Curlee Girlee of the Week: Emily

Emily is the sweetest, most caring soul. She is very intelligent (even skipped a grade last year after only one day of school). She is seven years old and loves unicorns, dancing, gymnastics and her cats Neville and Luna. She lives in Clackamas, Oregon where she helps her family cheer on their beloved Oregon Ducks. She loves playing beauty parlor with her Aunt Dian, a fellow Curlee Girlee. As soon as her aunt saw the book, she couldn’t wait to tell Emily all about it. When Emily received the book for her birthday, from her Aunt Dian, she hugged the book tightly. Though Emily is an avid reader and could read the book on her own, her big sister, Maddie shared in Emily’s enthusiasm for the book and immediately sat down and read the book to Emily.

College Curlee Girlee of the Week: Sabrina

My story is a bit unique because I haven’t always had curly hair. When I was a little girl, it was as straight as an uncooked noodle. But as I grew older, it got fluffier and frizzier! To hold back its craziness, I wore ponytails every day. In high school, I was so embarrassed by my hair that I hid it in buns and braids not wanting anyone to see the unmanageable mess that it was.

But then one day something magical happened. I was a 16 years old and went in for a haircut, and as I strolled out of the hair salon, I noticed that something had happened to my hair. It had started to curl in my hand! When my family saw my newly cut hair, they were in disbelieve! They couldn’t believe that my hair had just transformed in the span of an hour. I fell in love with my new hair. I began wearing it down and more confidently around people. Just like Curlee Girlee’s dad and grandma had curly hair so did my brother and dad. I felt connected to them in a whole another way by sharing our curly hairs. Just like them, I love that it only takes a few seconds to get our curly hair ready in the morning. Yes, I still have frizzy hair days, but I have learned to adore the curls Jesus has placed on my head. I love the wild and free feeling of having curly hair!

College Curlee Girlee of the Week: Lauren

When I was little I hated how curly my hair was because literally everyone in my family had straight hair and so did my friends. Their hair was so pretty, and I was super jealous of their hair because it wouldn’t get frizzy. I would put my hair into ponytails and buns so no one could see my curls and I could contain the frizz. It’s funny … my story is similar to Curlee Girlee’s, because my dad had curly hair as a kid–which I did not know–and I thought, “Whoa, my dad has curly hair too, and that is super cool!”

So I started wearing my hair down on Sundays for church and these older ladies always told me how pretty it was. Then one day I decided to wear it down to gymnastics and everybody kept talking about how much they loved my hair and how great it was. This was when I was 14 and 15, so slowly as I got older I started to love it more and more because I realized that, even on days when it seems frizzy, it’s still really pretty. Now I have days where I wake up and look in the mirror and think, “Wow, I have really pretty hair!” And now I am honestly just so obsessed.

I wish I had a book like this when I was little, because it is so hard to love your hair when everyone around you, like Hannah Montana, has straight hair. I love the part in Curlee Girlee where she wet a brush and brushed her hair to try to make it straight. That is totally what I did when I was little, but I am so happy that now I have learned to love my hair! I also used to hate when people would play with the springs in my hair, but I have learned to love my hair so much now and I think little girls with curly hair are just so precious!

Changing the “Coarse” of Curlee Hair: Interview with Controlled Chaos

Introducing our new blog series, “Changing the Coarse of Curly Hair”! In this series we interview curly change makers: salon owners, hairdressers, curly platforms, curly journalists, and much more. Stay tuned, because Curlee Girlee is changing the coarse of curly hair and it begins right here … Tuesday is blog day!

I am so excited to interview Alanna York, owner and creator of Controlled Chaos!

Alanna describes herself as “an unruly child”—which, to this day, she says is a  direct result of her untamable hair.  With thick, coarse curls that neither her mother nor she could control, she vividly recalls the exact moment her hair torment began.  It was in the third grade during an in-class movie.  Everyone had settled into an anticipatory silence of the film.  Lights off and then, “Hey, Brillo Head, I can’t see the TV!”  And so it began, the instant mortification that she learned could (and would) explode at any moment throughout grade school and her teenage years.  Spurred by relentless taunting, Alanna took to sleeping with wet hair encased in a tight-knit cap.  By morning the puffiness had deflated, but she says her neck was encircled by what can only be described as a Shakespearean collar of curls that had crept out during the night.

A bad hair day is NOTHING compared to a bad hair childhood—and so Alanna’s obsession with hair began.

When her professional career began in the early 1990s, Alanna had perfected a hairstyle that was tolerable, at best, and was eager for life after high school.  Alanna had intended to distance myself from the bad memories, but instead she found herself diving head first into  helping other with their curls.   Alanna opened her own salon, Head Games in 1999, and developed her very  own cutting technique for curls, which she teaches to stylists all over the US and Canada. In 2007, she created Controlled Chaos, hair care products that help turn frizzy chaos into the BEST CURLS EVER.  Airing on ABC’s Shark Tank catapulted the product line to a new level of success.

