As a child I remember my mom grabbing pieces of my hair, wrapping it around her finger, and making these amazing finger coils. But as I grew older and my hair got longer, my mom lost all hope with my hair; And by the age of six I had met my enemy, the hair ‘’ plancha.’’ We began ironing my hair for weddings, and then as time went by, it transitioned into an almost every-day-thing. But as thousands of little girls/ and boys with curly hair who have had to experience this, we can tell you IT’S NOT EASY.
The arms were thankful, but the ears weren’t
Just as I am writing this, I can picture sitting in front of my mom and feeling the pain and anxiety of having my hair pulled back extremely hard, and having my forehead, ears, and neck burned all for the ‘’ beauty standards ‘’ set by society. Yes, I said ‘’ beauty standards.’’ I am aware that for me ironing my hair was to make my mom’s life easier at first, but coming to the United States at the age of seven and seeing all these magazines, posters, and all types of ‘’beauty’’ marketing strategies targeting only straight hair, didn’t help when it came to embracing my curly locks. I was already starting to feel insecure with how I looked (specially coming to a new country), but then now I had to worry about fixing my hair everyday; And let me tell you that a couple years ago there wasn’t that many hair products to begin with for curly hair. In middle school I had ironed my hair so much, that when I was in high school, my hair was so damaged that I barely had any curls forming on their own. This was heartbreaking because instead of waking up to healthy hair, I was waking up to a disaster. Also by this time I was extremely tired with the routine of having to ‘’ maintain ‘’ the straight hair; Which meant having to wake up at four in the morning to ‘’ plancharme la cabeza, ’’ and applying a ton of toxic chemicals onto my hair. On the bright side my arms were looking mighty buff for having to hold the iron and my hair for long hours !
The moment of realization
‘’Once upon a time I had beautiful curly locks, and then the evil iron came and took it all away.’’ Fortunately, the moment of realization came to me when I was braiding my little cousin’s hair. See my cousin has very coily, tight, curly hair, and her mom has very straight hair; At least for me, my mom had curly hair so she knew how to style it when I was little, but this little girl had no chance. As I was sitting there I remember her telling me that she hated her curly hair and that she wanted hair like ‘’mommy,’’ and that right there broke my heart. For years, I was brainwashed by the beauty standards that society had set, that I didn’t even realize what I was doing to my hair, and how it was affecting the younger generation. ( Dramatic music in the background) This was something that was spreading like a disease around the world, that even your family members, who had curly hair of their own, would instead tell you to iron it than to embrace it. But as this little girl sat there, and told me that, I had decided to change things for her. So I went to my hairstylist a couple days later and cut my hair all the way to my shoulders, a choice that was not easy, but one that had to be done.
Why, why, why… oh wait that’s why
My transition back to curly hair was a tough road. The damage end hair was out, but my roots were still bad. So at the beginning I looked like the end of a broomstick that had gotten its tips burned off, and then had water splash on it when it was too late to save it. I was regretting my life choices, I didn’t even want to go out, and I kept thinking ‘’ why did I do this.’’ But then I started putting ‘’ tratamiento ’’ on it, braiding it, and stopped ironing it; And as time went by, I SAW THE CHANGE. The moment I saw that little ‘’colochito’’ pop out of my hair, I knew instantly that this was it, it was happening.
Taming the curly beast
The first Sunday of the month was known to me as the ‘’ I’m sorry but I can’t leave the house today because I have to work.’’ By work, this meant that I would spend the day putting the sheamoisture ( not sponsored by it, but heeey… they should though) ‘’tratamiento‘’ on it, and after that was washed off I would put egg, mayonnaise, and avocado on it for an hour, then rinsed that off with shampoo and conditioner. After the recovery process, I would style it, diffuse it, have ‘’popping’’ curls all day, and then pineapple it up and putting it on a satin cap at night. Now for the rest of the month the routine followed as such :
1. Monday- wash with shampoo and conditioner
- Style it and diffuse it.
- Don’t let people touch the curly ‘’beast’’Pineapple/ satin cap at night
2. Tuesday- No wash, just splash water with spray bottle and apply leave in conditioner, or curl smoothie
- Curls still poppingDo not ask to touch my hair pleasePineapple/ satin cap at night
3. Wednesday- Depending on my activities the day before, is how I would go on for today
- If I didn’t sweat as much then do the same steps as Tuesday
- If my curls look dead, then do nice sleek back ponytail or bun
4. Thursday- Another ponytail or bun, no curls because by this day they are gone.
5. Friday- Braiiiiiidddssssssssssssssssssssssss
6. Saturday- Againnnnn brraaiiiddssssssss
7. Sunday- Say it with me one more time… BRAAAIIIDDDSSSS
Now depending on how much activity I did throughout the week, or if i sweated a lot throughout the days, then I would wash my hair again BUT with no shampoo ( that’s another curly hair enemy), and just washed it with conditioner.
Damn girl, you got nice curls
Following that routine, truly made an impact ! I mean my hair now is fabulous, and people just keep saying ‘’ damn girl, you got nice curls! ‘’ My hair has become so healthy that at one point I didn’t even need to use any products to make it look that good; But still the products are a must! Over the years, I have had my fair shares of humiliation, hair dyes, haircuts gone wrong, and the rebirth of the curls.. But through it all there was always a voice inside me saying ‘’just embrace your curly beast! ‘’ As much as I tried to force another hair type on me, it was never going to work because this brocoli on my head it’s meant to stay there. I am honestly blessed to have curly hair, even though it’s a huge struggle to maintain it. Let’s show our fellow curly hair babies what it’s like to have have healthy curly locks, whether it goes from type 2 to type 4, and how we can embrace them and love ourselves more with them.It’s not a shameful thing to have our curls, I know that at times the curly beast doesn’t cooperate and we feel like shaving it all off, but just like us personally, curly hair has it’s bad days too? So be patient, and enjoy the ‘’ pelaje ’’ that you were given.
For more information/ or a video of this rant for the love of the curls follow me on YouTube @asknickiwonders\