Today’s giveaway thrills me, because it’s personal, and not just because I have curly hair. (I should also note at the outset that the “curl” aspect shouldn’t deter anyone from entering. Maybe you have straight hair, but buy gifts for someone who doesn’t; maybe your hair has wave, or maybe you just like lovely books and $150 of product. It’s all here.)
Michelle Breyer is, I’m lucky to say, a friend of mine. I started working at the Austin American-Statesman right out of college in 1999, after interning there the previous summer, and Michelle was one of the reporters I sat with on the biz/tech desk — and one who immediately befriended me, which was no small thing in my heart because I was very shy and lacking in social self-confidence. Michelle and another curly-haired colleague started a website called NaturallyCurly.com, having grappled with their spirals sufficiently long in humid Texas that they wanted a support system for kindred hair-spirits. I vividly recall a couple people teasing them about it, kindly but with an unmistakable an air of, “Aw, that’s cute.”
Well: Guess what’s alive and kicking and about old enough to vote?
Tech boomed and busted during my short time in Austin, but NaturallyCurly.com grew and grew. Michelle and her team built a community of people who innately understood that curly hair, like women themselves, comes in all shapes and flavors. Michelle’s team also developed a whole language — a coding system — to diagnose curl shape and hair texture, in recognition of that fact. No two heads of any hair are alike, but with curls that presents a specific problem. I think we’ve all gotten cuts that dried into mushroom clouds. My curls are straight when wet, so I’ve absolutely ended up with trims that would be super if my hair looked like that all the time, but are clumpy messes once my real texture comes back.
This book, The Curl Revolution, is the product of all those years of research and conversation. It includes advice on such topics as developing a regimen, coloring your curls, or grappling with a post-chemo growback — and yes, there’s stuff in there for curly dudes, too, as well as personal stories from celebrities and NaturallyCurly.com users. At the release party in L.A. alone, we heard from an African-American model who was ordered to straighten her hair on set, to a Realtor whose client threatened to drop her because she had curly hair in her official photos. Once, when we shot one of those talking-head things for E!, a staffer gestured at my head and told me we’d have to straighten it because “green-screens don’t deal well with your whole… situation.” I am lucky; my life hardly ever puts me in those situations. Nobody cares what my head is doing. Imagine the people who deal with that on a regular basis, and the double struggle and double discrimination endured by the women of color who’ve been pressed to conform to a certain aesthetic. It’s one reason NaturallyCurly.com struck such a chord.
And if all that sounds like I’m biased, I am. I love Michelle. I love what she did. And I also love the story of two female friends starting a website together, primarily for fun, and — in spite of any dismissiveness that met them early-on — having it grow into something special with a tight-knit, smart, and witty community. You can see why that might resonate with me. I only just put it together in my own mind. It’s like GFY just discovered its long-lost big sister, and now we can look up to her, and occasionally steal her shoes.
The Giveaway: Five (5) lucky entrants will each receive a copy of The Curl Revolution and a Ouidad Advanced Climate Control gift pack valued at $150. That pack includes:
- Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo
- Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Conditioner
- Advanced Climate Control Detangling Heat Spray
- Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
- Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream
The Task: To enter, just comment on this entry (you are welcome to comment multiplet times, but it will not count as multiple entries). You can write about anything you want, but let’s make it on-topic: Your best or most excruciating hair story/day, or the curly celeb who gives you the strongest hair envy.
The Rules: All entries must be posted in the comments by 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, Nov. 20. Note: If you’re a first-time commenter, the system will automatically kick you into moderation, but fear not — you shall be rescued and included. (Prizing courtesy of Texture Media. Open to US residents only. GFY uses affiliate links when appropriate — like the ones to Amazon in this post — which means we earn a little money if you click through and/or buy stuff. Thank you!)