curly hair

I am clearly a curly girl. It’s a fact that I fought most of my childhood, but I’ve come to embrace as an adult. What you may not know about having curly hair is how ostracizing it can feel. Society tells us that straight hair is sexy; sleek is better; fake big barrel curls are the only ones desirable. To be wavy is alright as long as you are going for boho chic, but if not, curls like mine need to be tamed.

I refuse to be tamed. Here are my thoughts on why…

As a child, my hair was absolutely unruly. My parents both have straight hair and weren’t sure what to do with mine. So they shampooed it like crazy and brushed it all the time, leaving me with a frizzy, dry, “afro puff” (or so the kids called me). I am fortunate for one thing though – it was the late ’80s. I fit right in at that time.

Things quickly got out of control (and by things, I mean my hair.) It was constantly tangled, frizzy, and unruly. It did it’s own thing no matter how hard I fought it (or maybe because of how hard I fought it). If you’re thinking I’m exaggerating, the mother of one of my best friends, who had known me since childhood, told me (many years later) that she spent hours straightening her daughter’s hair every day when she was little specifically so that her hair wouldn’t look as bad as mine. Though that hurt to hear, I can understand her point.

Living with curly hair has not been easy. I spent the first 12 years of my life fighting against it, crying because I wished I looked like the other girls with beautiful silky straight hair. If you remember the early 90’s at all, you’ll think bowl cuts for boys and short coifs for girls. It was a nightmare. Cutting my hair short resulted in what I’ve aptly named “triangle head.” The only way to manage my hair was to keep it long and hope for the best. No matter what, I never felt like I fit in. And those of us who remember early childhood know how desperately we all ached to fit in because of how lonely and cruel life was if we didn’t.

Of all the years, middle school was definitely the worst for me and my hair. I used to brush it back into a pony tail every day. I didn’t feel I had a choice. I looked around me and saw beautiful straight hair on everyone. There was no place for me; no place for my curls. I started watching makeover shows on TV and guaranteed if one walked in with curly hair, she walked out “transformed” into someone more beautiful with straightened hair. What kind of message does that send?

It was during this period that my mind eventually changed. Finally Hollywood had a female lead with curly hair in the form of Felicity, the name of the lead with curly hair and the show. Keri Russell, the actress who played Felicity, had beautiful, long curly hair. She was gorgeous and admired. She didn’t try to be something she wasn’t.  It changed my mind about everything. I decided at that point to go against the norm. I was going to figure out my curly hair, and make it beautiful. What a process I was in for…

By my freshman year of high school I was embracing my curl, but I wasn’t sure how to get my curls defined and shiny. Every day was a battle. I was still using a brush or a pick at this point, at the advice of my hairstylist (a straight haired woman). No matter what my hair looked like, I always pulled it back because I didn’t feel confident that it looked good. It was a start though, even attempting to wear it curly.

By the end of high school, things were looking up. I had thrown away my hairbrush. Let me repeat myself for those of you with curly hair, I THREW AWAY MY HAIR BRUSH! I was only washing/conditioning my hair 2-3 times a week: an essential difference in hair care for curly haired people. I started using a leave in conditioner daily to help smooth out frizz and keep my curls defined and healthy.

It wasn’t until college, though that I truly found my groove, aka the products and practices that changed my curls forever. So here is my secret…

THE PRODUCTS:

I shampoo my hair once a week with Diva Curl’s No-Poo. It has no astringent in it, so it keeps healthy oils in my hair.

Then, I condition 2-3 times a week with Diva Curl’s One Condition. It helps bring moisture back into my hair.

I use Bed Head’s Ego Boost daily to add moisture to my hair and to control fly aways.

Next, I use Fructis’ Curl Shaping Spray Gel after my leave in conditioner on days I wash my hair to hold my curls together.

Last, I use KMS Curl Up Curl Balm to get tighter curls.

