The secret is no brushing and no touching. Basically. No brushing was extremely illuminating. The first time I just forgot to brush because I got out of the shower and got on the phone with my friend Teresa (who lives near you and has, basically, a fro). And it dried while we were on the phone. I told her about it and she was like — “OMG, never brush. Gisele says never brush.” (Hahaha).

So when you’re done showering, throw your head over, put in a little of this; 

and a dab of this (to hold the curls);

and I wrap it in this, which I think helps, but you could just pat it with a towel — this is just gentler on the curls, which is the important thing, I’m learning.

I let it air dry, but you could also dry it with a diffuser. I just haven’t gotten a handle on those yet. And Teresa says that even super curly girls have irregular curls so it’s totally legit to fix some of them with a curling iron.


My favorite part is the L’Oreal Mega Gel — the same stuff I used in junior high. It makes me feel like 1990 again every time I use it.

And I love how the recipe makes air drying — the lazy girl choice — seem purposeful and noble.

So there you have it, friends. If you’ve always considered yourself a straight girl and haven’t attempted the curl since your 8th grade perm, give it a try! Who knows what surprises your hair has in store for you.

Thanks Phoebe!

Getting back to the starting line


Bee and Mom

Last weekend I did my first race in THREE YEARS.

It’s not like I haven’t been running. Aside from the three months I missed around Blythe’s birth, I have been running 2-4 times a week the whole time, and far enough to pull out a 10 miler on any given Saturday.

There are a lot of reasons I haven’t done a race, but the main reason is I didn’t want to take that much time for myself.

I take time for myself — to see friends, to get a pedicure, to run without the kids — but I’m pretty stingy about it. OK, really stingy.

And that’s fine, except, once I did sign up for a race, one big thing happened:

I found it easier to prioritize my runs and felt less guilty doing so.

I usually fit my runs in around what we are doing as a family, which often means I’m running at non-ideal times. Or pushing a stroller.

And while training for the race, I did my first real training run in years — the kind where you set all your stuff out the night before and get up in the morning and go. And it felt amazing.

Mile 11

That training for the race was short-term helped, too. I need to do this run now because of where I am in my training, but after the race is over, I won’t have to do this.

And then there was this bonus take-away: Taking time for my own training helped give me an extra push in supporting Adam in his training, going further than I would have previously to be supportive.

And friends, I surprised myself at the race. I am strong! The race — the Urban Wildland Half Marathon — was August-hot and humid, but I ran faster than I expected, and faster than my goal. I felt in control the whole time and ran a steady pace. Adam and the girls came out to cheer me on, and I felt so happy thinking of the role model I am setting for the girls.

Family at mile 11

I don’t have any other races on the calendar, but I’m certainly not going to let it go three years again before I do another one.

Starting line, I’ll see you again soon.

Other running related posts:

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Women and the Confidence Gap

confidence gap

“Lean in” (usually appearing as #leanin, and only sometimes ironically) has become a kind of shorthand among my female friends, an expression of encouragement, pride, or solidarity that can range in meaning from a collective, been-there groan at some workplace unfairness or a you-got-this-you-go-girl rallying cry. It started a little over a year ago, when I […]

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