It’s safe to say that in most cultures, hair plays an important role in beauty and there is a constant drive to have good-looking hair. We even praise those with “good” hair, but what makes hair beautiful? Growing up in the Latin community, straight hair was the ideal and those with curly/kinky hair had pelo malo—Spanish for bad hair. I, along with many of the women in my mother’s family had pelo malo. Growing up, I would watch them routinely blow dry and straighten their hair. Following the example that was given to me, I learned to hate my curls.
For about nine years, I spent endless hours undergoing heat damage and spent my time researching ways to get straight hair—from heat-less methods to even chemical keratin treatments. I had hair envy to those with a “prettier hair texture.”
One day, however, I noticed how brittle and straw-like my hair was getting. It was not pretty, it was unhealthy. I took it upon myself to aim for healthier hair. This, of course, meant cutting eight inches off of my hair and starting new—saying hello to my natural curls.
Here are the three main ways I learned how to love, nourish, and embrace my curls.
1—Discover your curl type & experiment with products.
Did you know that there are curl patterns? I sure didn’t. Curl types can range anywhere from 3a-4c—in other words, loose curls to tight coils. On one head you can have anywhere from one to three different curl patterns. Learning more about your curl type is very useful when determining what products work best for your hair. For example, a type 3a curl may be fine with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner, but a 3c hair type may need stronger products to keep their curls defined. Know that not every product will work for you! A major part of this journey is experimentation. There will be a lot of bad hair days before you can find your perfect hair day!
2—Follow empowering people. One of the most beneficial things that made me love my hair was following social media influencers who embraced their hair and were passionate about educating others on how to care for their hair. Seeing someone else passionate about their curls makes you feel confident and sure about yourself. A lot of the hair knowledge that I gained wasn’t from family members, but from spending hours watching and learning from YouTubers who had a hair journey of their own.
3—Patience is key. There have been many times during my journey that I wanted to give up on my hair because maintaining my hair took too much effort. Deep conditioning, wide-tooth combing and diffusing to achieve perfect ringlets often takes hours; however, if it wasn’t for my patience, my hair wouldn’t be as healthy as it is today. Now, my curls are dear to my heart and without them, I don’t feel like myself.
How’s your relationship with your hair? Let me know in the comments below!