I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my hair. When I was growing up, I had beautiful hair — or at least it was what I would consider beautiful now. It was so long and I had gorgeous curls. However, I always felt insecure about it. It was basically ingrained into my brain that I wasn’t pretty unless my hair was straightened. Around 4th or 5th grade is when I got my hair straightened for the first time, and I knew that I couldn’t go back to what I thought was my frizzy mess. I learned how to blow dry my hair straight and eventually I begged my mom to get me a flat iron. Thus, the beginning of my heat damage journey and the death of my curls.
I genuinely believe that I straightened my hair throughout 95% of middle school. How my hair didn’t break off to the touch is a mystery that I'll never solve. However, by my senior year of high school, I started ditching the flat iron. I finally found a styling method that gave me a wave pattern and combatted frizz, but then I discovered hair bleach and any progress with my hair health went out the window. I'd gotten a job at a hair salon in college and was allowed to get my hair done for free whenever I wanted, and boy did I abuse that perk. My hair was the worst it's ever been. If I'd left my hair to air dry, it would dry into a frizzy, moisture-lacking mess. I had no choice but to heat style it to feel somewhat confident about my hair.
I didn’t start my real hair care transformation journey until quarantine — this time I had no choice. I felt that since I was stuck at home and wasn’t seeing anyone, what better time was there to start experimenting with healthy hair habits? I ditched my flat iron for good and stopped bleaching my hair. I also did something that was essential to the beginning of my hair transformation journey, which was doing a big chop. My hair was holding on to years of damage, and it was time that I let go of it if I ever wanted to see a change in my hair pattern. At this point, I was doing endless research on what I had to do with my hair. I'd invested so much time and money into finding products and methods that worked for me. To be quite honest, I became very frustrated because no matter what I did, it felt like nothing seemed to be working. I feel like this is where most people give up in their hair transformation journey. We fail to realize that this healthy hair transition doesn't happen overnight. Your curls have to remember what to do, and for some, this takes longer than others.
I can finally say I am at a point where I feel confident leaving my house with my naturally wavy hair. I found a hair care routine that honestly works for me, I ditched the heat tools and I participate in regular trims. Now, I won't say that my hair has reached its full potential, but it's most certainly getting there. I just want to remind everyone in my position that curly hair journeys take time. You're not going to wake up one day with full, bouncy, healthy curls — you're going to have to participate in healthy habits for that. However, don't be ashamed of your hair. Don't feel like you can never straighten or dye your hair again, just don't let yourself feel like you're only pretty if you participate in these things. Each curl pattern is unique and beautiful, and we need to stop feeling like our hair is messy and ugly, because it's not. Curly hair is gorgeous and with a little bit of TLC, we can all get the healthy hair of our dreams.