- Edition 7, Chapter 9 - 


by Alexander Brebner



Irina Abraham’s 8-year-old son loves his mother’s curly hair. “I think it’s beautiful. It’s like magical hair,” he says. Irina tends to agree, and doesn’t belong to the group of women who grew up trying to conform to the straight-and-narrow. “I always liked curls,” she says. In Belarus where she was raised, “I always saw how girls brushed the hell out of their hair, and it was always a big puff, poodle mess on their head. I figured out pretty early that you shouldn’t brush it. Not when it’s dry. I always thought my hair was something special.”

Irina is an actress and director who has lived around New York for about 12 years. “I’ve tried to talk to actress friends with curls who constantly blow dry, and to me the result is very hay-like, so dry looking.” It frustrates her that people think that curly hair needs to be straight to look presentable and serious, and says, “Honestly, I don’t know exactly what they mean, but I hear it a lot! They say curls are too complicated. They just want to be neat and fit a certain image… I do as well, but it’s just a different image.” Irina rarely straightens hair, “because I feel like it’s so bad for it, and I don’t really like how I look. I just do a ponytail if I have to go to a professional setting.”

The drama in Irina’s life also revolved around hair products. “I tried so many of those natural and moisturizing shampoos, but they still left my hair frizzy. And then I came here a year ago and saw New Wash, and I haven’t used shampoo since. I don’t have to think, ‘Should I wash my hair now? Should I wait three days, use conditioner in between?’ It was really complicated, and it’s so much easier now.” She was also fanatical about conditioning daily to refresh the texture, “Always very careful about how I put it in, let it air dry, and not touching it, not letting anybody touch it.” But since discovering Hair Balm, “I put it in at night and the next day it’s fine, and can still be fine the day after. It’s really good. It makes my life easier.”

I always thought my hair was something special.

For better or for worse, curly hair is, “The thing by which people identify me,” Irina states. But sometimes she wonders, “When I don’t have this hair, what or who am I? Recently a friend of hers needed to practice blow drying. “When I got home, my husband was in sheer terror: ‘What did you do? Why?’ It felt very disconcerting because suddenly, if I don’t have curls, it’s not me anymore?” But it’s all part of the self-discovery any serious actress engages in. In Irina’s opinion, “Everybody has a fight with their hair. It adds so much to your personality and to your image, and I understand why people cut it off entirely sometimes. You just want to see what it’s like as a blank slate.”