Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thoughts on frizzy unibrows

Today, the unthinkable happened: My hair straightener broke. The light flickered red for a second and then poof, gone into the infinite abyss. The wand still there but the heat, gone. I jumped up fast and in a half panicked state told the hub, I gotta get to a store and get a new straightener NOW. He looked at me like I was insane but I did indeed drive myself to Target and plunk down $150 for my Chi straightener. The wand in my hand, I felt relieved.

I know this must sound strange. I don't think I'm a vain person. I don't own an expansive wardrobe, I have seven pairs of shoes, and I hardly wear make up, but I need to straighten my hair. Growing up I had frizzy curly hair so unruly my mother kept me in a therapy-inducing boy cut for most of my childhood. When I got older it stayed in a bun or carefully braided lest I walk around school looking like this:
I was what they call an awkward youth, because add to this lovely hair do, my eyebrows which more or less, resembled this:

When I met J he couldn't believe the image I shared of how I once looked. All kids are beautiful he insisted until he took a look at one of my 7th grade pictures. "Oh," is all he said.

Luckily, college introduced me to the beautiful world of hair straighteners and tweezers and I never ever went back. My MIL thought I had naturally straight hair until just a year ago, and I get stopped sometimes by random strangers saying how lucky I am to have such nicely shaped brows. This has all worked out for me, I mean, if I had some issues with my appearance I fixed it with relatively minimal expense and I didn't harm anyone, right?

Except today when I felt that strange panic welling up at the sight of my broken Chi I started thinking, what if my daughter is frizzy haired and unibrowed like me? I want my daughter to believe in her beauty and be confident no matter what. I have a friend who tweezes her baby girl's unibrow but the thought of that makes me feel icky. But then, there's me, plucking and straightening away the very features she may have. How is she supposed to feel about her God given attributes if mommy is willing away those very things on herself? Do as I say, not as I do? A friend once considered getting a nose job but I told her, what if your baby has your nose? Then how will she feel knowing mom was ashamed of that nose? Isn't this the same thing?

It's an interesting thought for me without much of a resolution. I'll love my baby no matter how she looks and I want her to not have the self-esteem and confidence issues I once had. If I can give her one thing its to be proud of who she is. As I look at my warming Chi blinking red, its a question that will nag me for some time to come. What would you do?


  1. Gah - all good questions - I really, really want to raise a confident, self loving daughter - and son.

  2. Well, unibrowness is probably unlikely. But I would be tempted to pluc or wax or something if my daughter had it. If not as a baby, at least when she went to school.
    But I'm hoping for a very curly-haired kiddie - loved my curls as a kid. There are books out there on how to manage your curly hair so that it looks great. You'd probably be stunning if you gave up shampoo and used a ton of the right conditioner, got the right haircut, and avoided hair-dryers etc.
    Of course, it sounds like you enjoy straight hair (I'd look awful with it, since my hair's fine and thin), so I doubt you'll want to make the switch!

  3. not using shampoo? I guess no one ever taught me how to manage curly hair and I never looked into it once I got the straightener. If I could figure out how to wear my hair curly without looking an aging phil spector I really would, at least mix it up, from time to time.

  4. well, i probably wouldn't pluck my baby's eyebrows, but i might take my young child to a hairdresser with a very good reputation and say "make this work for her."

  5. You will love your child no matter what. Webbed toes make me want to gag. Maggie has 2 toes with slight webbing, and I think it's the cutest thing in the world and kiss them every day.

  6. there is a big difference between a nose job and straightening your hair! I think you'll be okay. If your sunflower comes out with curly hair and unibrow, she is still beautiful, and the fact that you are worried about it means that you will help her to see that she beautiful!!

  7. Katery, good idea!

    Shawna, oh yes, ofcourse!! I know I will love her no matter what, I just meant that I hope that I can help her not worry about the issues that I myself worry about if she has them.

    Meg, thanks *hugs* I hope so!

  8. Post-chemo I had really frizzy/curly hair as well & had no idea how to deal with it. My mom & both sisters have curly hair and directed me to this site to find out about the no poo method, etc.

    Most stylists (& people) have no idea how to deal with curly hair, but the Deva cut specializes in making curly hair beautiful, instead of making it look like straight hair as most salons do. You cna find a salon near you at their site:

    More to your larger point however - having a child makes one confront all of one's own insecurities and weaknesses because we want our child to be stronger than we are. But you're right, we have to be willing to love ourselves in order to teach our children to love themselves, especially girls whose self-esteem rivals boys till the age of 13 and then begins to drop off.

    We have to make sure that we accept and love ourselves and present a posiitive role model - not one that is obsessed with calorie counting, shape of one's body or all the way one doesn't measure up to the media image of what women should look like.

    It's an on-going process. We aren;t going to change overnight but the fact that you're already considering these aspects bodes well for a wonderful, thoughtful and open relationship with your child.

    Love to you,

  9. Between Basil & me our child is going to have massive uniborws too, so I totally understand where you're coming from!! :)

  10. Baraka, wow thanks for the advice! I never knew about this! Now I know what I'm going to buy with one of the recent gift cards I've received from Borders. I saw they have a book detailing how to care for curly hair. It would save me so much time. We'll send our kids pictures of each other to help them remember there are other babes sporting unibrows, lol. Though I *think* mine grew in a bit later on in childhood, around 4

  11. I had the EXACT same thing happen to me the other day, my beloved Chi finally bit the dust (after being on the fritz for a week) and my tires burned tracks to Target to replace it. WHEW! Crisis averted.

    I don't really have any wise words about passing along our perceived beauty "flaws" to our kiddos. Don't tell hubby, but I was more worried that if we had a girl, we'd pass along the TREE TRUCK legs that run in his family. ;) I do think that kiddos pick up on our insecurities in all ways (appearances, socially, professionally, etc.). We can't expect ourselves or our children to be 100% confident all the time -- that would be annoying arrogance anyway, I'm sure -- but I think trying to be balanced and handle insecurities in a reasonable way is good modeling for them.