August 2008: Therapist Dr. Lori Buckley

If you went to a doctor's office, would you expect to find great hair? Perhaps it would belong to someone at the reception counter, or even one of the nurses. But some doctors can have top-quality styles as well. Somehow a Hair Fan found one such doctor, working in "sex and relationship therapy" in southern California - and when we were introduced to her, others liked what they saw.

DR. LORI BUCKLEY has a practice in Pasadena. But she's beginning to gain national attention, through an Internet podcast series called "On the Minds of Men." Her topics are strictly for adults, but can be fun for couples -- and on occasion downright playful. But the doctor's curls are what captivated voters in Super-Hair Wars, as they made her a 2008 undefeated champion. Buckley never knew about it until we contacted her. But she was honored -- and willing to talk with us by phone about everything from hair, to the psychology which can be behind it:

SUPER-HAIR: Have you checked our web site to see what was written about you, and what did you think of it?

DR. LORI BUCKLEY: I did check it.... I thought it was great! (laughs) It was a surprise. I hadn't heard about your web site. But you know, as you can imagine, someone with hair like me - it's a love/hate relationship. So to get positive recognition for my hair is a wonderful thing.

S-H: How do you mean a love/hate relationship?

LB: When I grew up, it was not cool to have curly hair. It was the days of - not to date myself too much - but The Partridge Family. So there was Susan Dey, and Peggy Lipton in The Mod Squad. (laughs) Do you know who I'm even talking about?

S-H: Straight stuff! Yes, I know very well....

LB: Straight, straight hair. It was not OK, so I grew up wearing my hair in braids.... now I grew up in southern California. I would wear all the time one of those knit winter hats....

S-H: Kind of grungy, huh?

LB: Flattened down with my braids. Everything so my hair wouldn't show. My curly hair wouldn't show.

S-H: Sounds like you were grungy before grunge was cool.

LB: Yeah, exactly! (Laughs) My mother was a hairstylist - actually a pretty well-known hairstylist. And she would always want to puff it up, pouf it up, and I would never want her to touch my hair. I said, "No, no! I want it flat." And I didn't want it to be curly. So it's really only been within the last 10-15 years, really, that I've embraced my curls. So it felt pretty good - and even up until maybe a couple of years ago, I really always felt sexier if I would have it blown out straight.

S-H: So you have done that - you've tried the straight look?

LB: I have, yeah - and you know what? It's just been really recently, within the past year, that the last couple of times I did it, that I realized I didn't like it. And I thought: you know, I'm not going to do that anymore. So I don't want to say never - but it's not something that I think I'm going to do very often.

S-H: How would you describe the sort of curls you have now?....

LB: How do I describe my curls? That's a hard question - well, I would say very curly hair. Very curly. My hair actually - it's like I have a lot of hair, because I have a lot of curls, but there's really a lot of air inside there (laughs). My hair is actually pretty fine. I don't have a whole lot of it, but my curls definitely give me the look of having a lot more hair than I have. But I would say lots of ringlets.

S-H: Comparing the picture that we've seen on your web site with the podcasts, the video podcasts - the hair looks a bit bigger in the podcasts. Is it just me, or -- the curls look more defined in that picture on the web site. Is that fair to say?

LB: It just depends on how I choose to do it. Sometimes I'll do it that way, and I think that's how it was on the picture on the web site, where if I just don't touch it, I let it dry and I don't do anything, then I have - it's much less pouffy and it's defined. And sometimes I like to wear it like that. But I tend to like to pouf it out a little bit - so after it's all dry, because you have to let it dry. The big secret if you have curly hair: if you mess with it while it's wet, then it gets frizzy.

So I let it dry, and it's all very nice and smooth and everything - and then oftentimes I'll just take my fingers and kind of rump it all up. Or sometimes I'll just take a blow-dryer, and turn it on, and just kind of blow it through my curls to make it pouf out a little bit more. It tends to look a little bit better, I think, on camera. (Laughs) So I do that....

S-H: I was going to ask what sort of routine you did to ger ready, say, for a typical day at the office. And is that different from what you do for a videotaping? For a video podcast, or something like that?

LB: For a day in the office, I will, oftentimes I'll just put my hair in - I shouldn't say this; this is bad for the hair web site - but sometimes I'll just put my hair back in a ponytail, in a scrungy or a rubber band. And it's kind of a loose ponytail, so you still have my curls flying all over the place. But it's just a little bit more subdued, a little bit more professional, I think. But sometimes I'll wear it down, too. And when I am on camera, whether it's for a podcast or a video, typically I will wear it down.

S-H: Now you have your program On the Minds of Men - and how long have you been a therapist? How long have you done this sort of job you're doing?

LB: I've been doing therapy now for about - eight years!?

S-H: Do you find that great hair is on the minds of men? Or do they think about other things?

LB: Ohhh, they think about other things, definitely. However, I will say that I get a lot of comments from men about my hair. So there's something, I think, about hair that can be very sexy. And I think when it doesn't look - and I think this is probably true for most men, they feel this way - if it doesn't look too done, it just kind of looks free and natural, I think men tend to like that a little bit more. But I wouldn't say it's the first thing on most men's minds - and as we know, that's.... (both laugh)

As we know, everybody has different likes. So we all have our thing. Some it will be hair, some it will be feet, some it may be boobs, some legs - everyone has their thing that they're attracted to.

S-H: In our Hair Headlines section, we do have links to a couple of articles that talk about men who develop fetishes or obsessions with women's hair. Have you encountered anything like that in your years of therapy? What do you think of people who have that sort of thing?....

LB: I'm a sex therapist.... and I definitely see men with fetishes. But I have not encountered, or at least to my knowledge (laugh), anyone with a hair fetish.... Definitely they're out there, but I have not personally worked with one.

