Curly hair, don’t care!
I’m gonna be real with you… this statement was not always the case with me.
I think it would be very difficult to find anyone reading this – whether male or female – who can honestly say that they have never struggled with their hair at some point in life. Whether it was how to style or cut it, whether to shave their head, what length looked best on them, the coloring, the hair products, etc. Most people go through stages where we fight with this part of ourselves, of our identity. I applaud the person who has always been able to embrace their look and does not struggle with it. For me, it has always been trial and error with my hair and has even been a point of insecurity in the past.
Let me introduce you to my hair story. What it’s been through, what I’ve experienced, how something as basic as my hair can say a lot about me (and this is true for others too, not just me), and where I’m at now with it! I have natural curly hair – as you can see from the pictures – thanks to my Dad and his genes. I don’t have thick hair, my hair is actually fine, there is just a lot of it. The texture of my hair is soft, the curls are bouncy and not a super tight curl but they do spiral just perfectly, if you ask me 😉 My natural color is dark brown with red highlights sprinkled in. When I was younger, I definitely had an awkward stage with my hair; my mom (love you mom!) brushed the curls out rather than letting them be free and do their thing, so for a while it was embarrassing to look back on but now I can laugh about it. I can use it as an opportunity to teach her how to handle a little girl’s curly hair if I ever have a daughter who shares this beautiful trait with me.
…by the way, if you didn’t ever have an awkward phase growing up, I find that hard to believe. Have you even lived? lol…
For those of you who don’t have curls or do not know this already from the anger or frustration that came from curly-hair people, let me give you a piece of advice: Please do NOT ever run your fingers through a person’s curls; do NOT “brush” their hair with your fingers. Unless they give you permission to do so, unless they’re not concerned a whole lot about how they will look like after you’re done doing this, or unless they ask you to run your fingers through their hair for a massage or to feel good – don’t do it! Brushing curls, running your fingers through curls, basically separates the curl, causing frizz, causing a fro essentially. The shape of the curl is lost, it’s no longer intact and now you’ve left the person with a head full of single strands of hair that will never be the same. I love when people admire my hair! For me personally, it’s one of the biggest compliments you could give me and I’ll explain why in a few… so if you have the desire to touch or play with mine (and this feels sooo good), I’m okay with that. I’m not one who doesn’t like their hair touched, jut approach with caution and know how to handle curls. Rather than running your fingers through it, the technique is more about grabbing and lifting curls. We see women with straight hair just comb their fingers through their hair and sling it to the other side so easily, so people may assume that can be done with all types of hair. Wrong again. Curls require more thought and care. Rather than using your fingers, chunks of curls or the hair should be gently grabbed and lifted with your fingertips or the whole hand. If you slide the palm of your hand down the hair, that’s okay too. Main point: don’t place your fingertips into the curls and pull down.
Once I was old enough to take control of my hair, then the fun began. Just kidding, it wasn’t fun, often times more frustrating and confusing. I went through, what felt like the epitome of, trial and error stages with my hair. I have tried so many products over the past decade+, tried a few different lengths, and even styles. Hairstylists make me nervous! I have only had two work with my hair so far in life; once you find a good stylist, don’t lose them! Thankfully my stylist is a friend of the family so I got lucky to find someone close to me that I trust with my precious locks. I’m sure I’m wrong, but I have this fear that hair stylists don’t know how to deal with natural curly hair…
My hair has been blonde, almost black, filled with more red, short, super short, long, with bangs, straight, layered, angled, and even damaged. My hair was at its longest in 2007 when I graduated high school (seen in the pic below where the flash made my eyes red). Bangs were fun at first, but in the end just aren’t for me. I got the side swept bangs and would either straighten just the bangs or pin the hair back while it was wet and wait for it to dry then run my fingers through them to loosen them up. Won’t do bangs again, ever. I first cut my hair short on my 21st birthday. I hadn’t done anything extreme with it before this point and so I felt bold and decided to cut it. Short hair was very easy to take care of and deal with in the mornings when getting ready; it took no time at all to straighten (versus 45-60+ min to straighten when it was at its longest) and again, fun for a short period, but I’ve learned that no matter how easy it is, it’s not the length for me, personally. Especially having curly hair. I’ve cut it short by choice, and I’ve also cut it short because I’ve damaged it. This happened recently – about a year ago. I was working on growing it out and decided to straighten it one day with a new flatiron and heat protectant spray. I’m not sure if I had it too hot or it was an ingredient in the spray (I’m thinking the keratin), but something went wrong and a good 2 inches of my ends were permanently straight. Normally when I straighten my hair, as soon as it gets wet, the hair curls back up; well after this more recent event, even after getting wet, the hair was always straight and damaged. I was forced to cut the damaged ends off (therefore being short) and let it regrow. I’ve had blonde highlights. I would never dye my whole head blonde, but I’ll admit the blonde highlights were fun. [[What do you think? Something I should try again? Let me know!!]] I discovered the flatiron in high school at a friends house. They wanted to straighten my hair to see what I would look like with straight hair, and so I let them and I was in love. For a girl who was never completely comfortable with her natural hair, who, honestly, thought most people hated it and believed everyone thought straight hair was so pretty, this new head of hair was amazing. I straightened it almost every week, multiple days. I was now just like the girl with natural straight hair who everybody saw and liked. Someone once even suggested that I have hair treatment done to permanently straighten my hair… I considered it and now am SO THANKFUL I decided against that.