Curlee Girlee:  You are the owner of Controlled Chaos- a really cool, curly haired salon in Maine. How long have you been in business and what made you decide to open your own salon?

Alanna:  It was a total fluke! I had been working at another salon for seven years, and loved it there. I was just tired of the decor, and like any normal Virgo, I needed a new work space. I checked out one cool looking space and signed the lease that day, then thought…”I guess I’m opening a salon!”

Curlee Girlee:  In your salon do you style adults and children as well?

Alanna:  Yes. I especially love the awkward teen or pre-teen age group. I remember how I felt as a frizzy haired, buck toothed teen and I love showing them the uniqueness of their curl, and that the actually have CURL…not frizz … if they embrace it. They are usually amazed by the great hair they have had and never knew it!

Curlee Girlee:  You created your own product line. How did that get started?

Alanna:  There were only two other curl brands out there when I started this process in 2007. I owned a salon & specialized in working with curls, so of course I wanted to carry these products and offer them to my customers. I was disappointed to find that they didn’t actually WORK any better than regular mousses or gels from other brands meant for all hair types / straight hair. Plus, I thought there should be an effort to be socially conscious & eco friendly, which neither were. Basically the old adage “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself” was how it all began.

Curlee Girlee: I know your hair products were featured on SharkTank. There must be a great story as to how you got there. Tell us about it?

Alanna:  I traveled a lot pitching to different salons and distributors and doing hair shows, and complete strangers kept telling me ”You should go on Shark Tank!” I had no idea what the show was, but after hearing it of the 50th time or so, I had to check it out. I watched one episode and of course, was hooked and thought “I SHOULD go on this show!”. We applied for season 4 and got to round 2, then the producers called us for season 5 & I was SO EXCITED. THEY called US?! But we still didn’t make it. We were struggling with handling some large orders, keeping enough inventory on hand and going through lots of growing pains. I had never manufactured a product line before (we had 16 at the time!) I was educating stylists on the Controlled Chaos haircutting technique- the only precision cut for curls-and it was just too much. We still weren’t profitable and I felt it was time to pull the plug on the entire company, when I heard Shark Tank was hosting auditions in Portland Maine…literally 2 miles from my salon! I could barely summon the energy to put forth to attend. I couldn’t take any more disappointment. My friends and family talked me into it & we did it! It was a long & somewhat torturous process, but it saved my company & was totally worth it!

Curlee Girlee:  I am sure over the years you have seen a lot of different types of hair, curly and straight. I have often felt that curly haired people have a personality that matches their hair. Do you find that to be true?

Alanna:  Heck yeah! I say we are all “good crazy”! I haven’t met many shy or subdued curlees;)

Curlee Girlee:  How would you describe that personality?

Alanna:  We all seem to be quirky, confident, unique, friendly & most of all, FUN!

Curlee Girlee:  As you know I wrote a children’s book, Curlee Girlee, and started a curly girl movement in an effort to ensure that all children love their hair and all their unique features. How do you think we can change the “coarse” of curly hair and the way the world views curly hair?

Alanna:  I think it’s been a long time coming, but finally curls are back! Gone are the days of sleek straight blowouts, so it should be easier than ever- IF people can understand that frizz doesn’t exist. That’s right. It’s not even a thing. If a boy or girl has frizz, that boy or girl has curl! Period! In the past, the only way we have been taught to deal with frizzy hair is to straighten it. Why do that when you can embrace and encourage awesome curls with the right product and styling techniques. Throw out all brushes within 100 miles of all curlees would be a great start! Its all about confidence. We can all work together to keep curls cool, and put an end to curl shaming, and confidence will come naturally.

Curlee Girlee:  What do you find is the biggest difference working with curly hair and straight hair?

Alanna:  I find curls much easier to work with, but I think stylists with straight hair or less experience with curls would disagree. Each curl has its own personality. One person could have a kinky curl, right next to a wave, right next to a perfect spiral and then … a crazy square curl mixed with a section that is totally straight! So I guess the multiple personalities & mix of texture that usually goes with a curly client can be a bit daunting to some. With straight hair … it all lines up like it’s supposed to, requiring less customization.

Curlee Girlee: Do you find that curly haired women struggle with their hair more than straight haired women?

Alanna:  Oh yeah. I keep going back to the frizz thing. We love curl … we just hate when it turns frizzy.

Curlee Girlee:  What is your favorite go-to curly haired product?

Alanna:  Controlled Chaos, of course! We have a fragrance free formula for kids, and our cleanser and moisturizer is launching in just 2 weeks! We are now offering the perfect little bundle of joy for curls!

