curly-penny graduation curly hair

I was born with straight hair, but as I got older and went through puberty my hair become really frizzy, poofy and it was out of control. The worst part was that my mom’s hair was the same way but she didn’t know squat about curly hair so she just put her hair in a braid every day. Growing up I hung out with the “popular” girls and the popular girls had one trait in common, straight hair.

Relaxers, in general, are meant to destroy the bonds in our hair strands that make our hair curl, and once these bonds are broken they can stay straightened out for long periods of time. Are relaxers used mostly by those with a coilier texture? Yes. Does that mean women with wavy and curly hair don’t use them? Nope.

penny straight hair

I definitely felt pressured to straighten my hair.

I was thirteen years old and I was still trying to fit in by copying the looks of my peers. I remember hanging out with my friends and we’d all be in the bathroom putting on makeup and passing the straightener around to flatten out our imperfections.

I felt like an ugly misfit with my poofy hair so I washed, brushed, blow dried and straightened my hair every single day for a year until I decided to relax it because I thought it would be a better alternative for me.

penny with straight hair

I thought, wow, straight hair for a month without having to heat style every day? Awesome! Yeah, I know, I wasn’t educated about hair back then, if you can tell. But at the time, I thought a relaxer was the perfect permanent solution to my poofy problem.

I kept my relaxed hair and continued to color it and straighten it as well, and I noticed that my hair had gotten thinner and drier. As I got older I went to a new school, and I had new friends and I had gone through new experiences. I was beginning to appreciate my natural beauty more and more. I was obsessed with makeup and straight hair when I was thirteen and fourteen but once I turned fifteen I realized I did all those things out of self-hate.

curly penny

Every morning I would change my persona because I hated the person that God made me, and I finally realized that I was wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a little primping now and then, but when your makeup and straight hair becomes your mask and identity you feel empty without them. Whenever I came out of the shower with a fresh face and my poofy hair I felt disgusting and I immediately took action to cover up what I hated about myself. I created a hazardous self-hate zone that I carried everywhere with me, and it was something I needed to change.

One day, I decided no more makeup and no more relaxers, or straightening or hair dyes. I went cold turkey and man, was it hard. But here I am now. I haven’t heat styled in three years, not even once. I haven’t dyed my hair in three years and I only wear makeup on super rare occasions. I am really proud of how far I have come. I embrace my natural face and my natural hair, and I have never been more confident I my life.

curly penny

So why did I relax my hair? I did it out of self-hate.

And why did I decide to stop relaxing, straightening and dyeing? Because I wanted to be more confident in who I was, who I truly was, naturally, not the fake persona that I made up every morning. I am still not quite sure why my hair turned curly out of nowhere, but I’m really glad it did because I have learned how to love myself how God intended.

 What inspired you to quit relaxing your hair and return natural? 

Peniel Tovar

Peniel Tovar

Curly Penny is a YouTuber who wants to encourage and teach curly girls how to accept, love, and rock their natural hair.

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