Welcome To This Space

Oct 4, 2023

Wavy friend,

I’m so glad you’re here. Can we just start with that? 

Seven years ago, when I started a little Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to share my wavy hair transformation from frizzy to easy (among my many wins and struggles!) with the world, I couldn’t begin to imagine the impact my lessons would create—in my own life, and in so many others. 

At that time, it seemed everyone was just starting to play with wearing their natural texture: coily, curly, wavy, beachy… When texture began showing up on models in magazines and catalogs, I knew this was a trend that would last a little while.

But being a wavy is different. We don’t have do-nothing hair.

Where our friends with persistent curls or naturally straight hair are truly able to do a lot less to bring their style together, wavies (and also you, my type 4 coily friends) often must dig a little deeper into styling and care efforts to more closely resemble the hair types on either side of our pattern. 

Today, I’m a content creator in the wavy/curly hair space, a hands-on wavy/curly hair stylist in Dallas, Texas, and an avid educator to consumers and fellow stylists alike because I truly believe that if you know how something works, you can make it work for you. That includes your hair.

I often tell my clients (and my kids) that hair is a notoriously difficult thing to care for. It just is, always. No matter who you are. But heavily edited social posts and magazine models imply that shiny, smooth curls and waves are effortless to achieve. They tend to skip over all the behind-the-scenes stuff. 

Granted, there are a few ‘unicorns’ out there who do wake up with perfect hair, but not only are they few and far between, their perception of what is acceptable for a regular day or a workday might differ greatly from your own. And—this is important—where you live matters, too. You’ll understand what I mean by that later.

In March of 2016, I started on my own wavy path. And I do mean ‘wavy’ in every sense of the word.

I had been through years of hating my hair. Living in vastly different environments. Highlighting it. Coloring it. Flat ironing it. And then having a couple babies…well, that’ll change everything, because hormones change everything. I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to change something about my hair so that I would like it. But then I remembered college, where I started “borrowing” a roommate’s hair product, a since-discontinued gel sort of thing, but I didn’t really know why anyone would use a gel. She swore it made her hair curly, so I gave it a go. 

And I loved it. 

So I thought, maybe I can get that back. I had broken down and bought my own bottles of that magic gel, which I used off and on for years. It did work especially well when I lived on the east coast near the beach, where beachy hair is acceptable just about everywhere. I dug out my old gel in my new landlocked home and hoped for the best. 

It was just ok. But why?

What I didn’t know then that I do know now were the vast considerations about what makes hair act the way it does. Water is probably the biggest difference-maker I didn’t understand back then. The quantity of water in the air, aka humidity (dew point is a more accurate measurement than the relative humidity percentage), and the type of water we wash with (hard vs. soft). 

I learned that hair is basically a needy tropical plant.

It needs daily watering. And things like daily conditioning and occasional deep treatments and sometimes layers of styling products to keep that water from evaporating so quickly. 

It needs time to heal. When I tried to get my hair to just suddenly act like its young college self, it presented me with a, “b*tch, please,” sort of response I had not expected. It was dehydrated and damaged and I hadn’t the faintest idea what to do about it. Or where to even start.

So I tried everything. I kept spreadsheets cross-referenced with pictures that detailed what I had done on particular wash days and how it turned out, how it lasted over multiple days. I noticed how my hair felt or reacted when I used a certain product, and if it had the same reaction when I used a different product with the same key ingredients. I learned about formulation, what certain ingredients brought to the table, and about how the front of the bottle doesn’t always tell the whole story about what’s in the bottle. 

So when I finally started seeing what I considered success (although, still not consistency) with my wavy hair, I thought there might be some other people out there like me who could benefit from what I pieced together. An Instagram account was born, with a YouTube channel soon to follow. Real life+curly girl, as I was known, apparently was not alone in the wavy hair space, and soon tens of thousands of other wavies and curlies showed up, eager to talk hair wins and fails and the sciencey stuff behind it all.

But I know that my way isn’t for everyone. 

People want good hair that is fast, and with minimal effort. 

What does it take to achieve that?

It’s the question I’m always asking myself. Recently I conducted a little informal research in my Instagram Stories about why someone would ‘leave’ the wavy/curly lifestyle. Now, I don’t believe in wearing the same hairstyle for years and years on end, and I do think of hair as an accessory we should all have fun with. But I also know that damage is really hard to bounce back from. So when many of my curl-friends shared that they had adopted a more blended approach to wearing their waves and curls, I had to dig into the ‘why.’

I studied their responses and started to see a pattern emerge. For those on the on-again off-again wavy fence, commitment to the wavy life came down to three factors: speed, consistency, and quality

It’s been a few weeks since, and these factors have stuck with me. They’re absolutely universal, no matter your hair texture. Aren’t those factors the guarantees we want out of everything? Clothing. Food. Shelter. Friendship. Work. Down time. Relationships. 

We want to know it’s going to work consistently, work quickly, and work well, every time. Letting my mind ruminate on this subject—when it comes to hair—has been eye opening. 

There are no guarantees in life, but that’s what we really want: To look in the mirror every single day and consistently like what we see. I’ve heard that the way we feel about our hair is second only to body image. 

While I can’t guarantee I can make you like what you see in the mirror, it remains my goal—today, as it was seven years ago and ever since—to help you understand what you’re working with, so you can make it work for you.

Achieving speed, consistency, and quality are all relatively doable in varying quantities. It’s like a three-way seesaw; you sort of have to pick one, and the other two will fall into place, but in lesser quantities. Be on the lookout for an upcoming class where you’ll learn how to achieve all three using the right tools, products and techniques to more consistently get you to acceptable washdays and refresh days. This class isn’t just for those of us on the struggle bus with our waves, but also for those just needing a refresher or even confirmation you’re on the right track. 

The last bit I’ll contribute to this monster article is this: At the root of everything is frizz, and our ability to tolerate it (or not). 

In the textured hair world, ‘frizz’ is truly our f-word. 

The waviest wavies and curliest curlies are the most susceptible to it. Myriad clever solutions have been invented—some in existence for thousands of years—to help those hairs get in line, to disguise natural texture as something smoother and more controlled. But not everyone knows what they are and how to execute them. So I’d urge you to take my frizz quiz to diagnose your own, and then download my frizz flow chart to help you identify the root cause (see what I did there) to defeat your frizz problem once and for all.

These tools, my classes, in-person education and private sessions, product recommendations, and free content across my social platforms are all designed to help you be your best wavy/curly self. Explore them. Use them. They’re made for you, to help you be more of yourself.

I do believe that when you stop fighting how you were made, something wonderful happens. 

Mirrors, magazines and media haven’t done us any favors when it comes to accepting our whole selves. But I can’t do away with those, and I don’t know that I would, given the chance. What I can do is show you you’re incredible as you are, and give you the power to transform a seemingly small but magnificent piece of you: Your waves and curls. Just as you were made.

Welcome, dear curl-friend, to Alyson Lupo

New here? Introduce yourself! How do you hope to transform your waves?

All my wavy-curly love,

Alyson

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