Take a walk down memory lane with me, if you will. The year is 2006, and the only media representations with my 3a/b hair type are Hermione Granger and Mia Thermopolis, both of whom straighten their hair to become "desirable." Every women's magazine counsels those with puffy, frizzy hair to invest in flat irons and smoothing products to look "polished" and "presentable," implying that instead of embracing our hair, we should white-knuckle it into submission. 'Twas a dark time until I found Lorraine Massey's life-changing "Curly Girl Handbook" and the tool that revolutionized my curls.
The Curly Girl Method is common now, but as I was heading into the eighth grade, the only options I knew for styling curls were mousse and more mousse (and I had it easy, compared to the often-painful methods Black women go through). Crunchy, wet-look curls were often unavoidable, as were teasing classmates who compared my hair to ramen noodles, the cruel children. So Massey's book was a revelation, detailing the concept that put happy curls within reach with a couple of products and techniques.
To me, the most groundbreaking tip was to detangle curls loaded with conditioner in the shower with a wide-toothed comb. Doing so skirted the deeply painful snarl-brushing session that my parents would sit me down for after showers, and an easy follow-up routine of leave-in conditioner and gel left my hair looking and feeling good (although it took years to outgrow the tic of trying to smooth it down with my hands every other minute).
Shop now: $7; amazon.com
Sixteen years have passed since I first found the "Curly Girl Handbook" in Barnes and Noble, but this all came flooding back to me last weekend as I double-masked up and went for my first haircut in months. In a real full-circle moment, I headed to Massey's new New York City salon and got to see the master at work. And when I left with bouncy, non-triangular long layers, I was deeply thankful for two things: One, that Massey exists, and two, that with the help of a $2 comb in my shower, I can replicate salon-worthy curls any day of the week.
Have I had the same comb in my shower for 16 full years? Yes, yes I have, and it looks identical to these on Amazon, which are three for $7. As shoppers agree, the teeth are wide enough that they reduce the amount of snags and breakage that curls are prone to, and it easily wiggles through knots and tangles, leaving peace and harmony in its wake. Put this comb in the UN.
Thanks to the curved hook on the end, it takes up next to no space in my miniscule, cluttered shower. There've been times when I've strayed to other combs just to experiment, but I always come back to the original's pain-free guarantee. I have multiple blow dryers and hot brushes on hand in case I ever want to go straight, but the comb makes having curls so pretty and easy, I truly don't feel the urge. Maybe it's leftover guilt from using one of those wet-to-dry flat-irons in my youth, or the wave of incredible brands in the curly space, but I'm perfectly content.
Shop the essential comb for curly hair on Amazon.