S-H: Do you think curly hair would be sexier looking than straight hair, or does it make a difference?

LB: Here's what I've concluded - that we just are more ourselves, and whatever makes us feel comfortable, is probably sexier than trying to make our hair something that it isn't. And I've done that.... and there were years where I couldn't go to the beach because I would blow-dry my hair straight, and if I would go to the beach, it would curl up or get frizzy. So I couldn't do that. I couldn't walk in the rain.... I was always worried about my hair, and what it was going to do or not do. But now that I have embraced my curls and let myself just be natural and go with what I was born with, it's very liberating and I think that can be sexy. To just feel comfortable with who we are.

And I'm not saying we shouldn't do things to our hair, 'cause it's fun to change the cut or change the color and have fun with our hair. I think that's a good thing. But we want to just feel comfortable and not have it be such a focus - and I think that's sexy.

S-H: If you don't mind my asking: are you married?

LB: I ammmm.... not legally married. (Laughs)

S-H: Does your significant other like the way you do your hair? And does your significant other consider it a sexy look?

LB: Yeah, he does not like it when I wear my hair straight. Doesn't like it at all. But I have friends who are men who - I've had a couple who say they really like it when it's straight. But more often than not, people like it better when it's curly.

S-H:  what is the biggest challenge you face keeping your hair in good shape and looking good, keeping it well done, in the course of a day? You make it sound like humidity is a big problem.

LB: Well, not anymore. When I wear it curly, it's not. So now I wear it curly 98 percent of the time.... I think actually the fortunate thing about having curly hair is that I literally can wash it, and that's it. I don't have to do anything to it. Except you've got to have product. Product is the key! (Laughs) So that makes a big difference. But I wouldn't say.... I mean, I have bad hair days like everybody else.

S-H: What sort of product do you use? I'll let you give 'em a free plug.

LB: I don't know if I should give them a free plug. I think they should have to pay me if I give them.... (both laugh) I kind of play with different things. But a couple of things I use that I really like - I like Paul Mitchell sculpting foam. That tends to work really well. And I also like Phyto Frizz-On.... and those are two products that I like to use in my hair.

S-H: Now one thing that we admire at Super-Hair is women who can keep their hair in place and out of their face, out of their eyes, no matter what. Are you able to do that, or have you had problems with that over the years?

LB: Huh - that's an interesting question! No matter what? What do you mean by that?

S-H: I mean windy days, humid days, when the pressure's on....

LB: There are times when I have to.... you know, push my hair off my face a little bit. Yeah, there are times that a curl will fall into my, (laughs) fall over my eye, or something so I push it back a little bit. I don't use hairspray.

S-H: Oh, you don't?!

LB: I don't use hairspray. I don't think that there's anything wrong with hairspray. I think it can be a good thing. But I just don't like to use it.

S-H: So what advice would you give someone who wanted to have great-looking curls - just to kind of sum up - and have good hair day in and day out, like you're talking about?

LB: OK, so if you have curly hair, here are some tips that I have learned over the years. And one of the most important things is, you don't wash your hair every day. You can wet it; as a matter of fact, I think it's a good thing. So.... pretty much almost every day I'll wet it and I'll put a conditioner on it, because then it doesn't get all knotted up. But I don't use shampoo. I only use shampoo, probably like once a week.

S-H: Interesting....

LB: Because people with curly hair, their hair tends to be dry. So when we wash it all the time with shampoo, it tends to dry it out. So I don't use shampoo on it very often -- but always condition it. Always condition it. Very important. The other things is that you absolutely have to use product. Really important - and that's what defines your curls. And you know, I think everybody has different kinds of curls. Some women have really thick curls, and some have really ringlet-y curls, like mine. And so you have to find what works best for you. So sometimes you have to do a lot of experimenting.

Once you get out of the shower, and your hair is really wet, put the product in, and you comb it through -- and then you don't do anything. You cannot -- I'm sure everybody knows this who has curly hair. At least I hope so. If not, then we're gonna end like men - and you absolutely cannot mess with your hair while it's drying. You can use a diffuser if you want.... with a blow-dryer. But other than that, you've just got to let it be and let it dry. And if you do that, there's no frizz.

And one more thing: when you sleep, to put it up in like a scrunchy or something, so it doesn't get all knotted up. Because curly hair can get really knotted, especially if you have long curly hair.

S-H: And that's how you have what one of our readers commented: you have "the golden fleece." They actually used a Jason and the Argonauts reference to describe your blonde hair.

LB: What did he say??

S-H: You have the golden fleece (Buckley laughs).... We have some very literate readers on our web site. (Both laugh)

LB: I think it's really cool to be on your web site! I love it.... it's kind of fun.

S-H: Well, thank you. One other question we want to ask - we like to ask the women we interview: who do you think has the best head of hair out there? Could be a celebrity, could be just a friend of yours....

LB: That's a good question! You know, of course we always tend to admire what we don't have. So I'm trying to think of someone specific - but when I see people who have like, you know, short straight hair, I think it's so cute. (Laughs) Really short straight - kind of like punky kind of hair, I think that's really, really cute. I like Katie Holmes's new hairdo. So yeah, I tend to really be drawn to the type of hair that I don't have.

SUMMARY: We're not sure exactly who made curls fashionable for women after the 1970s, but we'd like to thank them - because they helped give us Dr. Buckley's great golden display. We especially like her advice to learn to accept the hair you have, then develop it from there. With this doctor, the result is hair that's free and natural - yet from what we've seen, her hair also is able to stay under control and look good when she lets it show. Whether you're male or female, we hope Super-Hair is on your mind on a regular basis.


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