Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!
First things first, my sister got the good hair. It’s long and luxurious and incredibly thick and air dries in perfect waves. She only washes it about twice a week, and the dirtier it gets, the better it looks. She inherited it from my mother, who was born with the same lush, full head of hair, though she spend much of her life at war with it since she came of age in the 1960s when straight hair was en vogue. My mother slept in rollers and ironed her hair, trying to tame its wild waves into something more, to employ a modern term, basic. Eventually she learned to appreciate her mane, especially in her 40s and 50s when it remained a rich shade of chestnut with hardly any gray. My sister also inherited this trait of my mothers: she has no grays. That bitch.
Lest I come off self-pitying, I also have nice hair, but mine requires some work. It has to be washed frequently, coated in a variety of products and coaxed into attractive waves with the help of damaging heat tools. It’s also streaked with gray, a fact which I’m finally learning to embrace a full decade after discovering my first grays. I can still remember staring in the full-length mirror in my Atlanta bedroom horrified, holding a strand of hair which had apparently lost its color in my hand, examining it as if it were the key piece of evidence in a first-degree murder trial. For a long time, I cut my grays short, but when they grew back out, I’d have spiky little straight gray hairs poking out of the top of my head. Now, I let them grow nice and long because honestly who gives a fuck? (I still do a little, if I’m actually being honest.)
While learning to accept the changes in my hair is a relatively new practice, figuring out how to make it more low-maintenance has been a near lifetime journey (until puberty, my hair dried perfectly straight and glossy and framed my face like satin drapes). I used to wash and dry my hair every day then straighten it with a flat iron, a process which took forever and left my hair dry and damaged. Several years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to never again wash my hair two days in a row. It’s the only resolution I’ve actually stuck with, though it can be difficult at times, especially after particularly sweaty workouts (I’m gross). Since I stopped working in an office full-time, however, it’s been easier to wash my hair less (who’s going to judge me if my hair’s greasy — one of the dogs I walk? Actually I think some of them do) because I usually have the time to let it air dry, which I’ve noticed keeps it fresher longer. Air drying my hair also makes it look better, more textured and voluminous, though unlike my sister, I still have to smooth it out with a flat iron so it’s not a ball of frizz. I’ve grown accustomed to going two days without washing my hair and managing to still make it look decent. Sometimes I even go three days, at which point it’s so plastered to my head I look like a Lego.
Or rather I looked like a Lego until a few weeks ago, when I purchased a product that has changed everything. It all began when I was perusing Instagram one night and came across a photo of Dawn O’Porter, one of my favorite social media personalities (though I’m loathe to call her that because she’s not a career influencer but is, in fact, a novelist, which is why she’s an effective influencer) wearing a cute silk wrap on her head. She wrote that this recent purchase of a Silke Hair Wrap had transformed her from an every day hair washer into one of those fabled women (my sister) who only has to wash her hair a couple of times a week. Since I am a) a consumer and b) a woman, I immediately started googling.
What exactly is this little hat supposed to do? Protect your hair from damaging friction (i.e. rubbing against your pillow), which can cause your hair to break or, even worse, get frizzy. It also traps the natural oils your scalp produces and helps circulate them through your hair, which basically means your hair will self-condition and the oils won’t get trapped at the root of your hair, which is what makes it look greasy. After reading about the Silke wrap and perusing a few articles about how all women should absolutely be sleeping with their hair wrapped in silk every fucking night and if you don’t you’ll go bald, it became clear to me that I needed this product immediately.
I wasn’t about to spend $70 I don’t have on a silk cap I’d only just decided I wanted, so I did what any experienced consumer would do: I started to look for sales. I found none but discovered that none other than my least favorite store Anthropologie sold the Silke Wrap. I banned myself from shopping at Anthro (ugh) years ago after buying one too many flouncy dresses (and, full disclosure, a terse exchange with customer service after a pair of shoes I ordered was left outside of my apartment building and, obviously, stolen. They refused to refund me unless I FILED A POLICE REPORT!!!) but still regularly receive gift certificates from family members who unfortunately remember my bangs and petticoat skirts phase. I had one such gift certificate sitting in a drawer (partially used during a recent trip to the 5th Avenue location, where I spent an hour smelling every candle in the store until I finally found one hidden deep in the basement that didn’t immediately give me a piercing headache. I’ve since discovered that if I burn it for more than half an hour, it does indeed give me a piercing headache) so I hauled it out and ordered the headpiece.
And guess what? I fucking love it! Just as my girl Dawn promised, it’s a total and complete game changer. Though I’ve only been wearing it for a few weeks, I already can’t believe it took me so long to start wrapping my hair before bed. Of course, this isn’t an abnormal thing to do, and in fact women with certain hair types have been doing it for centuries, particularly Black women, who always know best when it comes to beauty. Which is precisely why, once I saw Dawn’s post, I became so convinced I needed to start sleeping in silk. If it benefits some hair, why wouldn’t it benefit all hair?
Since I started wearing my Silke Wrap (which is really just a shower cap with a knot on the front. It’s easy to get on, stays on and is comfortable!), I’ve barely washed my hair. I’m talking twice a week, three times max. Not only does my hair look great when I wake up a day after washing, even my third day hair is sleek, voluminous and not at all greasy. It’s currently been three full days since I washed my hair and it looks not only presentable, but good, even after two sweaty workouts (I’m still gross)!
As a woman, it’s so hard to know which must-have products one actually must have since most fashion, beauty and wellness (ugh) writing is not only covertly sponsored but judgmental and condescending. If I spend any time on the internet, I’ll be convinced that I need these wide-leg pants that I know would look terrible on my short, thick legs but still I have to have them! How have gone my whole life without swallowing two tablespoons of powdered turmeric every morning and slathering this $200 serum all over my body? When most recommendations just shame us for foolishly neglecting to spend all our hard-earned money on whatever new product some random company is shilling, how can we tell which items might actually make us look better or, more importantly, make our lives just a little bit easier? I don’t know that answer to that question but I do know that purchasing a silk sleeping cap is worth the investment and if you continue to just sleep with your hair rubbing against a fucking pillow all night you’ll go bald! Just kidding — you’ll be fine! But if you do sleep with your hair wrapped in silk, you’ll almost definitely be able to wash it less frequently and that, in my opinion, is worth the investment. If you, however, were born with perfect, low-maintenance hair/are my sister, keep doing whatever it is you’re doing because honey, you were born with it!
As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares about my hair washing journey. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, Silke Hair Wrap or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!