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CurlyTeen Scene is a column especially for curly teens. Julia Rizzo is a teenager living in Central New York. When not writing, she enjoys acting, reading and snow skiing. She has loved writing as long as she can remember, and plans to pursue a career in English. She hopes her column will provide encouragement and inspire girls to love their curly hair.

I recently spent a week at a Christian camp for high school students on Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Saranac Lake is gorgeous, and I loved getting to know the 10 girls in my cabin. After a week of living together, we all learned a lot about each other. The girls in my cabin reminded me of one thing I’d forgotten; straightening your hair takes a lot of work!

As I saw every morning, straightening curly hair is a very involved process. The most frustrating thing was that expending so much energy straightening their hair, the girls felt that they couldn’t swim, hop in the shower, or (heaven forbid!) get caught in the rain. Even a little water or humidity — while making naturally curly hair curlier - turns flat-ironed curls into a frizzy, lifeless mess. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know that the curlier your hair is, the more "interesting" a straightened hair style looks when it gets damp.

One morning, it started to lightly rain while we waited outside the dining hall for breakfast. I could immediately identify the girls who were scrambling to put up their hoods or duck under awnings as the ones who had straightened their hair. They would even go so far as to plan their daily activities around keeping their hair dry. “I can’t go tubing at five because I won’t have time to redo my hair before dinner!”

On the other hand, one thing I love about naturally curly hair is that it can take relatively little effort to style. Many curly girls have a dirty secret they keep from the rest of the world — they don’t wash their hair everyday. They don’t need to! I usually shower at night, wake up the next morning, spray on a little leave-in-conditioner and head to school.

During our last night at camp, we had a “dress up dinner”. I pulled out my “To Hell With Straight Hair” t-shirt I got from NaturallyCurly.com and helped some of my friends craft elegant curly styles as an alternative to straightening their hair. One of my friends, who usually wears her brunette curls in a ponytail, looked like a Hollywood starlet after we took down her hair and bobby pinned one side away from her face. I wouldn’t let her straighten it, reminding her that not only were her curls easier to style but they also had more personality.

So, girls, rock your curls! We shouldn’t sit out any experience because of our hair, whether it be tubing or running through a warm summer drizzle. Ultimately, true confidence comes from within, and our hairstyles should be more a form of creative expression than something we we are a slave to.

Stay Curly,
Julia

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