I have a double life - no one I know really knows the true texture of my hair - I will never forget the day I ran into a close friend from grad school in the half block walk from the gym to my apartment - we had plans for brunch but I had lingered longer in the sauna than I expected and he decided to walk over earlier and caught me in my true state - Frizzled - not having run even the weak gym comb through my curly locks. In half an hour my expertise with the GHD would have restored me to a familiarity but I will never forget how aghast this ordinarily polite man looked as he said - "What happened to your hair?" If I didn't know my friend as well as I did I would have balked at the breach of politesse where such personal comments are saved up for pillow talk but he is one of the best people I know and the shock was too much.
So there are only half hour intervals at max twice a week when my true hair emerges to terrify unsuspecting loved ones. I don't think strangers care because they take new people at face value. But that's when I look like Jimi Hendrix until that beast is beaten down by texturisers and ionising blow driers and my favourite flat iron - the GHD. Non-frizzy hair is my constructed identity - it is by no means as glossy or bouncy as a professional blowout or indeed uncurly but it just looks like me - the me that populates all my photographs - that has spent days and nights working on consuming projects. When I close my eyes to visualise my life that is the hair that I always have.
I wish I could be like Diane von Furstenberg. Her book "The Woman I Wanted to Be" mentions how she one day learned to love her wild and crazy locks - well I congratulate her on her journey to hair-acceptance but I have made my peace with this unfrizzy hair the same way I have made my peace with short fingernails - to maintain them is not a socially imposed constraint but a deeply personal compulsion. This longwinded introduction is to really drive home the point that I do not take my hair lightly and this is not some mild soft natural curls but fully and really Jimi Hendrix.
So what pain there is in ruining this construction - my hair - either self-made or professionally assisted is not something I undertake lightly for rain (even in my evening bag I have a little umbrella - a habit from living in London) and exercise - I'm looking at you cardio. It has shaped all my sweat choices - I took up yoga - but eschewed hot yoga. I took up Pilates, strength training. But the fact is my favourite workouts - HIIT, kickboxing and even Zumba are all sweaty - especially kickboxing.
I tried all sorts of drastic measures even experimenting with an unflattering pixie that took simply ages to grow out . When I discovered the answer was in dry shampoo and how to use dry shampoo when you know you're going to sweat. The right way to get the best out of dry shampoo is to work it in - I spray in a non-aerosol powder BEFORE I sweat. The issue with most dry shampoo is that people use it after all the sweaty damage when it works best ahead of the workout - and don't ask who can remember - we curly-haired girls who have sunk our hard-earned time and money into hair straightening can certainly make the time. And wear a naturally wicking headband to take the drippy edge off.
Let me be doubly clear - work in your dry shampoo ahead of your workout - the analogy is to deodorant - you wear it ahead of a workout but somehow dry shampoo because of its name seems like something to wash out dirty hair - that's not it at all - what a dry shampoo powder does is sop up the moisture and oil from the scalp preventing it from wetting the hair too badly. Now this won't work if you have very thick hair and it is at best a stopgap. But really if the choice is one between working out and keeping hair frizz-free I make the choice that makes my hear sing - and it's usually the workout but sometimes when I have a fun party to go to I will admit I do yoga :)