My Hair Story: Loving Your Curls in a Straight-Haired World
Why am I sharing my hair story?
We talk so much about our skin on @devsday, and to be honest, skincare is my main passion, although I am a notorious beauty junkie all around. However, I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now because I get constant comments and questions about my hair.
I don’t want my hair to be full of secrets anymore.
While I am really lucky that I have finally figured out my hair— I know what it likes ingredient and product-wise, and also know how to take care of it, and style it— that wasn’t always the case.
Curly hair didn’t really have a movement until the last ten years, but still has a long way to go (but more on that later). There weren’t many hair stylists who knew how to cut it, and those that did belonged to very expensive salons usually only in large cities. As soon as I moved to Boston after college, I sought out the best hair salons for curly hair. I had Deva cuts, I’ve had Quidad cuts, and to be honest, I didn’t think any of them were that good. And they were VERY expensive. It wasn’t until I started working in 2013 at a consulting firm, and there was a women there in her 40’s who had almost identical hair to me in curl pattern, thickness, etc. and gave me her stylist who of course belonged to a pricey hair salon on Newbury St. I had to spend $300+ just to find someone who was well educated in curly hair enough to cut it. He was actually the one who was teaching other stylists how to cut and dye curly hair. In fact, I didn’t dye my hair until I was 29, when I met him because as a curly-haired person you don’t really trust anyone after zillions of bad cuts. He was the first person I felt comfortable with to even get highlights.
Flashback to Middle School & High School
Rewind to middle school, when I had not the best hair cuts, and had no idea what to do with my hair— and still brushed it (no one knew any better), and had NO idea what do with all the products. I had a big frizzy mess, worse than Hermione. I was made fun of a lot for my hair, and it was a huge insecurity along with my skin.
In high school, I started using various products, which made it far more manageable— enough that I stopped getting made fun of, but I still did not have a proper haircut, but that’s what I had to work with.
Do you ever straighten your hair?
Don’t even get me started on the guys I would date, who would say things like
“But, I really love your hair straight.” or
“You should wear your hair straight more often.”
Which is honestly the worse possible thing you can say to someone with curly hair. (And believe me, I get i have gotten it from tons of women too.) My husband has always been a big fan of my hair, and when people ask me about if I ever straighten it, his response is usually a face of confusion, like he’s thinking “UMM, HAVE you seen her hair?? Why would she straighten it” LOL or this is at least what I imagine him thinking. My response to people is always “basically never.”
Fast forward to 2011, a few years after college, I had been working and was looking for a new job. I actually met with a recruiter who told me that my long curly hair made me look young, immature, messy, and unkempt, and I should cut it off into a straight bob, and never wear my hair curly to interviews. Hair doesn’t mean that much to me, probably because I’ve never let it hold any special meaning, so I cut it off into a bob that I had for four years, which I think for me was just a big middle finger. I’m sure it’s hard for a lot of people to imagine being so fed up with your hair, that you just cut it off on a whim. But I did.
I actually decided to stay at my job a few more years, and grew it back out because having to blow dry your hair 1x a week was terrible. A girl I worked with had really curly hair, and she also felt like she had been discriminated against for having curly hair in the workplace— that people didn’t take her seriously, and thought she was young, and “a mess.” We talked about this a lot and always vowed to call people out on their bullshit and never let anyone else make us feel like our hair made us less worthy than someone with straight hair.
In 2013, when I interviewed at the consulting firm where I met my curly-haired coworker, I wore my hair curly and decided I always would from now on— anywhere that wouldn’t hire me for being me, was not a place I wanted to work. Thankfully, it was an extremely progressive place for an elite consulting firm.
Hair Discrimination is Real
This is something I think is so important to touch on, and I read an article today that I felt had to be included in my post. New York just passed a law that bans discrimination on natural hair, a law targeted to protect people of color who face discrimination daily for wearing their hair naturally.
I want to come right out and say it— I’m white, straight, and economically privileged. (currently wishing in this moment I am @frankies.skin so I could be much more eloquent in talking about such things). The point being, I fully recognize my privilege. I was able to move to a big city and spend an absurd amount on a haircut. What I faced pales in comparison to the discrimination that people of color receive daily for just being who they are, where racist stereotypes say that certain hairstyles are unprofessional or improper.
The new policy will protect individuals in public accommodations, including restaurants and other businesses, as well as in workplaces and at private and public schools, where discrimination is frequent. This is only one small step in the right direction, in one state— and we’ve got a long way to go.
A Self-Love Journey
My hair is my most favorite feature, my most defining feature, and it is what makes me, me. I get stopped daily about my hair, I receive comments daily about my hair both online and IRL. Everyone wants me to know how beautiful it is, how lucky I am. How they wish they could have hair like mine. And I know it’s beautiful, and I know I am lucky. But, I want you to know that I didn’t always feel that way. And, now that you know what I went through, you’ve probably changed your mind. It was a long journey to self-love that I think almost every curly-haired person goes through.
I just want to reiterate that I LOVE MY HAIR. I’m not writing this for anyone to feel sorry for me. I just felt like it was a story worth sharing. There are two sides to every story, and I wanted people to understand the story behind the pretty curls. Maybe it will help other curly-haired people know that they weren’t alone in what they went through.
Having curly hair wasn’t always amazing. But it is now, (despite my current blue hair situation)— and you bet I am going to wear the shit out of my curly hair.