As you can tell, my hair has been one point of insecurity for me growing up. It was also something I experimented with a lot trying to figure out what looked best, what didn’t work, what I needed in order to feel good about myself, to feel liked by others, and how to fit in. Don’t get me wrong, there were times I did love my hair. Looking back though, this was just one sign that I didn’t have the confidence back then as I do now. That I was insecure about myself. That other people’s opinions mattered to me (more than they ever should have) when it came to how I looked, and I viewed myself based on those opinions and based on what I thought people liked and loved. I was young though and these things had to be learned, but just like other lessons in life, as you mature and grow and start to love yourself more, you embrace things about yourself and don’t care what others think. My confidence has grown exponentially over the past few years; this is due to self-care and finding self-worth, through life experiences, and has even grown due to people I’ve surrounded myself with and been with that have helped me see that I am beautiful and that just being real, being 100% YOU is the most liberating, beautiful thing a person can do. When you mature, when you start to grow in confidence, when you don’t allow the negativity and opinions of others to hinder you, and when you start to truly look at yourself rather than what others have or what others look like, you realize you are just who God created you to be. I am unique, gorgeous, strong and a confident woman! I have the best of both worlds essentially – I have naturally curly hair and don’t have to pay to curl it, but also can straighten it whenever I feel like it. I am 30 years old and it wasn’t until I was about 25-26 that I began to embrace my curly hair. Since then have I truly come to love my curls. Yeah it still has bad days, but I don’t care; I’ll throw it up in a bun and try again tomorrow. I absolutely love my hair. It’s crazy, it’s wild, it’s free, it’s messy, it’s curly, but it’s mine and it suits me perfectly. If I could tell my teenage self something, it would be to stop looking at others, to embrace what God has given to you and love it, work with it. Yeah change it up if you want and have fun, but don’t worry! Be thankful for what you have. Don’t try to please others, don’t do something just for someone else to find beauty in you. Find real beauty within yourself, love yourself as God loves you and sees you. Let you hair down and be you boo 🙂
Today you’ll rarely find me with straight hair. I straighten it every once in a while for fun or to see how long it is, but majority of the time you’ll find me with my curls flowing and bouncing around. Every day is different with curls, they’re never the same with each day, you don’t know what you’re going to get but that’s kind of the fun and excitement of curly hair too. They’re sorta wild and free; like I’ve said I’ve completely changed my attitude toward my hair and embrace every strand. They’re peaceful, yet wild… kinda like this woman, kinda like me… Plus, when I finally learned to love my hair, no matter the length, curls are easy to take care of! I struggled and spent a lot of time with them in the past, when all along, it’s not that difficult; I MADE IT DIFFICULT… sheesh.
I’m currently on track for growing my hair out long again! My routine today consists of getting my hair wet each morning (not even always a wash, just wet it), using a microfiber towel which reduces frizz and doesn’t damage the curl and doesn’t cause tangles, combing it out, putting product in it, and simply letting it air dry. I don’t use a hair dryer. TBH, I look awkward using a hair dryer because I never use them and don’t know how to handle it (yes I realize how crazy that sounds, but it’s true). I wash my hair every 2-3 days. Out of years of product testing, my 3 top ones that I LOVE and never stray away from now are (1) Garnier Fructis Style Curl Sculpt Conditioning Cream Gel, (2) DevaCurl Supercream Coconut Curl Styler, and (3) Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie. Garnier’s gel is what I use most days with the Shea Moisture as a touch up at the ends. Some nights before I go to bed, when my hair is damp, I might put a little bit of the Shea Moisture smoothie throughout my head as a base for the next day. But what I’ve come to find and love the most about these products is they leave my hair feeling light, my curls bouncy with shape, my hair has body and overall a natural, clean look! I’m sharing the first set of photos below to show you what they do to my hair. For anyone reading this and has curly hair, I realize you might have your favorite products, but if you’re searching for ones that work for you, I recommend giving these three a try! My hair is so much more natural and healthy these days and I love it! P.S. I also take multivitamins and a Hair+Skin+Nails vitamin every day, which I never did before. I’ve also started using a silk scarf to either put on my pillow or wrap my head in at night – this also reduces frizz, you wake up with less tangles and your hair is left feeling soft in the morning.
And now, just a few photos from my past of my varying looks I’ve had for your viewing pleasure…