Ah, curly hair. Probably the epitome of a "frenemy" for those who have it, if you ask me. Some days, I love it; I find it exciting, fun and attractive. But other days, I wish I could be one of those people who can literally not touch their hair, walk out the door and have it look they way they want.
Being a curly haired person comes with its own sets of advantages and struggles. On one hand, you have this unique look that so many people long for, not to mention a hair type that's versatile; you can wear it curly or straight. But on the other hand, you have hair that's probably pretty unpredictable, often has its look dictated by the weather and is very sensitive in terms of what will mess it up. Personally, I've been on a journey of trying to accept my hair since middle school, but we'll get into that in a later point. The important thing is that, now, I think I've (for the most part) come to embrace my hair itself; my late high school years along with the beginning of my time in college have come with me being a lot more confident in my own style, both in terms of my clothing and features. I think that's probably true for a lot of people. However, no confidence comes easy, and there are still some things that I feel like most people with curly hair are pretty tired of hearing. Let's explore them.
1. "Just run a brush through it!"
It's honestly kind of baffling how many people don't know this one, so I felt it deserved the number one spot here. Considering that things can often get stuck in curlier hair, it shouldn't be any surprise that a brush would not be able to work through the locks when they're dry. Brushing curly hair just created a ton of frizz and poofiness, and often something I like to call "triangle hair" where the hair puffs out more and more as it goes down, the person's head being the top point of the triangle. Once, I literally snapped a brush (in a communal bathroom with other people around, mind you) because I was trying to detangle my hair when it wasn't wet enough. Its because of this that I only brush my hair when it is wet. Personally, I use a wet brush, but others also like to use wide tooth combs in order to separate the pieces better. Honestly, detangling could be considered an extreme sport, so whatever works is what works.
2. "Wow, it's so fluffy!"
I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I spend a fair amount of time with conditioners and hairspray to try to make sure my hair is kept in control. I feel like I have enough volume as it is, and I try to make sure that, if, heaven forbid, any humidity occurs, I can afford the boost it will likely bring me. That's kind of an extreme outlook, as I know that many others have come to fully embrace their hair's volume potential, but, still, calling someone's hair fluffy isn't really a compliment. Even if they like their hair to be big, it sounds like you're talking about a dog or stuffed animal, not a person. And if the person isn't as comfortable with volume? Yikes. Awkward.
3. "Let me touch it!"
This one goes right along with the previous. No matter what type of curly hair (or hair in general) one has, the whole touching-without-being-asked/told thing isn't cool. It makes it seem like we're some strange thing because our hair looks different, and it can also feed into those same insecurities about our hair being too voluminous, so be careful. If I want you to play with my hair, I promise you I'll obnoxiously beg for it and accept my own fate of having a different hair style for the rest of the day.
4. "Have you tried *insert product clearly not meant for hair type*?"
I really do appreciate the help, but honestly, the sea-salt spray to give me beauty texture is not going to make anything better. Do you know what my beach hair looks like? It looks like my normal look exploded, and I've never heard of conditioner before in my life. Maybe something like that works for someone with straight or wavy hair, but if you have any form of ringlets, you probably agree that all these texturizing sprays aren't really where it's at. And, with this, a lot of people who have curly hair don't realize how many different types there are, and a lot of that might come down to the branding of products. It seems to be progressing a little, but overall, it would be helpful if companies were more clear about which type of curly hair their products are supposed to be helping.
5. "Yeah, it's raining. So, what?"
Water and humidity are the enemies. Never trust them. Humidity makes more sense; it's like a one way ticket to puffy-town, but water is a different story. Sometimes you can trust water if you're trying to get rid of frizz, but other times water can give you more frizz. Sound confusing? It is. I still struggle with it myself. Normally, though, the dangerous water is that of rain, probably because it often comes along with humidity and isn't being applied along with conditioners or sprays to smooth it. No doubt, though, the worst effect rain has is on curly hair that has been straightened. You know how it only took a bucket of water to melt the wicked witch? Well, that's about all it takes in order to get rid of someone's hard work in straightening their hair, or even just getting their hair to be smooth. So, yes, rain is a big deal and will often dictate a curly-haired person's style choice for the day, and its more of a prevalent problem than you'd think, especially in college, where you have to walk longer distances to get to all your classes outside. My tip for combatting humidity? Try tying or twisting your hair while on the move on a particularly gross day, wear a hood or a hat, and consider carrying a travel size conditioner or detangler in your bag for if things get really serious.
6. "You should straighten your hair more!"
These days, I only straighten my hair every so often. Sometimes, it's twice a month, and sometimes I don't touch any heat for four or five months. It just depends. The important thing is that I straighten my hair when I want to just because its fun.
It didn't always used to be that way.
I understand that the above quote is a compliment to someone's hard work, but phrasing it this way can come off like what their hair naturally looks like doesn't cut it. From mid eighth grade to mid tenth grade, I straightened my hair nearly every day, and I used such a high heat that a lot of my hair ended up falling out. There was a layer about half way down where a lot of it had cracked off, and it was incredibly dry and brittle. The part that was more awful was that I was doing it because I thought that was the only way I could look pretty. I thought that because I got attention when I straightened it, that was when I was at my best. I thought no one would ever date me if I had my curly hair, and I thought I would be seen as less cool. But, like I said, then my hair was cracking off everyday and that made me look like even more of a lunatic, so I stopped. Since then, I've switched to the above method of occasional straightening and getting more frequent hair cuts when I can, and its made all the difference. Very recently, I straightened my hair for the first time at college and when people asked why, my response was a genuine, happy "because I felt like it," and that felt really good. I'm not saying you shouldn't give your friend a compliment if they try something new, but make sure you're complimenting in a way that shows you like what the did, not prefer it.
7. "Ugh, my hair is out of control!"
Said the girl with hair that's pin straight and in place, aside from a single wispy piece. You see me compulsively trying to twist and tie my hair into some way that will make it behave. You heard me shriek when I ran out of my hairspray this morning. You can literally wear the same ponytail for days and no one would be able to tell. Please, stop exaggerating.
All jokes aside, while none of this is really *that* serious, and having curly hair is (for the most part) fun, and nothing to complain about, it is important to get these things out there. From a girl who grew up with curly hair and glasses, it's hard to always see yourself as looking more like the "before" picture in makeovers; self-acceptance is hard. So, let's all build each other up and practice respect: straight, wavy, curly and everything in between.
Lead Image: Disney