Curly Chronicle - Betsy O'Phelan

Hello Curlies,

I am so excited to revisit our series Curly Chronicles.

Since starting this company I have come into contact with countless inspiring people socially and professionally that really cemented how much larger our curly hair club is. Early on I knew that I could not keep these interactions all to myself and started writing Curly Chronicles which is basically a short form interview for you all to read.

The most wonderful thing about the people I meet is that they come from so many different points of origin. They are a salon owner who has dedicated their life to fighting the good fight for curly hair and hair care or they are social media connections who have shared with us how Jessicurl has changed their life or even people from hair care conferences.

This week I am paying homage to Betsy who is a regular poster and sharer on Facebook and has been using our products for years! I love that her story is a bit different and these stories are really showing me that while yes, we are all very much alike, we still have our differences. And that's awesome. :) Thanks Betsy! :)

Thank you all for being on this curly haired path with us and keep enjoying our products and content!

Your name: Betsy O’Phelan

Tell me about your curly hair journey. Did you always have curly hair, or like many of us, did it go curly at a certain point in your life?

I had slightly wavy hair up until I hit puberty and it suddenly started curling.

When you were a kid, let’s say, under the age of 12, how did you feel about your hair? Did you get along with it?

As a kid, I thought very little about my hair unless it was detangling time. My mother put it in pigtails almost every day until I was in 4th or 5th grade, I think, but it still tangled badly. She didn’t have the heart to deal with it so my poor Dad got the fun job of making me cry.

Did that relationship change at all during your adolescent years?

Oh yes. Once it started becoming curly, I had no idea what to do with it. This was in the mid-80s on Long Island, and people were transitioning from feathered “winged” styles to BIG HAIR looks. That was actually a pretty decent change for me, because there was no earthly way to do wings with my hair, but big? That I could do!

If you fought with your curly hair for a portion of your life, at what age/point in your life did you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

I’m not sure I ever really fought with it much. I suffered frizz and triangle head, and I went through phases where I was jealous of people with straight hair and attempted to straighten it myself (not a good good plan—I’m awful with a blow dryer) but I didn’t go through any prolonged periods of hair hate.

If you always loved and accepted your curls, is there someone in your life that you feel was helpful in helping you with that? If you had to accept them later in life, is there someone who you feel was helpful in accepting/loving your curls then?

That’s a good question. I’m not really sure exactly how I ended up loving my natural hair and curls as much as I do. For several years, I cut my hair super-short (think Natalie Portman) and dyed it bright red. I was living in Manhattan at the time, and when my awesome hairdresser moved to L.A. I ended up growing my hair out and searching for a salon that was good with curly hair. I had a brief interlude at one place where I was pretty happy (and found the stylist who did my wedding hair—a curly updo) and then I heard about Lorraine Massey and started getting my hair cut at Devachan. I think I probably read about it in New York or Time Out magazine. Actually, I guess the Deva approach to styling is what pushed me into the land of curly love. The dry cut, cutting out sulfates and ‘cones, and gently blotting my curls rather than rubbing them with a towel—all of that really made an incredible difference.

When, and in what context did you first hear of Jessicurl?

I was using another line of products and while I liked them, I wasn’t entirely thrilled, so I started looking at the forums for alternatives.

What made you decide to try Jessicurl the first time?

People on the forum gave great reviews, and I loved your back story. And honestly, your gorgeous curls! If you looked that good using your products, I figured they were worth a shot.

What did the packaging look like when you first used Jessicurl? How did that affect your opinion of it?

It was the dark green translucent plastic. It looked just “cult internet product” enough to be intriguing.

Clearly, since you’re being featured on my blog, you liked the products and have continued to use them. :) What was different about them and what made you keep coming back to them?

Too Shea! is pretty much the best conditioner I’ve ever used. It just melts right into my hair and makes it so soft, without weighing it down. And the combination of Rockin’ Ringlets and Confident Coils just gives my curls the perfect amount of hold, definition, and frizz protection without making them stiff or crunchy. And I really love the Island Fantasy scent. It makes me happy every shower.

How has your relationship with your hair changed or evolved during your time using Jessicurl products?

I think it’s just improved as it’s gone along. I rarely have a bad hair day anymore, and if I do it’s usually because I got distracted and didn’t do something I normally do (like blowing my hair half dry and then realizing I never put any product in. Oopsie.)

Please tell me whatever else you’d like me to know about you and your hair and your experience with it.

The combination of your products and my years of experimentation and knowledge-gathering about curly styling has really done great things for my hair. Other curlies often stop me and ask what products I use, and I absolutely always sing your praises and give them your URL!

I will never grow tired of talking to and meeting people like Betsy that have had to endure the curly hair and hair care struggle and have used our products to help. Thank you Betsy!