Curly hair series: What you need to know before letting go of the flat iron
“I wish I had your curls” is one of the most common comments I get from other curly heads who straighten theirs. Not even I had my curls a while ago, they looked more like a sad, tiered, and confused waves pointing in everywhere as if they had no direction in life. A lot has happened, there’s a relationship to the hair now. One that didn’t exist before, and above all there is a science to curly hair and how to best take care of them.
Today, not only are my curls more defined but the texture has changed too from sad and frizzy waves to bouncy tight locks. In this article series we’re sharing some of the knowledge that has been picked up along the process from the mental aspects to be aware of to curly hacks, to improve your hair quality.
To begin, there are three aspects that needs reflection. Take each section as a meal, take in the information, process is and feel how it resonates with you. Does it awaken emotions within you? You don’t have to agree, but if there’s a sense of irritation rising its advised to follow the emotion to see where its coming from. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Don’t get stuck in a loop of negative thoughts. The purpose of this article series is to shed different nuances to ponder upon. That’s what I did, it gave me a foundation to stand on–especially a new approach.
Stigma around curly hair
Do you have curls, but don’t think they look good on you? Do you feel less cute, beautiful, or sexy when in curls in comparison to straight hair? Can you appreciate a locks on others, but not yourself? Have you ever considered where there’s ideas stem from?
I did. I used to think curly hair looked amazing on others, but that I looked better in straight hair. However, something about that idea didn’t sit well with me. I was frustrated over the amount of time I had to spend taming the curls. It didn’t feel worthy.
The fact is that there is a universal stigma around curly hair, just like there is about afro hair. In addition, there is a great study to read on the subject named Good Hair led by Perception Institute. Due to fascination for human sociology, I started reading, observed my inner monolog and questioned to heritage of the ideas and thoughts running around my head. When I realized that I was working against the nature of my own hair, picking up a flatiron didn’t sit well with me anymore and instead decided that I needed to learn working with what I have. Not work against it.
As mentioned above, I used to put so much time on my hair. It took approximately 30-40 minutes to blow dry my hair (this being after years of training how to blow dry it properly on my own, prior to that it took even longer). After the blow dry, I flat ironed which added another 1-15 minutes to the post shower hair care.
Do you think my hair quality was good back then? I prepped with heating tool protection products, yet I do color my hair which lead my to poor hair quality. Spending all that time, and extreme heat to kill the texture of my hair started to feel like suicide. I was killing my hair, and wondering why my hair quality was poor. No logic what so ever!
When I was a kid I one time went to the hair dresser and asked the stylist to cut my hair short like Robyn page back in the 90’s. I didn’t look like Robyn after he was finished with the cut. I imagined myself looking like her, but as the weeks passed my frustration progressed. You know that frustration after you’ve been at the hairstylist but cant recreate the look.
On the other side, there were no women from the middle-east in media that I could turn to for inspiration and expansion. The closest I could come was women with afro hair, which differs a lot from my hair quality.
When I was 13-14 years old I meet the most beautiful Persian girl I had ever seen with most delicious hair you could imagine. Her hair was big, and long. The color was warm and brown with honey shaded highlights. She was such a ray of light, on top of that she was very sweet and intelligent. As we exchanged some words, her whole presence burned a mark in my consciousness. Till this day, I still remember her and the advice she gave me back then and the energy she exuded.
As the feeling of flat ironing my hair started to not sit well within me anymore, the memory of her started to come back to me repeatedly. Instead of looking at a person with Scandinavian decent for inspiration, I started to source inspiration from people who look more similar to me on Instagram. It made more sense, its realistic, whether it’s the hairstyle or the color I’m looking at.
No, your hair is not going to lay perfectly like “Anna’s”. You probably have more and thicker hair straws on your head in comparison to “Anna”. And I promise you that “Anna” most likely is wishing she had your hair. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it. So why not cherish and care for what you actually have?
Do you for a second think I appreciated my hair prior to this? The answer is: NO. Today, when I get a compliment for my hair it doesn’t sit bad with me–its my dream hair and I take the compliments into heart the compliment too.
Did I think it would look like it does today? The answer is: No. Curly hair has a life of its own. Almost as if it’s a entity of its own. After giving her love and listening to her she has grown to become the amazing bouncy locks entity.
If you are wishing your curls looked “better”, that others look better in curls than you, take a moment and reflect. Confront yourself, be honest and look at where your arguments are residing from. We are more conditioned and influenced by our surroundings than we’d like to admit to ourselves. I get it!
Here’s a invitation to reflect on what would been possible if we opened ourselves to look at the situation from a different light (or texture)?