Sorry guys, but this is definitely a girl post – read on only if you care to learn one of the many things you get to miss out on worrying about by having that “Y” chromosome.
Living in Ecuador has brought about many lifestyle changes and one of them has to do with my hair. All my life my hair has been a challenge. It has an ever so slight bit of wave to it – just enough to keep it from being straight, but not enough to make it curl. So I have spent much of my life struggling to find a style that looks good, but is easy to produce/maintain. Add to that challenge the Texas humidity, which if I tried to wear it straight made it wavy and if I tried to wear it curly made it straight! In my adult life, I have had various hair styles from very short to very long, and everything in between. The most recent style I had settled on was more straight, but able to be maintained by using a flat iron to straighten it.
The one thing I knew I would do before moving to Ecuador was abandon the battle of the gray. This example was set for me by several godly women in my church back home in Dallas and I figured I would not be able to keep up my self-coloring care here, so I just decided to let it go. (Interestingly enough, I arrived to find hair color readily available in the store for about what I would have paid at home, but I decided I would stick with my new “au natural” lifestyle decision. I also knew my hair would lighten in the sun and that would help the gray not be quite so noticeable).
I quickly realized the first week I was here that my then current style was definitely not going to work in this even more humid and windy place! So after some brief experimentation (and a lot of pony tail days), I reverted to a former hair phase of washing it before bed, blow drying it to mostly dry and putting it in a hair claw overnight to encourage more wave/curl (and also sleeping with it in the hair claw on the subsequent nights before washing it again). That worked pretty well for a while, even after my first self-cut, which was taught to me by my former hairdresser, Lucy, before I left the states (see First Haircut). However eventually two things took their toll, making my hair dry, frizzy and unable to hold even this style. First, of course, was the continued exposure to sun and salt. But second was the purchase of an “herbal” shampoo from the “natural” store here (once I ran out of shampoo that I brought with me). I soon discovered that the only thing “natural” in it was some added chamomile – but it was full of “garbage” including formaldehyde! A little translation of ingredients and internet research told me this was quickly adding to the destruction of my hair! But, as the song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Two friends enlightened me about using the above ingredients and voila – instant revitalization! The baby shampoo, of course, is gentle enough to use on a baby’s hair, so it ought to be good to mine! The beer actually acts as a setting lotion (used as a conditioning rinse after I shampoo) to help encourage wave/curl. And the mayonnaise is a great deep conditioning treatment to help repair the dryness and damage and make my hair softer.
So there you have it – just one more way that my lifestyle in Ecuador is very different from what it was before!