Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Holy Grail Syndrome

Here are a few uncomfortable thoughts many of us have about our hair, especially at the start of our naturally curly journeys:

I covet [Jane Doe's] perfectly formed curls
I covet tighter curls
I covet looser curls
I long for root volume  [I suffered this one]
I long for “hang” rather than volume
I loathe frizz
I want shine [or more shine]
If only my hair were softer
If only my hair could …

It's natural to appreciate what others have, or what we don't have. It's natural to have hair envy sometimes. But an unhealthy extreme is Holy Grail Syndrome. HGS is not to be confused with a simple, casual mention of a “holy grail” product. A holy grail label in itself isn't problematic and can be an exaggerated way to describe a product that is especially suitable to a particular head of hair.

Here are the problematic symptoms of the syndrome I call HGS:

Obsessively searching for the “perfect” product or hair care method.
A constant need to attain or maintain “perfect” curls. (Agitation or upset when hair is mildly “off”)
Excessive time/energy/money spent researching and buying product and equipment
Repeatedly discovering a so-called HG product, followed by dismay when it stops working
Daily complaints or negative thoughts about hair

HGS is as crappy as "flat-iron affliction" or being "straight-struck" because HGS involves a lack of acceptance of one's natural curls. Obsessively chasing after holy grail products fails because nothing in life, including hair, is perfect.

Practical advice: If you have to throw a bucket of products at your hair to get it to look a certain way, your hair probably wasn't meant to look that way and it will let you know because all those products will stop working the way you want them to. You could also suffer build up or protein overload as a result.

General advice: Holy grail chasing is expensive and elusive. If you're obsessing about your hair, consider where you'd place all that energy and all those thoughts if you had no hair to obsess about.


  1. Totally on point with this blog entry. When I first started "going curly" I tended to overuse products. Now, I just co-wash, tousle, and apply hairspray. I find the curls are a lot better.

  2. So glad to hear you found a basic routine that satisfy your curls! I bet your curls look lovely :) Thanks for dropping in and sharing your experience.