‘I wish I knew what to do with this nappy hair!!!’
This is the sound of internalized texture shaming. Yes, it's the dreaded exclamation of textured hair contempt! Such phrases come from years of hearing negative things about textured and natural hair growth from every corner of society.
It's like it's a cultural norm to player hate on natural hair, amirite?!
What's worse is that all people of color carry these harmful phrases on our skin, in our hair, and on our minds. These kinks in the comb are ever present in the form of internalized texture shaming, unspoken microaggressions against ourselves that play on an endless loop.
These mean tiny voices tangle themselves in your mane - amplifying the siren song of closeted insecurities, vocalized by an internal texture shaming monster. She says nasty things like: ‘Shiny hair? More like dull, nappy kitchen peas’ or ‘If you put a texturizer in it, you'll look cuter’ or (as comedian Martin Lawrence would quip) ‘Girl, your hair so nappy, Wilson couldn’t Pickett!’
You probably have a whole host of nasty things to say about your curls, but I’m here to tell you: Cut it out! You need to love your curls, girl.
It's time to change your inner dialogue. This is especially important for those days when you are having an existential crisis because your hair doesn’t look anything like the hundreds of natural hair YouTube stars in the world!
Help me! I need texture-positivity in my life!
The following texture-positive self-care tips will help you feel better about your texture and yourself:
Tip 1: Sing your curls’ praises. Literally.
I am my curls’ fan número uno and I make up songs for them because I love them and they need to know that! Even when my internal texture shaming monster laughs out loud and exclaims, 'Your voice is causing curl breakage!’ I keep on loving them.
My favorite songs to sing to them are the ones I make up on the fly which I will not share with you because I'm no Solange. However, I encourage you to listen to her texture-positive tunes and engage with other outstanding artists, like those featured on Afropunk, that embrace the individuality of natural hair culture.
Tip 2: Dress up your curls when they’re feeling down.
Yes, your hair can be sad: heat damage, split and dried ends, knots, tangles, and even graying. Don’t tear down your curls when all they need is your tender loving care! Simply determine the next best step to give them the life they deserve.
Schedule a trim and style with your hairdresser. Invest in a new product for your Holy Grail. Massage your scalp with your favorite oils. Digest texture-positive content like Kitchen, an amazing series by Blavity. Do everything in your power to treat those curls and coils right!
Tip 3: Replace ‘Nappy’ with ‘Happy’
Guilty of calling your natural hair ‘nappy’? Yeah - me, too. When I think it or say it, I feel weird about it because it has been used as a pejorative all of my life… and that’s simply not how I feel about my hair at all!
I love its ability to twist and turn onto itself, defying all combing and brushing and laying down of the fine hairs of my crown. So, I decided that these ‘nappy’ hairs on my head wouldn’t be called such a thing ever again.
They’re ‘happy’ coils: springing to life with just a touch of moisture and my Afro pik! Whatever other outmoded colloquialisms you have for your hair, develop a more positive take on them or simply kick them to the curb. Your curls deserve better!
BONUS TIP 4: Invest in styling tools you love!
Yes - I'm advocating for piks, blow dryers, roller sets, and everything in between because at the end of the day, you know you want to experiment with new styles (which is probably why part of you cries in disappointment when the style you want doesn't come out according to plan).
To satiate my desire for cool things I like to shop for uniquely designed styling tools and accessories. I tend to pick up my favorites while attending natural hair shows like the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, Georgia.
I got this super cute afro pik, made by Eternally in Amber, via vendor and all-around cool company Bouncy Curls (Austin, TX) while attending BellaKinks in Dallas, Texas. I love it so much that I rock it in my Afro on the reg, especially on days when I need to feel extra pumped about seizing the day!
Internalized texture shaming stops with you!
Change your perspective by restructuring the way you think and talk about textured, natural hair on bad curl days. I mean, they happen but why take it out on your crown? Let that bad curl vibe go and treat your curls with respect and care.
Have a few tips of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!