This January I embarked on a journey I didn't plan on at all. For years I had scrutinized my self worth and self esteem to a point where I was ashamed of who I truly was. And I took that self loath onto my hair.
Growing up as a first generation immigrant of parents from Chile, South America there were differences not only in my upbringing, my beliefs, but also in my physical attributes. I was born with tight curly dark hair just like my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother and so on. These three women were my first definitions of beauty. I saw no flaws in their beauty, and still fail to see them to this day. However, I failed to see myself with such soft and loving eyes. Instead I only saw myself through negative and dimly loved eyes. Fast forward to my early 20's I mastered the art of the blow out, and I conquered the temporary "retirement" of my curls.
Last winter I kept coming across positive images of women just like myself on Instagram, showcasing and embracing their beautiful curly hair. Slowly I began to reason within myself that maybe I should do the same. Though this didn't happen instantly, I'm so proud to say that January 1st, 2017 I decided to make a commitment to try to embrace my curls at least a few days in a row. That led to a few weeks in a row. Which led to a month, months in a row, and here I am, coming close to completing a full year "curl happy".
Unless you have naturally curly hair, this revelation may sound overly dramatic or funny to you. But to those of ethnic cultures, with hair textures and types that have not conformed to society's version of "beautiful" than you DO understand what I'm getting at.
This process has truly CHANGED my life. Recently, I attended a friend's wedding. The battle to smooth my curls for this special event almost overtook me, but thankfully it didn't and I proudly wore my curls on full display the entire evening. Like I said, this may sound like nothing, but coming from a girl who has NEVER gone to a party, let alone, wedding without smoothing and blowing out my curls, this was huge for me. The freedom I felt being able to dance the night away without worrying about my blown out hair going curly, because it already was curled was so so liberating. Who cares if I sweat?
What I've learned from this journey is that a) it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, b) less is more, and 3) it's feels good to be true to myself. Instead of walking around trying to look like someone I'm not, I know I'm on full display all the time. I have nothing to hide, nothing is fake, nothing had to be changed or tweaked to look like something else. It really is a liberating feeling.
If you are planning on returning to your natural curls here's a few tidbits I've learned along the way that work for me:
1) Try not to wash your hair everyday. I have found that my curls look way better with 2nd or 3rd day hair. Freshly washed hair can sometimes weigh down the curls.
2) Less is more. You may think that going back to curly hair is going to require this production of tools and products to give you frizz free curls all day. Not the case. I started off with light gel, on to a mousse, and now I only use a pea size amount of hair oil to the ends of my hair. I have found the less I fuss over my hair, the more happy and bouncy my curls are.
3) When you've slept on your curls overnight, some curls may flatten, so to add curls back to just selected pieces I'll curl them with a 1 inch curling barrel. This adds back body to selected parts that need that revilement again.
4) With curly hair I truly believe in hair masks. Find what works for you and try to do a hair mask at least once a week. Personally, I love coconut oil massaged onto my hair, and I massage castor oil to my roots to encourage strength and growth.
Overall, I truly want this blog to be a source of encouragement to any young girl, or older woman to embrace the natural state of your beauty. This is truly a journey for all of us, and probably one that's long lasting, but as long as we continue to TRY it can only be an uphill journey worth travelling.