© Tom Zappala | All rights reserved | License Number 286247 | ABN 27 306 081 547
Reference photo only. Tom does not photograph clients.
Transformation. This is the main theme in Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew', and the inspiration for this post. 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 or better than the simple application of moisturiser to our skin. Shampooing less often, possibly using sulphate free products and putting sufficient moisture into the hair are all widely accepted and valid means of temporarily taming things. There is no permanent 'fix' though. In exactly the same way we often choose to put a moisturiser on our face each day, a supportive frizzy hair routine may need to become part of a regular daily ritual if there is a desire to manage things atop our heads. That stated, what we are primarily 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 of frizz. 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 neither 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 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 gloriously moisturised 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. Coincidentally, this is why I am a big advocate of curly hair being worn long enough to at least partially tie back. Overall, the reality of frizzy hair is where my shift in thinking started to transform. Here's is the honest truth. Literally every single time a woman has sat in the chair and complained about their frizz - the frizz wasn't the real issue. I will explain why. But first, let's look at quote from the CGM book. In it, 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 emphatically disagree with this statement. The fact is it couldn't be further from the truth and I prove it literally every single day in my studio. Again, frizz is not the real problem. When a client comes in and mentions that they hate their frizz it is because the shape of their current haircut is making them feel 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 lack of shape and it is also frizzy, the frizz will seem to be the main issue when in fact, it is not. To prove this point, I will share something literally every client with this situation states. It is key. Every single time I am finishing up the dry cutting segment 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 tell them (and I always do) is that in that precise moment when their proclamation is made, their hair is considerably more frizzy than when they arrived. How could this be? Their hair is actually frizzier, but they are notably happier? This truth is the entire point of this post.
Frizz is not the problem, it is how one relates to it that is the issue. The shape of a haircut ultimately has the power to influence frizz being perceived positively or negatively. An unflattering shape which also is frizzy is often going to make one feel rather poorly about their appearance. Conversely, a flattering shape, which just so happens to be frizzy, can absolutely still make someone feel beautiful. This factual and philosophical approach makes complete sense. If frizzy hair is indeed unavoidable at times, then it behoves one to create a shape for a client which takes the inevitable and makes it contribute positively to the overall aesthetic they wish to have. Again, a flattering and functional shape silhouetted in frizz is infinitely more desirable and manageable than a flat, heavy, congested 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 find a way to make it serve us positively.
Unfortunately, some of this ideal and approach is easier said than done. I'm saddened and frustrated by the stories I hear from women who tell stories of being made to feel inadequate because of their natural hair. Interestingly, it is my Caucasian clients who primarily share these stories. My clients who are from other non-Anglo cultures often don't face the same natural hair discrimination. I imagine this is largely because to do so would be overtly racist here in Australia. Nonetheless, society needs 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 in doing so.
Now, as with every post, I do like to address alternative viewpoints. There certainly are individuals out there who have aesthetic needs or desires which require 'neater' hair and they may want their frizz significantly squelched every single day. That too is valid and absolutely worth addressing. If one has the time and a texture of hair which supports it, there are means which can help to tame and soothe frizz to a certain degree. Here's the thing though. While there are various popular curl methods one can engage with to try and achieve this goal, it is important to note that on certain days (particular here in Melbourne) the weather will not cater to or care about the effort put in. In fact, at times it can seem as though Mother Nature spites us in this regard! This is why it is always imperative to ensure one's haircut is designed to be flattering and supportive of what the natural texture wants to do. Products and method ultimately cannot control or cure that which is not controllable or curable. Supportive shapes and a change in how one relates to their natural self are the only things which can really help The Taming of the Frizz.