Hi! Welcome to Hair Diaries, Man Repeller’s newest beauty series. We’ve always believed the weird stuff growing out of our skulls is an extension (pun intended!!!) of our identities, so we’re asking women we love to tell us everything about theirs. Next up is Simone Kitchens, Associate Beauty Director at Glamour.
I gave myself bangs in the third grade. I had this vision of them falling full and straight but obviously they sprung up in an awkward way. I remember feeling so disappointed and embarrassed that I buzzed them off, which was an even worse idea. Whenever I talked to anyone I would hold my hand over my hairline.
Growing up I feel like were so many rules around curly hair. Don’t get bangs. Avoid the triangle cut. Never ever brush it. Basically all the things that made curly hair look super seventies. Now I do all of those things!
When I was in high school, I would spend a lot of time in the beauty aisles at Target. All the hair tools fascinated me. I went through a phase with a 1/4″ curling iron. After working in some curly hair styling creams (which were insanely heavy in the ‘90s), I would curl my already naturally curly hair into these uniform spirals. The result was very compact. Like a brick of ramen noodles. Very much the opposite of what I’m after today. I find myself constantly brushing and separating my curls now because I like my hair as airy and fluffy as possible.
In my twenties, I started to smooth out my texture. I would blow my hair out and add bendy waves afterward. It was a ton of work. When I was a beauty assistant, I started getting keratin treatments. I see pictures of myself from that time and I just roll my eyes. That process sucked the life out of my hair. Everything about my hair was exhausting.
Last year I wrote an essay for Glamour about figuring out my background and genetic makeup. It was, in a way, my response to that all-too-frequent “What are you?” question. I’m still working through the answer. At the time I wasn’t wearing my hair all that curly, but as I was worked on that essay it felt like the time to not only say I had curly hair, but to also start wearing it curly again.
Right around this time — I’ll never forget this — I was walking down the street and some guy came up to me. He was like, “Hey, I wanted to say hi. From afar I thought you were black, but I saw your hair and thought you might be white.” Then, of course, he asked, “What are you?” I was like, WHOA. Weirdly inappropriate interaction aside, this further confirmed I didn’t want to hide my hair texture any longer. So I eased back into it, slowly blow-drying my hair less and less until finally, I let it full-on air-dry, something I hadn’t done in years.
People have all these opinions about curly hair and unfortunately they were stuck in my head for a while. My hair is wider at the bottom, like a triangle. If you Google “triangle hair,” there’s post after post on how to get rid of it, which is so lame. I eventually wrote a piece about embracing triangle hair and I talked about it on Glamour’s podcast. Going back to a triangle-shaped haircut with curly hair, something I had when I was little, was my way of reclaiming my texture and that style. On my hair’s best day, it’s peak triangle. Clean but not too clean. Fluffy and hydrated. That’s when I feel like the most me. When it’s not doing those things, I feel self-conscious about it.
I use Davines Vegetable Miracle Shampoo every other day or so because it doesn’t make my hair feel too clean. I love using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in the winter; I like how it soothes my scalp and clarifies my hair. I pour equal parts vinegar and water in a cup, then use it as a rinse in the shower. The smell kind of lingers, but whatever, it works better than anything. I go through more conditioner than any other product. Globs of it. Grown Alchemist smells so insanely good — it has lavender and chamomile and rose — and makes my hair so soft. I also use Living Proof Detangling Rinse. It’s insane how good that stuff is at detangling knots. They literally slide right out. I can spend forever working out the tangles in the shower; if I have this, it goes way faster. After I get out of the shower, I spray dpHUE Apple Vinegar Cider Leave-In into my damp hair, focusing on the ends. I like this spray because it’s weightless, so many detanglers can leave hair feeling all residue-y. This is the only product I put in my hair before letting it dry. As for tools, I think I own like ten Tangle Teezer brushes. They’re the best at detangling when my hair is wet, but also good at making it fluffy when it dries. Sometimes I tuck duck-bill clips into my hair when it’s air-drying because I like for the top to be a little flatter.
My hair is just inconsistent; sections of it are completely different. The crown of my head and the sides above my ears are way curlier than the underside at the nape of my neck, which has a loose curl. I’m working on rolling with it. Since it’s incredibly fine, the best thing I can do for my hair is be gentle with it.
Looking for more curly hair care tips? Leandra did some research.
Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.