Saturday, January 17, 2009
Dear Lorraine Massey
There's no question that author Lorraine Massey started a curly-hair movement that's not only proven to make hair healthier but also to make it look better. But I can't help but feel her book, Curly Girl, has given us just enough information to be dangerous -- and frustrated. So, Lorraine, if you're out there, please read on:
Dear Lorraine Massey,
First, a big "thank you" for your book and your philosophy of curly hair care. My hair has never looked better!
I see that you are very busy launching new salons and products and so you probably won't have time to read this letter, but I thought I'd try anyway because you seem like a genuinely nice person who wants to help people feel better about themselves.
The big question on every curly's mind is: Why don't you update your book?
Perhaps you feel an update is not necessary. But surely it must be, if for no other reason than the fact that Curly Girl tells us to avoid silicones -- and yet Deva Curl products contain them. I would think you'd want to explain this glaring contradiction and yet you are amazingly silent on this point. Would the science only serve to confuse us? The silence confuses us more.
I mean, you don't even have a Web site or a blog where you talk about this. What's up with that?
Now, I am a writer myself and I know that the publishing industry sucks and that book royalties aren't even enough to keep a cat in kitty litter, so maybe you're just trying to steer clear of the broken industry known as publishing. Okay, I can accept that. But I also know your book is doing a hell of a lot better than mine, so maybe an update could prove lucrative, after all.
If, since your book came out in 2002, advances in cosmetic science have resulted in silicones that don't smother hair or require sulfates to remove them, we'd love it if you'd tell us. If you're waiting for the beauty industry to explain this to us, I think we all know that's pretty unlikely. The beauty industry wants us to be as ignorant as possible so we'll keep grasping for the latest new product, hoping it will be our Holy Grail. They get richer while we remain desperate yet eternally hopeful.
And really, if I wasn't so grateful for your book, I'd suspect that you've joined the industry in this mercenary approach to customer attention. A steady stream of new products come out under your label, but where is the real outreach to us? I was under the impression that the only way to reach you was to hand over the equivalent of a mortgage payment for a haircut from you -- but now I've heard that you don't even cut hair anymore! Is this true? We need to hear from you!
Your book is great but let's face it, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered:
1. I'm a Botticelli type. So now what? How should that categorization affect how I care for my hair?
2. The book says leave-ins are a waste of time (page 49). Yet B'Leave In is among the products in your DevaCurl line. Can you explain this discrepancy?
3. You're kidding with those clipping photos, right? Have they helped anybody figure out how to clip their hair? How about posting some videos? We know you know how to do videos -- there are several (entertaining) ones out there promoting your products. Please help us!
4. Why are there silicones in your products?
5. The book doesn't make any mention of the fact that terrycloth towels rough up the cuticle, a fact that you mention in various interviews after the book came out. This is an important point but nobody will get it unless they take the time to do research above and beyond what's in the book.
It's hard for any nonfiction book to stay relevant and accurate, but that's where the Internet can fill the gaps. So, if you can't or won't update your book, won't you please consider blogging at the very least? We're hungry for information out here in Curlyland.
Keepin, the curly faith,