© Tom Zappala | All rights reserved | License Number 286247 | ABN 27 306 081 547
Exasperated she asked, "How do I fix my frizz?!" No doubt a question he'd been asked thousands of times standing behind the chair. The response he offers now has evolved almost as much as his career it seems. "What I'm going to say may or may not be what you're expecting, however more than ever the answer resonates soundly with my overall philosophy both personally and professionally."
One of the greatest lessons we can learn in life is the practice of accepting that which we cannot change and in doing so, find a way to make it serve us positively. Frizzy hair is absolutely one of those things that those who are born with it, struggle to align with. This certainly isn't made easy by the abundance of media, advertisements and products all telling we need to 'fight' it and solve frizziness like some sort of pathogenic virus set on destroying our very existence. Conventional salons, even curl specific ones, often are guilty of instilling in women an innate fear and loathing of that which they were born with. These are the same ones who bombard your wallet and your hair with copious amounts of products and time-intensive ritual. It doesn't need to be this way.
Now, before we get too far into things here, let's start with stating a few absolute truths. There are certain hair lifestyle changes one can utilise to help minimise frizz, but they ultimately offer a solution no different than the application of moisturiser to anyone's skin. Shampooing less often, possibly using sulphate free products and putting simple, sufficient moisture into the hair are all widely accepted and valid means of taming things. There is no 'fix' though, in exactly the same way that we often put moisturiser on our face each day too. Indeed, a supportive frizzy hair routine may need to become part of a regular daily ritual if there is a desire to do so. What we are going to address here in this post, however, is something other than shampoo, conditioner, products or ritual.
This is when the real talk begins. There are only a couple of different ways to go about working through this entire topic. Either you chose to embrace that which grows atop your head, or you don't. You learn to live with and manage your natural texture or you reach for a flat iron. If you're reading this you've likely made the smart decision to not burn your hair and that is a good start as that road is not healthy nor long term sustainable. Here's the thing. Frizz is often unavoidable with curly hair. For many, it is as much a part of life as death and taxes. Make no mistake, unless you are one who is willing to spend a fair amount of time and energy dutifully prepping 'perfect' curls, frizz is something which you will need to learn to peacefully co-exist with if you wish to reach greater contentment in life. To that point, it literally doesn't matter how perfect a cut is executed and how amazingly moisturised and effortless falling curls maybe when one leaves the house, there are always going to be environmental elements which at certain times can undo things in record time. This is fact and something people with frizzy hair have to accept (it's also why I am a big advocate of curly hair being worn long enough to at least partially tie back). This reality is where my shift in thinking started to transform. Here's is the truth. Literally every single time a woman has sat in the chair and complained about their frizz - the frizz wasn't the real issue. In fact in the CGM book, the author states the following:
"The main reason we curly girls are not happy with our hair is because of that curly girl nemesis: frizz."
I disagree with this statement. It couldn't be further from the truth and I prove it literally every single day in my studio. Again, their frizz wasn't the real problem. While I do engage in quite a bit of amateur psychoanalytic therapy in the studio, this isn't one of those situations. When a client comes in and mentions that they hate their frizz it is because the shape of their current haircut (or complete lack of it) is making them feel frustrated and unattractive. The frizz is simply silhouetting that lack of shape and thus making it all seem worse than it is. If an individual hates the shape of their hair and it is frizzy too, of course the frizz will seem to be the main issue when in fact, it is not. To that point, and this is key - literally every single time I am finishing up the dry cutting portion of a client's session, each and every single person comments on how they "love it already" and could "leave it just like it is!" What is interesting to note (and I do) is that their hair is considerably more frizzy at this stage than when they arrived. How could this be? Their hair is actually frizzier, but they are notably happier? This is the entire point of this post.
Frizz isn't the problem, it is how one relates to it that is the issue. Well, moreover it's the shape of a haircut and its ability to influence our tolerances one way or the other. An unflattering shape which is also frizzy is not going to offer happiness. Conversely, a supportive shape which happens to also be frizzy absolutely can absolutely offer contentment. To be fair, most that come to the studio have gone years without ever having a suitable and supportive shape so this philosophy is admittedly challenging to resolve with whilst reading a screen. Too, it isn't their fault that the professionals they have gone too previously for support and answers haven't delivered, and in fact, led them further from where they needed to be. As one who works with a large international, multi-cultural curly client list, if frizzy hair is unavoidable then it makes all the sense in the world to create a shape for a client which takes the inevitable and makes it contribute positively to the overall aesthetic. Again, a flattering shape silhouetted in frizz is infinitely more desirable and manageable than frizz with a heavy, weighted and oppressive one. As mentioned earlier, this all directly mirrors a life philosophy which I carry with me: Take that which we find less than ideal and make it serve us well.
Unfortunately, some of this is easier said than done. I'm saddened and frustrated by the stories I hear from women who tell tales of being made to feel less than 'put together' because of their natural hair. Interestingly, it is my Caucasian clients who share these stories most often. My clients who are from other non-Anglo cultures often don't face the same curl discrimination, I imagine largely because to do so would be overtly racist here in Australia. Nonetheless, society (and often, even one's peers) need a long-overdue attitude shift in this area. Like all these sorts of issues though, it too will take a minute. I do my part to ensure each and every woman who wants to embrace their natural texture is fully supported.
Now, there certainly are individuals who have aesthetic needs or desires which require 'neater' hair and they may want their frizz significantly diminished day-to-day. That too is valid and absolutely worth addressing. If one has the time and texture which supports it, there are means which can help to soothe frizz to a certain degree. While there are various popular curl methods one can engage with it is important to note that on certain days (particular here in Melbourne) the weather will not play along nicely regardless of the effort put in (in fact often in spite of it). This is why it is always imperative to ensure one's haircut is designed to be supportive of what the natural texture wants to do - regardless of ritual or aesthetic preference. Products and method ultimately cannot cure that which is not curable. Supportive shapes and a change in how one relates to their natural self are what really can help The Taming of the Frizz.