As NaturallyCurly editors we have a strong grasp on the wavy, curly and coily hair landscape in the United States, and we always love learning about what that looks like in other countries, from our Swiss contributor Nora to our Jamaican contributor Vanessa who lives in Canada, to our Kenyan contributor Tabitha who lives in Australia. Every curly girl brings with her a unique perspective, and that is why I am excited to introduce Anjana, a Software Engineer from India who started to embrace her curls 2009 "as a curly haired girl I saw few beauty bloggers in India writing about curls. So I started my blog to make all curly haired beauties fall in love with their curly hair."
While Anjana doesn't speak for the curly hair experience of all Indian women, she is sharing her own journey with us today, and we look forward to continuing to represent more stories from our worldwide community.
I still remember the days when I used to comb and brush my curly hair over and over again expecting miracles to happen, but my hair forever looked like hay. Nobody around me told me that I should be doing it any differently. Thankfully I had never chemically straightened my hair. So my transition was just from ugly curly hair to curly hair that I love and adore and hair that I am obsessed with. And this love started around 7 years ago. There was no chronological flow really - I just started realizing that my hair looked better uncombed, and that was followed by a good haircut one sudden day, and then months and years later I realized I had fallen in love!
Wash hair, oil it, comb it, braid it – this is the most prevalent hair care routine in India
It was not at all common in India to see curly hair in all its glory – wash hair, oil it, comb it, braid it – this is the most prevalent hair care routine in India. Most people in India are not aware of their hair type. They assume what they have is frizzy ugly hair. You can hear excuses like “My hair isn’t curly, it’s just frizzy” “I don’t really have curl, just unruly hair”. And they keep combing and brushing it to make it look straight. Or resort to chemical relaxers. Because hair can only be straight, right? Even advertisements and movies (Bollywood included), magazines and posters mostly showcase women with straight hair. This is despite a large proportion of the population actually having curly hair, especially in the southern part of India.
Advertisements and movies (Bollywood included), magazines and posters mostly showcase women with straight hair. This is despite a large proportion of the population actually having curly hair, especially in the southern part of India.
Finding curly products in India
There are no brands in India like DevaCurl or Ouidad to cater exclusively to curly hair. So, be it products or hair stylists, straight hair wins here as well. You have to check labels and ingredients and see if products will suit your hair. Of course products can be imported, but they come with hefty shipping fees. From my experience here are some of the products that have suited my curly hair and are quite easily available in India, mostly on online shopping sites like
We can find brands such as L’Oreal Professional TEC Hair Mix Spiral Splendour, Mythic Oil and Masque, BBlunt High Definition Curl Defining Leave-In Cream, Silicone free conditioners by Enliven and Revlon Flex. I have also found products from brands like OGX, The Body Shop, John Frieda, Toni & Guy, BedHead and drugstore brands like Dove, Pantene, Sunsilk, L'Oreal, Tresemme, and Garnier. Even with these drugstore brands their curly hair products like Tresemme Naturals or Pantene Pro-V Curly Hair are never seen. Isn’t that strange?
And the oh-so-loved ingredient in the curl community, our very own coconut oil, is so easily available in India and is dirt cheap. So much so, that a state here called Kerala (aka God’s own country) is nicknamed the Land of Coconut trees.
Finding curly hair stylists
Most stylists will tell you not to get layers for curly hair, they give advice on how “straightening” or “smoothening” can make your life better, they beat the life out of you trying to detangle your curly hair with a brush, and finally they blow dry your hair after the cut. At the end of all this, you will more likely than not, walk out of the salon with a triangle head.
And not to forget the Great Indian Monsoon that lasts for 4 months every year – the rains and humidity can test your patience!
Where to find curl inspiration
When I started out on my curly hair embracing journey, there were very few Indian bloggers to inspire me. So I turned to curl bloggers and YouTubers and NaturallyCurly contributors like Curly Penny, Polished Curl and Sandra (Just Curly), as well as Hif3licia for inspiration. That also made me realize the importance of telling my story and curly hair techniques to my fellow Indians. And my blog was born.
And then with the mails and comments flowing in from the readers, I realized that it was just the lack of awareness that was holding people back. They were ready to accept their curly hair. And I’ve had the urge to walk up to so many women and tell them just how beautiful their curls would look if only they stopped brushing it dry. But that would be too rude. My family & friends were more than supportive because they were astonished to see my “steel wool hair” become “curly spirals”. I’ve had many of my straight haired friends tell me that they wish they could swap their hair with mine.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s no discrimination against curly haired people in India (especially on a professional front) like in the stories I’ve heard from across the world. That’s really a big positive here! On a lighter note, curly haired women are often addressed as Maggi noodles (a popular instant noodle brand here).
Even other major brands have curly haired women as models. Bollywood actors like Kangana Ranaut & Tapsee Pannu are embracing their naturally curly hair. I remember, around 10 years ago you would think India didn’t have any curly haired women.
Now when I see photos of my friends or their friends on social media, rocking beautiful curls, I realize that there’s a big proportion of curly haired women in India. And that there are even more hiding beneath the combed, oiled, poofs waiting to come out!