Does the Devil Have Curly Hair?


Another day, another shocker.  My daughter came home from work last night–she’s a supervisor at a Starbucks Coffee–and she said, “Hey mom, you were right about some people not liking curly hair.” 

She caught my interest.  Why do you say that?

“Because a girl I work with has hair like yours–in fact, she looks like you–and a couple came in today and asked for another server because they said she had brown, curly hair, like the devil.”

What in the hell (no pun intended)?  What did you do?

“I told them they either get served by her or they should leave.  They decided to leave.”


Now, don’t get me wrong, there have been moments in my life where I’ve thought the devil may have had his hand in my hair—but I have NEVER heard the devil has brown, curly hair.

I googled it, and turns out, there are a few folktales from around the world that feature the devil and curly hair–usually someone tries to see if he can straighten it, and if he can’t, he’s the devil.  (Click here for link to the stories)

And, then there’s the possibility that it’s racially motivated–Jewish hair, African hair–or just plain unruly–thus devilish–hair.  (Think Jezebel.)  So, in this way, curly hair may represent foreign–exotic–uncontrollable–different from us–scary.

It reminds me of the poem everyone recited for me and my curls as I was growing up by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

I intend to do more research on this idea now that it has been so starkly confirmed to me that there is, indeed, CURLY HAIR prejudice out there.  What are its origins? What are its intentions? And, how do we fight back against it?

First, it’s time we all understand–“Curly hair is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle.”  People say, I like the way you’re doing your hair now.  Um, I’m not “doing” my hair.  I was “doing” my hair, but now I’m “doing” nothing except letting my hair be itself.  This is who I am, and it’s not up for a vote.

If you have experienced curly girl prejudice, I’m sorry. I hope you’ll read Curly Girl: The Handbook, pass it on to others, and wear your hair natural to be an ambassador for other closet curlys.

In the meantime, have fun and enjoy those curls–you hot little devil!

curly girl with quote



Curly Hair Tangles: A Nightmare for Children


God pity the curly haired child born into a straight-hair family.  No one knows what to do with them.  And, they certainly do not know how to comb out their hair without causing WWIII.

As a wee curly haired child myself, I remember many a day screaming, crying and running away from the dreaded “brushing”.  Back in those days (I’m 50!) there was only water to help loosen them up, or at least that’s all we had. So, water it was…for me!  Thick, curly, coarse–it hurt like hell!

(Although, by 3rd grade, I did develop an unusual tolerance for getting my hair pulled!)

By the 4th grade, my poor mom had given up on me and was tired of the fighting.  She handed me a brush, and said you’re on your own, girl!

Which led me to the most horrifying experience of my curly girl life.

When given the choice to brush my own hair, I took the easy way out and only brushed the canopy.  A year of brushing the canopy, as you can imagine, led to a tangley, dreadlocky mess at the base of my neck.  Enter my grandmother, who would have none of that, and whisked me off for a haircut at the local beauty college.

The poor girl who had to cut my hair didn’t know what to do.  The instructor called all the students to my chair so they could watch how she fixed it–which was basically to cut it all off in a god-awful “Dorothy Hamill” style which would take years and years to grow back out.  I was mortified.  It really cemented my belief that I had freakish hair–a belief that would be validated, over and over again, by frustrated stylists.

So, for all you moms out there with a curly haired kid–PLEASE read Curly Girl: The Handbook.  When you finish, please hand it off to another curly haired person..and another…and another.

In the meantime, throw away the shampoo and go to a conditioner-only wash (Co-wash), comb the hair with your fingers in the shower while it has the conditioner worked through, after toweling it dry with a t-shirt, use a leave-in conditioner and continue to separate the curls with your fingers.  Then, let it dry and maybe add some curl cream or a gel that doesn’t leave them too crunchy.  The next day, spray the curls with lavender water and bounce them out with your fingers.  Voila!  Your curly haired kid will thank you.

Welcome to Soft & Bouncy Curls

My goal is soft, lustrous, healthy, bouncy curls.

Hi. Welcome to my Curly Girl site–Soft and Bouncy!

I’m a curly girl, and like every curly girl, most of my life, I didn’t know what to do with my hair; I brushed the curls, blew them out, and burned them out with a curling iron trying to look like “everyone else.”

Of course, I never did–look like everyone else–I just had major, uncontrollable–straightened curls–dying to get out and live free!

There was a time, as a young mom, I let them out of their box back in the BIG HAIR days of the 90’s.

Brook and mom

But even then, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was before Curly Girl: The Handbook, which is now right up there with the bible.  In those days, I used a brush, shampooed, used cotton towels, I even blow dried and selectively curled.  There weren’t a lot of product choices back then, but I did use Sebastian’s Potion 9–which is still around and still used by quite a few curlys.  The result, as you can see above, was big hair.

I kept my hair curly for a couple of years, but one day I decided to blow it out and straighten it–I received a few compliments–and I was back at it again.  In fact, I was pretty dedicated to it until last April when I turned 50 and decided it was time to finally be the me I was created to be.

A family member had given me Curly Girl: The Handbook, years ago, but I read it and thought, “Geez, she has no idea how crazy my curls are!  This book won’t work for me!”  Still, little by little, I found myself playing with the ideas.  If I traveled to a particularly humid climate, I’d let it go for a day or two just to see what would happen.

I started to like it.  Kinda.

When I turned 50, four months ago, I went all out curly.  I threw away the brush, iron & cotton towels. I threw away the shampoos, unhealthy oils, and flat diffusers.

In their place, I bought a t-shirt towel, a Deva hand-shaped diffuser that gets up under the canopy, Shea deep conditioning masque, Deva curl clips, Demi-Permanent Hair Color, Sachajuan Styling Cream, Balmain Curl Cream, and most recently, because Balmain is more difficult to get, Pillow Soft Curls.

I’ll review each of those items, and tell you why they’re part of my routine, in the coming posts.

The result is this.


Each month, as my curls get healthier and their “curl memory” is brought back to life, my curls look better.  I won’t lie, some days it is not easy.  On bad curl days, I’m tempted to straighten, but it’s not my hair’s fault.  It’s the years of too much heat and chemicals, and that takes time to repair.

My goal is soft, lustrous, healthy, bouncy curls. I don’t like crunchy. I don’t like sticky. I don’t like stinky or stringy!

If you’re on the same journey, please join me and share your experiences!