by Lorraine Massey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Curly Girl / 978-0-7611-2300-2
I've had curly hair all my life, and have only just recently learned that there are books written BY curly girls, FOR curly girls. I first read Teri LaFlesh's "Curly Like Me", and while I was deeply impressed with the deeply scientific explanation of hair, coupled with practical daily tips and overlaid with an incredibly positive message, I was cognizant of the fact that "Curly Like Me" was written for a much different type of curly hair than my own. I turned to "Curly Girl" next, and while I really love this book, I do think that it works best as a complement to "Curly Like Me".
I really like how "Curly Girl" has separated out several different types of curly hair, and explained the differences in hair-care and styling guidelines for each type. And I definitely appreciate Massey's detailed explanations of how to cut hair - even when I'm growing my hair out longer, I still want a trim from time to time, and Massey has perfectly explained how to go about getting the best cut possible. Some of the care instructions seem a little overly complicated, though - the conditioning phase has "tablespoon" after tablespoon of conditioner dollops for every possible angle of approach on your hair; I much preferred LaFlesh's straightforward "fill your entire hand with conditioner, slather it on gently" approach. Works great for me, but I'm afraid that Massey's complicated morning ritual will confuse rather than illuminate.
The "how I learned to love my hair" sidebars are all pretty great, and it's nice to hear from so many curly girls who had similarly painful childhood experiences, but it is a little sad to see several of them note that they still think they look prettier when they comb their hair out straight. Most of those come from minor celebrities, but I wonder why they were included at all. It's honest of them to admit, to be sure, but that sort of thing doesn't help someone who is already struggling with self-acceptance.
Overall, it's hard to criticize "Curly Girl" because, despite it's minor faults, this sort of book is so necessary for the curly community that I'd still recommend it overwhelmingly. I do think it's worthwhile to be paired with "Curly Like Me", so you can get the science with the daily hair care tips, as well as a double-dose of positive affirmation that curly hair is beautiful just the way it is.
~ Ana Mardoll
View all my reviews