THE PROCESS:

I never brush my hair. In the shower when my hair is wet, I comb through it with my fingers while shampooing or conditioning. Then, I leave it alone. Next, I rinse out conditioner gently, then immediately apply leave in conditioner, followed by spray gel. I gently pat my hair with a towel to remove excess moisture, then apply the curling balm. Lastly, I scrunch until I’m satisfied that my curls are complete and allow my hair to air dry. Once dry. I scrunch to remove the hardened gel look, to make my curls soft and bouncy.

On days I don’t wash my hair. I wet my hands with water and add leave in conditioner. Then, I tame fly aways and redefine curls.

And it’s all for this…

and this…

It’s about confidence. It’s about helping other people find how to love themselves as they are. It’s about embracing what God has given me and sharing it with others.

Can you relate to hating part of yourself because it’s not what society tells us is beautiful?

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6 thoughts on “curly hair

  1. You must really be proud of the fact that you can NOW have shorter hair with curls and not look like “triangle head”. You poor thing!

    I am surprised you didn’t get to the point as an eight year old or so that you didn’t throw temper tantrums until you were taken to expert curl stylists of Phoenix (or maybe New York, LA). :)

    My best friend growing up had curly hair too. I always liked her hair because mine is paintbrush straight (my mother’s term, not mine). We usually want what we can’t have.

    Your hair looks great now, no matter how you wear it (curly or straight), glad you are finally happy.

  2. i’m right there with you on the curly-hair thing. as i’ve gotten older my hair has lost some of it’s curl, but in school i would fight the curls by brushing and trying to straighten it with a curling iron. NOT good! i really need to hit up beauty brands for some no-poo – i really think it would help my hair stay healthier, curly or not!

    your gorgeous, keep rockin’ those curls! :)

  3. I absolutely LOVE the way your hair looks in that last photo. You’ve gone through such a huge transformation! I’m so happy you’ve embraced your curls and found a way to make them work for you. I remember the “poofy” days =) I still thought you were cool… whatever that means to a 3rd grader. Haha.

  4. What an interesting article. Your hair is beautiful, you know. I have curly hair, to a certain extent, (not nearly as curly as yours) enough to make it NOT behave the way I want it to:-) I’ve had people mention my pretty waves (mostly in back, so I don’t see them).

    My hairstylist, one time when she was going to be gone for a couple weeks, gave me some stuff to try the “scrunch” style but I didn’t dare try it (chicken).

    A girl I used to work with must do that with her hair and it always looks so nice. I might still try it sometime.

    Love,
    Grama

  5. I found your post from Heather’s Dish and I love it!

    I did the same thing in middle school with brushing back my hair and putting it in a pony tail. Of course then my pony tail was just frizz, and kids would make fun of me. I remember once walking home from school, a group of kids in the grade above me making fun of my hair, and actually “bouncing” my pony tail with their hands to make it fluffier. I was so ashamed that my hair was not straight.

    I’m definitely more content with my curls now, and I love when I get compliments on my hair. It makes me feel so good.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. Heather from Heather’s Dish sent me over. Bless your heart. You have hair pretty much like I do. My one advantage is that BOTH of my parents had curly hair, so at least my momma knew not to have me wash my hair more than once a week. I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, and let me tell you–there wasn’t a curl in sight on most girls’ hair. I would watch the cheerleaders (who were the cool girls, anyway) toss their long straight hair and wish for hair just like that. While that will never happen, I do have a fabulous hair stylist and my sweet husband gives me a year’s worth of her styling my hair straight every week for Christmas each year. I love it. I wore my curls for 50 years, so I’m taking a few years of having it straight before I embrace the curls once again (the gray in my hair–which is colored–only makes it coarser and more difficult–sorry for that piece of info). Yay for the products out now! By the way, my daughter uses coconut oil in her hair (yes, she’s a curly girl, too, and it is wonderful for hydrating the curls). Thanks for the post. Curly girls unite!

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