'Don’t F&%$IN Touch My Hair' and Other Thoughts

Animation of a woman with curly hair.
Via @curlyhairvibes Instagram

Let your hair down!

My Hair, My Rules

Early on I understood that my hair was very different than the other little girls.

Early memories of my mom helping me get ready in the morning were of her putting gel and or Tresemmé mousse and brushing my hair tightly back—you get used to it after a while.

I never put much thought into how my hair was styled compared to other little girls, nor did I really care. I knew that growing up, little girls with pulled back hair looked less messy and pretty.

Fast forward some years, still the girl with the slicked back ponytail and a ball of frizz, I want to wear my hair down like my friends. Gaining my own sense of style, I try letting my hair down like my friends. I soon come to realize it's much different for me than it would be for them.

"Can I touch your hair?"

"Why is is so poofy?"

"What are you?"

Consequences of letting my hair down.

My hair became an insecurity for me for a very long time. I tried countless products to tame the frizz or to try and relax my curls. My favorite weapon of choice was a straightener. For years, I would burn my hair waking up extra early to do any retouch straightening. If I made my hair look more like my friends, then I would learn to love my hair? Wrong. I came to realize that even though I was straightening my hair, I would never look anything like them.

The message I was taught very early on was to always have combed hair and having my hair down would make me look messy. I could never really let my hair down without feeling the judgement or cringing every time someone asked me to feel my hair. I started to find my hair independence in my first years of college. I put down my beloved Conair straightener, which I had grown a love-hate relationship with, and picked up a tub of Shea butter.

Embracing my curls, I could finally wear them naturally and to their true full size—frizz and all. I felt empowered and beautiful, but was soon hit with another obstacle, how professional is my curly hair? Moving away from the school life and closer to my professional life, my insecurity was creeping back and I began to question whether I should bring back my slick ponytails.

My curls were different from my friends curls, who were molded into perfection by a curler compared to my curls—frizz, a lot of volume and a lot less control. As a brown woman, my curls would always be different. My professional look had to be thought out 10 times longer than someone who didn't look like me. My insecurity was in full effect and I had lost the confidence once again.

The Final Let Down

The inner beauty I had found was slowly fading, until my spirits got their bounce back—and so did my curls. Surrounding myself with people who stopped asking if they could touch my hair and friends who encouraged my hair down was what really got me back on track. (It also helped that my boyfriend cheered on the big hair, don't care lifestyle.)

My curly hair journey has taken some time, tears, and a lot of broken brushes, but I can honestly say my hair is not only beautiful, but it's also professional and it is mine, so please don't touch.

I'm glad I went through this journey, because I not only found myself, but other gorgeous curly-haired women who went through their own curl journeys.

Letting you in on my secrets, here are a couple of hair products that have given my curls definition and bounce. Although the shrinkage is real, some of these products have helped my curly hair growth.

Products your curls will drink up:

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