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How I Accepted and (Eventually) Loved my Curls

Sixth grade is where my curly-haired journey began. My hair went from cute, long ringlets to a crazy mess of curls that I had no idea what to do with. Every other girl in my grade had either perfectly straight hair, which I later found out they had curly hair that they straightened every day, or nice beach waves. Being one of the few girls with crazy curls made me feel extremely left out and different. All I wanted was beautiful straight hair that required little to no work in the morning. 

Every school morning became a battle between myself and my new curly hair. I tried every method in the book, heavy gels or creams, diffusing my hair, and letting my hair air dry. Despite all of my valiant efforts, my hair typically ended up looking like Simba’s mane from The Lion King, and I ended up furiously straightening my hair in my bathroom with tears rolling down my face… you get the picture. Straightening my hair every day became a bad cycle. The more I straightened my hair, the more damaged my curls became, but if I didn’t straighten my hair, my curls looked bad. At a complete loss, my hair typically got thrown in a messy bun for the entirety of my middle school years. I basically called it quits on my hair until high school (although I still didn’t take good care of my curls until roughly the last year or so).

While the curly hair movement officially started in the last 1970s, curls have really gained popularity and finally become seen as “professional” in the workplace within the last few years. Finally, curls get a win! For me, being able to see shampoo and conditioner commercials with curly-haired models really made a difference. For years, hair commercials always showed girls with beautiful, shiny straight hair. Now, women or men of all ages can see that curls were beautiful, too. 

Now, I love my curly hair and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yes, there still are days where my hair looks like a giant mess and I probably want to shave it all off, but I would never trade my curls. Truthfully, loving my curls took a lot of trial and error and they still do! I had to do a lot of my own research, started the Curly Girl Method (a book written by Michelle Bender and Lorraine Massey), and did a lot of growth in the confidence arena.  I am so glad to be in a place in life where I can finally be happy with my curls. To those gals out there struggling to embrace and love your wonderful, textured, and curly hair, do some research. Get to know your hair type (1-4 types of textured hair) and test out some products over a few months to see what works best for you! One rule that I wish I followed was taking process pictures and a curly journal. This way, you know exactly which product/technique works for you.  What works for one person may not work for you! I love embracing my curls every day, but if you see my hair in a giant messy bun… mind ya business!

Helena Sherman is a senior majoring in elementary education and will be pursuing her master's degree in early childhood with +30 credits in literacy. She is a writer for HerCampus and is on the Heller Leadership Team. She describes herself as a curly-haired Jesus freak. Her passions include reading, talking, and musical theatre.
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