Curlee Girlee:  How important do you think it is to have Curlee Girlees start to love their hair and embrace their curls?

Alanna:  OMG. It’s the single most important thing that can make or break your day. “Bad hair day” is a thing for a reason. How many bad hair days can one take before it starts taking a toll on one’s self esteem? It sounds shallow, but it’s true for most people. When you look good, you feel good & feeling good is very important!

Curlee Girlee:  What is your best advice for Curlee Girlees, young and older?

Alanna:  Almost every single curly I have ever had in my chair says the same thing …”If I had YOUR curls, I’d LOVE my hair … but mine isn’t ‘good curl’.” That’s when I show them that all texture is good texture, all curl is “good curl”, you just have to know what your curls want. I have been a Curl “Thairapist” for so long, I can tell what my guests are going to say before they even start talking. They think I’m a mind reader, but it’s not that at all. We all have the same common enemy … FRIZZ.  Find a great stylist who either HAS curly hair, or has studied and practiced for YEARS on clients with curls. Watch as many styling videos as possible until you find ones that are specific to YOUR hair texture and YOUR curl tension. We have a ton at controlledchaoshair.com.

Curlee Girlee:  There are 1.6 billion curly haired women in the world today and they overwhelmingly dislike their curls. What would you tell these women to help them realize they are beautiful just as they are?

Alanna:  While I have created ONE product that replaces, leave in conditioner, frizz tamer, curl enhancer, shine serum, sun block and heat protectant…that works on ALL textures and curl types (just change the amount of product used based on texture & climate) EVERY curl type is different. Not all curls can be styled using the same technique & expectations need to be realistic so that everyone will be ABLE to embrace their curls. Let’s face it- if I wanted beach waves, (think T. Swift circa 2015)  I’d be putting a lot of work in every day and I’d probably be disappointed. Learn what your hair can do, without a TON of product and a TON of styling time…and accept that you are SO LUCKY! Most of us don’t even have to blow-dry!

Curlee Girlee:  Thank you Alanna, what a great interview!

College Curlee Girlee of the Week: Serrena

When I was little I was bullied for my hair and I hated it, so it was always in a bun, tied down or braided. Rarely did I ever just wear my curls out. One day in junior year of high school I just decided, I’m going to have this hair for the rest of my life so I might as well embrace it and I started wearing it down and curly all the time. This past year I had been toying with the idea of chopping it off and so I walked into a salon and took the plunge. I can honestly say I have never been happier with my hair. In the story of Curlee Girlee, she is doing everything possible to get her curls do go away but after seeing how beautiful her grandma was with her curly hair it made her embrace her hair. When I was little I didn’t have anything that told me that my hair was pretty until I was older and had to find it for myself, but what I love about this book is that it shows that both girls and boys who have curly hair have something special and unique about them that makes them different and there is nothing wrong with it. They should embrace it and love it!

Dyslexia is Different, and That’s a Good Thing

My three children are back at school. I say that with mixed emotions. It is was so much fun having lazy summer days eating ice cream, staying up late, and not being beholden to a schedule with after school tutoring, tennis, dance, piano, art (the list is endless!) But there is also some rhythm to routine and schedules. After school activities broaden our child’s world and are infused with possibility.

And then, there is tutoring. My middle child, my son, has dyslexia. For the last three years, we’ve had him tutored five nights a week. I am more familiar with the Orton Gillingham method of remediation than most reading tutors I know! Everyday, after a long day at school, he is shuffled back and forth to a highly specialized reading tutor. Since the traditional reading specialists are not all schooled in the Orton Gillingham method, I spent many hours researching and interviewing potential candidates. The process was so arduous; I almost quit my job to get certified and teach him myself. Luckily, I found a wonderful teacher who is not too far from our home.

It hasn’t been easy getting my son back and forth to tutoring, and after a long day at school he is often tired. But it has paid off! He started 5th grade this year, completely on track with his grade level. I was informed by the reading teacher at school that he would be moving up two levels in the regular classroom. What a testament to hard work and sacrifice!

Getting the right help for a dyslexic child is imperative. They cannot be tutored in a traditional way. They are not just “slow” readers. It is not simply “developmental”. These children are intelligent and creative. They are out of the box thinkers and because they have learned at a very young age to work extra hard, they take nothing for granted and give new meaning to the word “determined”. They do NOT give up! This helps them develop great, lifelong qualities.

For a little while, my son thought he was dumb. His teachers and peers may have thought so as well. Now, he knows that he just learns differently, and we embrace all the many things he does easily and wonderfully. In his backpack, he carries a list of “CEOs with Dyslexia”. It is good to have that handy so he can remind anyone who mistakes his slower reading for lack of intelligence that a disproportionate number of leaders are those with dyslexia. Including, of course, Albert Einstein!

