If you’ve ever met me, you know I have some pretty crazy curly hair. Coming from parents of different backgrounds, it was probably a guessing game as to what my hair would look like. My mother has gorgeous thick black hair, and my father has tight black spirals atop his head. My sister got thick gorgeous straight hair like my mother, and I got the curly locks that no one else in my family has.
They say you always want what you can’t have, and in this case, I find that to be very true. Straight hair seemed more beautiful and style-able than the curly mop I was sporting. My sister had the hair type I envied! How did she end up with the perfect, luscious, commercial-worthy hair? She had endless style options and could roll out of bed, throw it up in a bun and look flawless. I, on the other hand, could not roll out of bed without an extensive ritual to control the half-flattened mess that is my bed head.
After being told by a close friend that the pigtail braided hairstyle I had so carefully chosen looked like wads of poop, I turned to the only thing I thought would make me beautiful: flat ironing. I straightened and straightened my hair. I loved going to school looking like all the other girls in my grade. I loved being able to put my hair up in a pony tail and having it look long and graceful instead of a bush of exploding hair on the back of my head. I can’t imagine the amount of damage I was doing to my hair by applying so much heat! I even went through a phase of just straightened side bangs and leaving the rest curly. (It was not pretty!)
I never truly appreciated my hair, despite the countless compliments I would get from any adult who saw me. I always wanted it to look different. I was always looking for different things to do to it. I would dye it, straighten it, and I even tried pin curls (a slightly bigger curl than my tight spirals that my mother would make possible by Bobby pinning my wet hair the night before). Despite my mother’s constant protests to this, and her reminders that my hair was beautiful and unique, I couldn’t stand it. What they don’t tell you about curly hair: while it is very pretty and unique, it is exactly that – unique.
What you might not know, despite its pretty look, is that curly hair can be a battle to take care of. I truly believe that no two curly hair types are the same, and for this reason, it is a constant battle to find the product that works for you. I tried endless serums and mousses and hairsprays and creams. Some made my curls stiff, so much so that it would crunch when I touched it. Others couldn’t even come close to taming the beast. To this day, after a lot of trial and error and false hope, I have only found one product that gives me the desired look and texture I personally like, Garnier Fructis Style Curl Sculpt. This, in combination with my after shower ritual, is the only way I’ve found to control my hair.
Lately, however, I’ve just let it go and embraced my big hair. I haven’t cut my hair in over a year, and I don’t put product in it after I shower. It’s a big frizzy mess, but that’s just the way it grows. I’ve stopped straightening as much, barley ever actually. I’ve stopped coloring it too. By straightening my hair, I was trying to change myself to be more like what I thought boys would want or what other people would think was pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I like how I look with straight hair. It’s a fun change. But it’s not me. Every time my hair was straight, I had to try not to get it wet and try not to sweat for fear that my true hair would start to curl its way back through. It changed the way I did things on a daily basis. I was more careful, more self aware. What I didn’t realize is that my curly hair allowed me to be free in a way I didn’t know I was missing. My curls welcome the movement that I waltz through life with, where my straight hair held me back and made me cautious and reserved.
My curls are a reflection of who I am on the inside. I’m crazy, messy, big and loud. I don’t always behave the way I’m supposed to. I have good days and bad days and some days where I’m just exceptional, and so does my hair. So while some people say that they are not their hair, I am mine. And only after I embraced it was I able to find all sorts of crazy things to do with it! I can do curly Princess Leia buns, French braids, and make my hair into a Mohawk in minutes! Only once I started to explore in the realm of curly possibility did I find my true style and uniqueness.
I guess my mom was right all along. My hair is beautiful and unique. Only now am I really appreciating it each and every day. I wouldn’t permanently straighten it for the world. So say what you want, suggest what I should do, say my hair is “ethnic” and touch away. I love this pretty mess on top of my head. I am my hair and my hair is me.