Thursday, May 24, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love...My Naturally Curly Hair.

Who decides what is desirable when it comes to hair texture?  

I'll tell you--culture at large--specifically, white male, corporate owned culture.  So that'd be the same culture that has a love affair with the vapid and worthless Kardashians, that Photoshops already beautiful people into artificially impossible physiques, that denigrates women for their size as a normal part of the morning "news", and generally puts incredible pressure on women, down to the texture of their hair.

So...what the hell are we doing listening to them?  Clearly they have suspect taste.  Clearly they're in bed with advertisers, who must make you feel like shit about yourself so that you'll buy their next product.

When I was in high school, I had a ridiculously long process to straighten my hair.  It began with copious amounts of smoothing mousse.  Then, I had to wrap the hair around these HUGE velcro rollers.  Then, the blowdrying of the rollers.  Then, the straightening iron.  My hair was brittle and unhealthy.  If anyone came to the house after about 9PM, you can be sure that I was at some point in this process, leading to me to go into hiding and making my parents send them away.  (Sure, I could have removed the rollers, but that would disrupt the process, see?)

That same process lasted less than a week when I moved into the dorms at UT.  Being confined to my dorm room for 2-3 hours looking like an idiot, frightening my room and suite mates and their friends, just wasn't going to work with my social schedule.  I found some great products that worked with my hair after a lot of trial and error.

I finally embraced what my hair wanted to do.  More importantly...I put HOURS back in my day.

Other people had opinions on my hair liberation.  I was working my way through college in part at a music store in the mall in Austin.  (Remember those things, music stores in malls?)  One day, I happened to straighten my hair and went in for my shift.  A coworker (a bitter old man who liked to tell me that going to University was worthless and everyone would be better off at a trade school) told me how much better my hair looked straight and that I should always do it that way and ditch the curls.

I spent 15 minutes bawling in the breakroom.  I spent the rest of the shift coming up with new, colorful, combinations of curse words for my bitter employee while also fantasizing novel ways to torture him.

And yet, I still knew my hair was right for me.

When Chris Rock came out with his AMAZING documentary Good Hair, I had always thought that my excruciatingly long practice of hair straightening was extreme.  It was amateur hour compared to what women with ethnic hair have to endure--the time, the money, the carcinogenic chemicals.  I researched more about the discrimination that ethnic women who choose to go natural face in the workplace.  How can something like hair be so political?  And how sick, as a culture, are we that we give such a damn?

I was so heartened when Garnier promoted a "Wear Your Hair Curly Day" this past Tuesday.  Yeah yeah, they're just trying to promote their product, but I appreciate the thought.  I have to say that I've been able to ditch 75% of my more expensive Aveda products for their UBER affordable, effective products.

I rub these products in my hair and hop into my car, for the next phase of my hair care routine.  I call it "Hair By Honda".  I direct the AC at my hair, full blast.  (This only becomes problematic in the 2 months out of the year that I have to turn on the car heater since it fogs the windows.)  And I'm done.  High maintenance (at least in regards to my beauty routine) I am not!

One of the last times I had my hair cut, the stylist was so amazed at the softness of my hair that he called his buddy over to the shampoo station.  He said, "Feel this soft hair!  You should see it dry--it's curly!"  He told me, "Don't ever put any blowdryer on this hair of yours and continue not dyeing it for as long as you can get away with--this is what healthy hair is supposed to feel like."

Today out at lunch I saw this toddler with these ridiculously amazing natural curls.  I was envious of a two year old's corkscrew curls.  And I was hoping that as she got older, she didn't fight her natural beauty.

Keep the curl revolution moving...when you Google "embracing natural" you get these auto complete results immediately.  Clearly, there is hope.

“Accepting my curls is Zen: Every day is a new day.”