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Angela Jamison

Angela Jamison

By Angela Jamison, one of the bulging influx of Austinites Formerly of Dayton, Ohio.

I'm a woman who needs variety. In foods, music and, especially, hairstyles.

I flip back between wearing my hair bone straight or air-dry curly. But that was when I relaxed my locks.

In February 2000, I decided I was a 'slave' to the chemicals and needed to 'emancipate' myself. So I asked my stylist in Dayton, Ohio, to cut it off, down to the healthy, curly roots.

Looking like the rapper Eve, I sashayed out of that shop a natural diva.

Oh, the freedom! The low maintenance.

Each morning, I'd wet my hair in the shower, slab on L'Oreal de-frizzing gel and springing curls mousse, dab on some Avlon moisturizer, and I was good to go. No rollers, no curling irons, no hair spray.

But the novelty of short hair wore off after two months, and I longed for long hair again.

I toyed with the idea of getting braids, but in the swirl of job hunting and moving to a new city, I put the hair decision on the back burner.

After I settled down, I had a grand idea: What if there was a chemical process that would tone down the curls but hold the body when I'd style my hair straight?

Enter Evelyn Jackson, co-owner of the Jackson Ruiz Salon in Austin.

We chatted about my straight/curly idea, and she said it was doable.

On my next visit, she gave me a touch-up with a twist. She brushed on the Arosci relaxer and let it stay on 10-15 minutes, but she didn't straighten the roots. She let them loosen on their own. She rinsed it out and eyeballed the curls, but they were still too tight. She repeated the process and left the relaxer on five more minutes. Ah, just right.

Then she trimmed, blow-dried and styled my do. I was a vision.

That vision lasted all of 24 hours.

In the bustle of airport travel to Ohio to be a bridesmaid, my hair frizzed. Too afraid to try to tweak Evelyn's wizardry, I styled around the puffy halo. Fortunately, the style looked fabulous enough to pose for wedding pictures a few days later.

About week after seeing Evelyn, it was time to go it alone. I washed my hair and blow-dried it, but the results were, um, puffy.

Was it due to my less-than-professional styling skills? Or did my hair require the full straightening press during relaxation? Who knows, but as far as I could tell, the puffy do was here to stay. So I reverted back to my curls.

But I was undeterred.

A few days into the real millennium, I bought a mild perm kit, Just for Me for children, and gave myself a perm. It turned out well.

Then I visited another Austin stylist, Angela Hunt at the Beauty Store and Salon. She deep-conditioned, trimmed and styled my hair. She gave amesome styling pointers (Paul Mitchell's Foaming Pommade, for starters), and I'm back to experimenting with straight styles. And on my lazy days, I go curly.

It took 18 years of running the hair treadmill to see that the only rules I have to follow are the ones I set myself. Better late than never, right?

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