Like most curly girls, I spent years trying to turn my hair into something it was not. This included more than a decade of blow drying and flat ironing followed by six years of submitting my strands to thermal reconditioning. This chemical straightening was a life saver at first, but it wasn’t because my hair looked great. It was actually really flat. It was because it was frizz-free and I could predict exactly how it would look each morning. This was huge because, as curly girls know, our hair has a mind of its own and doesn’t always look the same from one day (or even one hour) to the next.
But once my hair started breaking off and looking fried, I decided I had to toss the blow dryer, flat iron and round brush, steer clear of the chemicals and embrace my hair’s natural texture. I wasn’t excited about what I thought would be a future of frizz, but I feared I’d have little hair left if I kept torturing it.
Then something amazing happened. When I learned how to properly care for my curls and kept the following things in mind, it was easy to learn to love them! Here’s how you can too!
- Work with your natural hair, not against it. This is actually pretty simple no matter what type of curls you have. Stop blow drying and flat ironing, using a brush and washing with detergent-filled shampoos. Slather hair with loads of conditioner and don’t rinse it all out. These things alone will turn your curls into something to love! Also, get rid of the idea that blow drying or flat ironing your hair every once in a while is okay. Even one time can cause damage by drying it out which disturbs your curls’ natural shape and causes frizz.
- Going curly means life doesn't revolve around your hair. Many curly girls who blow dry and flat iron know that life can revolve around your blow-drying/flat ironing schedule. For example, you can’t break a sweat soon after a blow dry or your hair will frizz and all those efforts will be a waste. This means that you usually work out less often, which may be good for your blow out, but is terrible for your waistline. Going natural avoids this and you'll be able to work out whenever you want, or do whatever you want, when you want to do it.
- Lazy beach days are back on the agenda. Fun activities like swimming and beach days are out of the question if you’re straightening your hair, because once you jump into the water or frolic in that beach air, your blow out will be ruined. Going natural means that you can love and embrace your hair's texture, and the fact that it will only increase in the salty wind.
- Embracing your hair's natural texture saves time and money. You will save all those hours sweating and straightening in the bathroom and the price of professional blowouts, anywhere from $35 to $200 a pop. You also save money on the endless products to smooth hair. And if you chemically straighten, it can cost at least $300 every two to three months. At a good salon, it’s closer to $600 and up. If you chemically straighten, there’s also the price of deep conditioning products and treatments to soothe your parched, fried strands. Say goodbye to the chemicals and hello to the cash in your wallet.
- Going natural also saves stress and energy. It sounds crazy, but most of us curly girls know that when you’re trying to straighten your hair into submission, everything from the weather to how long it takes to blow dry can stress you out. You also spend time worrying about other people “finding you out.” For example, a first date or job interview on a humid or rainy day can send your mood plummeting downward fast!
- You feel more like yourself when you let your hair be itself. This may sound sort of cheesy and pseudo-spiritual, or at least that’s what I thought when people told me this before I went curly. I’d roll my eyes and think, “Whatever.” But once I let my hair go back to its natural texture, I realized it was true. I was no longer hiding a natural part of myself, no longer masquerading as someone I was not. Once you go with your natural hair, you’ll see the real you emerge.