Changing the “Coarse” of Curlee Hair: Interview with Hairlooms

Introducing our new blog series, “Changing the Coarse of Curly Hair”! In this series we interview curly change makers: salon owners, hairdressers, curly platforms, curly journalists, and much more. Stay tuned, because Curlee Girlee is changing the coarse of curly hair and it begins right here … Tuesday is blog day!

I am so excited to interview Michele Roseman, author of Hairlooms. In Hairlooms, Michele uses her journey to love her naturally curly hair as a spring board to discuss the importance of girls and women loving their tresses “as is”! Heralded by Huff Post as a beauty movement, Hairlooms includes Michele’s exclusive interviews with Dr. Maya Angelou, Sesame Street Muppeteer Joey Mazzarino, and 30 esteemed thought leaders.

Curlee Girlee:  You are a fellow Curlee Girlee. Have you always worn your hair naturally?

Michele:  I started sporting my natural curls about 8 years ago.

Curlee Girlee:  Can you remember how your hair impacted you as a little girl?

Michele:  As a little girl, I only felt cute when it was straight and hanging. In the 60s, there weren’t many public images of women with my afro-textured hair. The absence of these images subliminally sent a message that my *beauty brand* was unacceptable.

Curlee Girlee:  Did you ever feel like you had a role model, like Curlee Girlee, as a young girl?

Michele:  No! Even though I played with black dolls, their hair never resembled my natural coils.

Curlee Girlee: Have you ever had hair envy?

Michele:  I sure did! In high school, there were friends with straight, long hair that *always* caught the cute guys’ attention.

Curlee Girlee:  You recently wrote a book called Hairlooms. Can you tell us a bit about the book and the inspiration behind it?

Michele:  Hairlooms: The Untangled Truth About Loving Your Natural Hair and Beauty uses my journey to accept my natural hair as a springboard to uncover issues that make it difficult for Black women to embrace their natural hair and beauty. Hairlooms is rounded-out with highlights from my personal interviews with Dr. Maya Angelou, Hollywood actresses Nicole Ari Parker, Kim Coles and more than 25 equally esteemed thought leaders on this topic. At the end of each chapter, readers have an opportunity to respond to open-ended questions about their personal beauty beliefs. This non-fiction book also includes a creatively calming coloring page and resources for achieving *inside out* beauty!

Curlee Girlee:  If/when you have a curly haired child what will be the most important hair advice you give her/him?

Michele:  For my nieces, I constantly let them know how perfectly pretty their hair is!

Curlee Girlee:  I have often found that curly haired women have a personality that matches their hair. Do you find this to be true?

Michele:  Generally speaking, I’ve not made this observation. I will say, however, that my coily curls have a mind of their own and twist in very creative ways. These are definitely *Michele* traits!

Curlee Girlee:  How do you think we can change the way the world looks at curly hair?

Michele:  I think concerted, intentional efforts to publicly feature women with *all types* of Afro-textured hair are needed to challenge and change ill-formed public perceptions.

Curlee Girlee: Do you think that curly haired women struggle with their hair more than straight haired women?

Michele:  I honestly believe that *all* women struggle with the notion that *someone else’s* (fill in the blank) is better than theirs. We generally chase the beauty phantom and crave what we cannot attain. The mane attraction phenomenon is no different.

Curlee Girlee:  What is your favorite go-to curly haired product?

Michele:  I like Naturalicious, Shea Moisture, and The Puff Cuff.

Curlee Girlee:  How important do you think it is to have Curlee Girlees start to love their hair and embrace their curls?

Michele:  Adult perceptions start as inklings in a young girl’s mind. Establishing — in girls — a strong sense of worth, value, and beauty helps Curlee Girlees embrace their curls.

Curlee Girlee:  What is your best advice for Curlee Girlees, young and older?

Michele:  God doesn’t make mistakes. Love what you’ve got!

Curlee Girlee:  There are 1.6 billion curly haired women in the world today and they overwhelmingly dislike their curls. What would you tell these women to help them realize they are beautiful just as they are?

Michele:  Take the time to explore the wonder of your curls. Your mane does what no one else’s will. When I patiently discovered what made my hair unique, I fell in love with it! Now, I wouldn’t trade my tresses for anyone’s!

Curlee Girlee:  Who are some women that you think are changing the “coarse” of how society views curly hair … your curly role models?

Michele:  America’s nutrition coach and Hairlooms contributor Dr. Ro is one of my role models. She embraces her beauty inside and out and has inspired me to do the same! Her hair is amazing and she takes exceptional care of her body.

Curlee Girlee of the Week: Eva

Eva is 2 1/2 years old and has a 7-month-old sister. She definitely has a great sense of humor and keeps the whole family laughing. Eva really likes to play with Play-doh, have tea parties with her dolls and she really loves to play dress-up. Her favorite part of the book is when she went into her mom’s closet to look for the barrettes.