In the six years that I’ve known Denise*, I’ve only seen her sport her naturally curly hair during our first year of friendship. Since then, the 23-year-old marketing manager has been focused on taming her hair with one straightening treatment after another, from rebonding to Brazilian blow-outs, anything to make her hair appear—in the words of practically every shampoo commercial—enviably straight and silky smooth.
“I hate my curly hair, it makes me look so unattractive,” she told me on more than one occasion.
This isn’t simply a matter of individuals hating on their curly locks. Many of those with straight hair opt for perms and volumizing treatments to avoid flat hair. 31-year-old editor Ray* says that this has been a frustration for him ever since, as curlier, more voluminous hair has always appealed to him. “We always want what we can’t have,” he tells me after getting another perm. To be honest, I’m guilty of looking down on my straight hair as well, with an inclination towards hair products that scream volumizing or texturizing. But what if our mane just wants to take a break?
While the media has increasingly led us to believe that we should run away from anything frizzy, dry, lifeless or overall unmanageable, there also seems to be a rise towards a more natural beauty movement in the recent years. First came natural-looking makeup that put skin on the center stage and highlighted so-called flaws such as spots and lines. Could our hair be next?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to try a different look. But after repeatedly undergoing potentially damaging treatments, giving your hair a well-deserved break from all those chemicals does sound like a good idea. After all, your natural hair should be celebrated for all that it is.
A quick browse through your feed might already show you that more and more individuals are starting to let their hair down, allowing their natural hair texture to shine.
“I went without straightening and anti-frizz treatments for almost a year,” starts 23-year-old industrial designer Jennifer*, adding that she has learned to follow a helpful hair care routine: alternate days with shampoo then conditioner and just conditioner, a keratin hair mask once a week and occasionally, Moroccan oil to help tame her hair. While she still thinks that straight hair looks better on her, she is slowly starting to accept her naturally curly locks. “Baby steps,” she says.
If natural hair care is starting to interest you, then it is important to understand your hair type. Regardless of the type of hair you have, however, various hairstylists claim that it is important to live a relatively healthy lifestyle. The little things—drinking plenty of water, reducing stress, limiting the amount of heat you apply on your hair, eating nutritious food—can eventually help problems such as breakage, hair fall and split ends, making your natural hair the very best version that it can be.
I question Denise if she would ever give up all her hair straightening treatments, to which she replies, “Maybe one day, but not today. Although I’m sure it would feel totally freeing when I reach that stage of just letting my curly hair be.” Again, there is no shame with wanting hair that is different from your own. But if your mindset stems from the belief that your natural hair texture is anything but attractive, then there could be a problem with that. We might still have a long way to go in terms of acceptance, but at least it seems that we’re heading towards the right direction.