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Why I Gave Up Straightening My Hair Everyday

My hair is naturally curly. I had a curly afro until I was about 3-years-old. I never even thought about straightening my hair until I started middle school. When I started sixth grade, I realized all the girls with naturally curly hair were straightening their hair until it was pin straight.

My sister, who has wavy hair, started straightening her hair, and I took after her and the girls at school. My mom would always sit my sister and I in front of the TV and straighten our curly hair until we learned how. It was a learning process — you had to have the temperature just right and try not to burn yourself. I did burn the top of my ear, but thankfully that was just one time. It also used to take me 45 minutes as I was learning and now it takes me 20 minutes.

I straightened my hair every night after I showered and touched it up when I woke up in the morning. When I forgot to straighten my hair, which was rare, I felt embarrassed by my frizzy ringlets. Even when my hair was straight, I was self-conscious that I missed a spot.

Curly hair is either a hit or miss and has a mind of its own. That’s why the majority of the time I straightened my hair (although I had a phase of scrunching my natural curls with gel when it was a trend).

But for most of middle and high school I straightened my hair, too self-conscious of my natural curls that frizz up from humidity. I was scared people would make fun of my hair if it got too frizzy or poufy. One time someone told me I looked like a lion with my hair and I think it scarred me and my hair for life.

Countless people have also told me: “Your curly hair is nice, but your straight hair looks much better.”

That’s basically saying, “Your natural self is okay but we’d rather you take 20 minutes out of your day to iron your hair so you look better.”

When I graduated and started college, I started to wear my hair natural more often. I didn’t have time to worry about straightening my hair with loads of college homework and tests. I also felt like I didn’t have to impress anyone and started experimenting with easy hair styles I could do with my natural curls.  

Now I embrace my hair and rarely straighten it. Not only does it damage my hair, but I have better things to worry about. No, I’m not lazy, I just think people should accept me and my hair as they are. I will straighten my hair for special occasions or when I have the time and am in the mood. But I refuse to straighten my hair every day just because society thinks it’s the norm.

Photo credit: cover photo, gif 1, gif 2. 

Ashley is a Senior at Virginia Commmonwealth University majoring in mass communications concentrating in print & online journalism. She is the Senior Editor for Her Campus at VCU and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists at VCU. She is an avid coffee drinker, dog lover and dreamer. She hopes to one day be a reporter for a newspaper, magazine, or an online version of the two.
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